WPBT2's Star Gazers

Episode #12-47 "Perseus and the Pleiades"
Air Dates November 19 - November 25, 2012



FIVE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
JAMES: Welcome to star gazers. I'm James Albury.

DEAN: And I'm Dean Regas, and we're here to help you be sure you know what you're seeing in the night sky when you…

ALL: Look up!

(STOP & DROP)

DEAN:  It's that time of year again when in early evening you can see one of the most famous and beloved star clusters of them all, the Pleiades, better known as the seven sisters.

JAMES: But how many of you know that there are two additional star clusters, twin clusters so to speak, and they're side by side in the autumn sky, just a short visual distance away. Let’s show you.

(STOP & DROP)

DEAN: OK, we've got our skies set up for this week and next around 9 p.m., and if you look high  above the eastern horizon, you'll see what looks like a tiny Little Dipper-shaped cluster of stars, the exquisite seven sisters. Now, most people can see only 6 stars here with the naked eye, but if you have really good eyesight (or are wearing corrective lenses like four-eyes over there) under ideal conditions can see seven.

JAMES: And with a pair of binoculars you can see several dozen. In reality however, there are over 250 stars here, all much larger than our own sun, and burning much, much hotter. Cosmically speaking, they're not very distant, only 400 light years away which means that we see the Pleiades not as they exist now, but as they existed 400 years ago, at about the same time Galileo trained a telescope on them and discovered them to be a family of dozens of suns.

DEAN: Now to find the twin clusters, which officially belong to the constellation Perseus, first look directly above the north star where you'll see the 5 stars that trace out the 'M'-shaped constellation of Cassiopeia the queen. Then just to the right of Cassiopeia you'll see two faint, fuzzy, Q-tip like objects and if you are far away from city lights, you'll notice that they are embedded in the river of light we call the Milky Way.

JAMES: Now these two dim fuzzy blobs are called the double cluster of Perseus and although each has about 100 more stars than the Pleiades, the reason they don't present as dramatic an appearance as the Pleiades is because they are so much farther away. In fact, unlike the Pleiades' 400-light-years’ distance, they are a whopping seven thousand light years away, which means we see them not as they exist now but as they existed seven thousand years ago.

(STOP AND FLY)

JAMES: However, like the Pleiades, the double cluster also consists of super-hot blue-white stars. Although with a pair of binoculars you may be able to detect a few much cooler red ones.

DEAN: And speaking of binoculars, if you have never looked at the Pleiades with a pair of binoculars, please do. And while you're at it also look at the twin clusters of Perseus. All three clusters are a sight you'll never forget.

JAMES: And imagine, if you can, what the twin clusters of Perseus would look like if they could be magically positioned in our skies as close as the seven sisters are. Wow! What a dazzling sight they'd be! But, they're wonderful just as they are.

DEAN: Alright, we have an exciting moon, planet pairing next week to show you. Let’s go!

(STOP AND DROP)

JAMES: OK, we have our skies set to just after sunset anytime next week. You'll see the red planet Mars in the west very close to the horizon in the constellation of Sagittarius the centaur archer.

DEAN: Meanwhile, if you swing around to the east, you'll see the king of the planets, Jupiter, rising. Jupiter is very close to opposition this week, so it will be at its biggest and brightest all year.

JAMES: But that's not all, the full moon is going to have a close encounter with Jupiter just after sunset on Wednesday, November 28th. This will be a great opportunity for you to see how fast our moon moves through the night sky with respect to the background stars.

DEAN: Indeed! The moon is traveling around the earth at over 2000 miles per hour, and on Wednesday, November 28th, you’ll see it zip past Jupiter in a little over one hour of time.

JAMES: So go outside and check out the Plieades…

 DEAN: And the double clusters of Perseus...

JAMES: And on November 28th watch the moon zip past Jupiter.

ALL: Keep looking up!

 

Episode #12-47 "Perseus and the Pleiades"
Air Dates November 19 - November 25, 2012



ONE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
DEAN:  It's that time of year again when in early evening you can see two star clusters, the Pleiades in Taurus the bull, and the double cluster in Perseus the hero.

JAMES: Plus, the moon has an extra close encounter with Jupiter on Wednesday, November 28th. Let's show you!

(STOP & DROP)

DEAN: OK, we've got our skies set up for this week around 9 p.m., and if you look high in the east, you will see what looks like a tiny version of the Little Dipper. This cluster of stars is the Pleiades.

JAMES: And if you're far away from city lights, look just to the right of Cassiopeia you will see two fuzzy, Q-tip shaped blobs called the double cluster of  Perseus; each cluster containing over 300 stars!

DEAN: Now, just after sunset on Wednesday, November 28th, you'll have a great chance to see how fast our moon moves through the night sky.

JAMES: Look toward the east and you'll see the full moon cruise super close to Jupiter in a little over one hour of time.

BOTH: Keep looking up!

 

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