WPBT2's Star Gazers

Episode #12-46 "Planet Show in the Morning"
Air Dates November 12 - November 18, 2012



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

DEAN: And I'm Dean Regas and we're here to tell you about the morning planet show the next two weeks… and give you some tips on watching the Leonid meteor shower.

JAMES: In case you think you've spotted a UFO in the east just before sunrise, let me remind you that what you're seeing is really the brilliant planet Venus. But our UFO is about to rendezvous with a shuttle craft.

STOP

DEAN: Let's start looking Monday the 19th about an hour before sunrise. We'll show every other day for the next week or so. On Monday, the main UFO /Venus is about 8 ½ degrees above another, somewhat dimmer, spot of light. If you look every morning this dimmer spot of light, the shuttle craft, will climb higher and closer to the mother ship. Here is the 21st, the 23rd, and the 25th. Then on the 26th, they're really getting close, but the next day they will have passed by each other and they'll keep on going.  That shuttle craft is really the ringed planet Saturn which we've been enjoying in the evening sky for the past several months. Saturn has now passed in to the pre- dawn sky and along with Venus will give us a planet show in the eastern sky before sunrise.

JAMES: Plus if you look below Venus on the 29th, you may spot another pinkish planet, Mercury, joining the planet party. Saturn, Venus and Mercury will line up in the morning sky every day until they are joined by a crescent moon on December 10th and, then even better, on the 11th.

DEAN: And for those of you who have been keeping track of the Leonid meteor shower every November let's show you what you may see on the nights when the Leonid meteor shower may be at its best. And that word "may" is very important.

STOP

JAMES: OK, we've got our skies set up for 3 a.m. Saturday morning the 17th through Tuesday morning the 20th facing east where you will see several stars which make up a sickle or backwards question mark and 3 more stars which make up a triangle. These two patterns form the head and rear of Leo the lion, for whom the Leonid meteor shower is named because the meteors will appear to come from a point in the head of the lion.  And if it's clear, and if you're far away from any city lights, you may see a few bright meteors radiate from the head of Leo if you watch the sky from 3 a.m. to sunrise. The reason I say you may see, is because meteor showers do not come with a guarantee.

DEAN:  Your meteor mileage may vary.

JAMES: In fact, a better term would be meteor sprinkle. While there can be showers and maybe even storms of meteors, what you usually see is a mere handful of bright meteors streaking across the sky.

STOP

DEAN: Let's talk about what makes the Leonid meteor shower tick. All meteor showers occur when the earth runs into a cluster of debris in space. And the particles make a streak of light as they crash through the earth's atmosphere and burn up about 50 to 150 miles away from the observer.

JAMES: The earth's orbit around the sun is very repetitive – boring, actually. We go around and around and return to the same spot in space at the same time every year. This is why we can predict when a meteor shower will happen. Now the earth is moving about 66,000 miles per hour in its orbit around the sun. So even if the Leonid meteor shower particles were sitting still in space we'd still hit them pretty fast but they are flying through space as well and hit us head on.

DEAN: The flashes you'll see will be the result of particles moving about 160,000 miles per hour as they enter the atmosphere and vaporize. The Leonid meteors are famous for leaving glowing trails that last for a long time. We don't actually see the particles. They're far too small to see at that distance. What we do see is the glowing column of air that the particles have passed through.

STOP

JAMES: So get out to watch Saturn cozy up to Venus in the mornings next week with a spectacular close pass on the 26th and 27th.

DEAN: And don't miss this year's Leonid meteor shower from Saturday the 17th through Tuesday morning the 20th.

BOTH: Keep looking up!

 

Episode #12-46 "Planet Show in the Morning"
Air Dates November 12 - November 18, 2012



ONE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
JAMES: In case you think you've spotted a UFO in the east just before sunrise, what you're seeing is really the brilliant planet Venus.

DEAN: But Venus is about to rendezvous with another planet.

STOP

DEAN: Look east Monday the 19th about an hour before sunrise. Venus is up above another, somewhat dimmer, spot of light, the planet Saturn. Then look over the next few days and on the 26th, they’re really getting close, but the next day they will have passed by each other.

JAMES: Plus if you look below Venus on the 29th you may spot another pinkish planet, Mercury.

DEAN:  Then at 3 a.m. Saturday morning the 17th through Tuesday morning the 20th facing east where you will see the stars which mark Leo the lion for whom the Leonid meteor shower is named.

JAMES: And if it's clear, and if you're far away from any city lights you may see a few bright meteors radiate from the head of Leo if you watch through sunrise.

BOTH: Keep looking up!

 

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