WPBT2's Star Gazers

Episode #12-43 "Some Favorite Autunn Stars and Why They Change With the Seasons"
Air Dates October 22 - October 28, 2012



FIVE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
JAMES: Hey there Star Gazers. I'm James Albury,

DEAN: and I'm Dean Regas…

MARLENE: And I'm Marlene Hidalgo, and just as we have seasons here on earth, so too do the heavens have their seasons. Why?

MARLENE: Well, if our earth were perfectly stationary in the heavens, we would see the same star patterns in the same place all the time. But our earth is not stationary; it rotates on its axis from west to east once a day. This causes the stars to appear to slowly drift across the sky all night long in the opposite direction, from east to west.

DEAN: And our earth has a second motion. It also orbits the sun and completes a journey around the sun once every 365 1/4 days.  So it rotates once a day and revolves about the sun once each year. And because of this revolution, our earth changes its position with respect to the stars a little bit each night so we see different stars at different times of the year.

JAMES: Let's say a star rises at 8 o'clock one night, the following night that same star will rise 4 minutes earlier and will be approximately 1 degree farther along on its journey across the night sky at 8 p.m., which further means that since that star rises 4 minutes earlier each successive night and is 1 degree farther along each successive night, after a month that star will be 30 degrees farther along in its journey across the sky; which further means that after a quarter of a year, the length of a season, any given star will have moved 90 degrees, or a quarter of the way around the entire sky at 8 p.m.

MARLENE: And since each season is a quarter of a year long, this means that for any season, if you go out in early evening, the stars overhead will not be the same stars that were overhead in early evening the previous season. In winter, Orion is prominent, so he is called a winter constellation.

DEAN:  In spring Leo the lion is always prominent in early evening, so we call Leo a spring constellation.

JAMES: And for the same reason, Scorpius and Sagittarius are summer constellations.

DEAN: And a sure sign of autumn is the appearance of Pegasus, the horse and the Pleiades, the seven sisters. If you go out in early evening in late October and early November, you will see the four stars which mark the great square of Pegasus almost overhead.  And if you look lower in the sky toward the east, you will see what looks like a shimmering little cluster of stars called the Pleiades, the seven sisters, which some people say looks like a bunch of cosmic grapes, or a miniature dipper.

JAMES: My favorite description however is Lord Alfred Tennyson's poem when he wrote, "many a night I saw the Pleiades / rising through the mellow shade,/ glitter like a swarm of fireflies / tangled in a silver braid." I'm particularly fond of the Pleiades, the seven sisters, because when I was a kid I remember Jack Horkheimer saying the Pleiades reminded him of the smoke of some distant Indian campfire warming the cool autumn night. What do they look like to you? What do they remind you of?

MARLENE: But let's take a look at that other bright light below the Pleiades.  It's not there every year. It's a wandering star, the giant planet Jupiter, and it just happens to be in this part of the sky this year. Next year at this time it will be even farther east.

DEAN: So get outside some night the next few weeks between 8 and 10 p.m., look east for the giant planet Jupiter and above it the rising Pleiades, the seven sisters and then look almost overhead for the great square of Pegasus announcing that the stars of summer have turned to the stars of autumn just as the leaves on earth have turned to red and gold.

MARLENE: And remember that the stars continue to move and change because of two different motions of our planet earth. The first is the rotation of our earth, due to the spinning on its axis, this causes what we see as the daily motion of the sky. The earth spins west to east once a day and the stars appear to move east to west one complete rotation each day.

DEAN: The second motion is the orbital motion of our earth around the sun once each year. This is why we have the annual parade of the constellations as the seasons go by.

JAMES: So remember to rotate as you revolve.

THREE: Keep looking up!

 

Episode #12-43 "Some Favorite Autunn Stars and Why They Change With the Seasons"
Air Dates October 22 - October 28, 2012



ONE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
JAMES: A sure sign of autumn is the appearance of Pegasus, the horse and the Pleiades, the seven sisters.

MARLENE: If you go out in early evening in late October and early November you'll see four stars which mark the great square of Pegasus almost overhead. 

JAMES: And if you look lower in the sky toward the east you'll see what looks like a shimmering little cluster of stars called the Pleiades, the seven sisters, which some people say looks like a bunch of cosmic grapes, or a miniature dipper.

MARLENE: My favorite description however is Lord Alfred Tennyson's poem when he wrote, "many a night I saw the Pleiades / rising through the mellow shade,/glitter like a swarm of fireflies/tangled in a silver braid."

JAMES: I'm particularly fond of the Pleiades, the seven sisters, because when I was a kid I remember Jack Horkheimer saying the Pleiades reminded him of the smoke of some distant Indian camp fire warming the cool autumn night. What do they look like to you? What do they remind you of?

BOTH: Keep looking up!

 

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