WPBT2's Star Gazers

Episode #12-53 "Four Cold Planets for January"
Air Dates December 31 - January 6, 2013



FIVE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
JAMES: Hey there Star Gazers. Iím James Albury, Director of the Kika Silva Pla Planetarium in Gainesville, Florida.

DEAN: And Iím Dean Regas, astronomer for the Cincinnati Observatory.

MARLENE: And Iím Marlene Hidalgo, science teacher from Miami-Dade county Florida. our tiny 8-thousand mile wide planet Earth is closest to our star, our million mile wide Sun, this week, only 91 Ĺ million miles away which is 3 million miles closer than it will be on July 5th when our Earth will be farthest from the Sun, 94 1/2 million miles away. So if we're closer to the sun in January than we are in July, why is it so cold in January?

DEAN: Simple, in January our northern hemisphere is tilted away from the Sun and receives much less direct solar energy, while in July itís tilted toward the sun.

JAMES: At any rate, if you brave the chilly weather this month you will be able to see four planets with the naked eye, all of which get a visit from the moon so you can easily identify them.

THREE: Letís show you!

STOP DROP

MARLENE: OK, we've got our skies set up for Sunday January 6th about an hour before sunrise facing southeast where you will see an exquisite 24 day old crescent moon, just above and to the right of the ringed planet Saturn. on Monday morning the 7th you can still use the moon to find Saturn because then a slightly skinnier crescent moon will have moved about 8 Ĺ degrees below it.

JAMES: Then on Tuesday the 8th and Wednesday the 9th the moon will continue its path across the sky getting thinner each day. Then on the morning of Wednesday Jan. 10th a super skinny 28-day old moon will snuggle up just to the left of brilliant Venus in one of the best planet-moon pairings of the year!

DEAN: Once again: Sunday the 6th and Monday the 7th an exquisite crescent moon hovers on either side of Saturn. Then over the next two days the moon will get skinnier day by day and then on Jan 10th will end up just to the left of Venus. And if that's not enough, look up to Venusí right for the bright red star Antares that marks the heart of the Scorpion.

MARLENE: Then the next day the 11th, the moon is too close to the sun to see. But the next night on the 12th get out just after sunset and look west. And if you have a clear, low western horizon you may see a super skinny, less than two day old moon, and up to its left that gold light is the tiny, distant planet mars. Then the next night Jan 13th the moon will be up above Mars.

DEAN: So, how many planets have we shown you? Thatís right, three: †Saturn and Venus in the morning sky and Mars after sunset. Which ones are left? Well Mercury is too close to the sun to see just now but there is one more super bright planet for the moon to visit this month.

JAMES: Letís switch to the eastern sky after sunset on Jan 21st and a 10-day old gibbous moon will be just above the king of the planets Jupiter. If you keep watching throughout the evening by midnight the moon will pass less than one degree from Jupiter.

MARLENE: A couple of weeks ago we mentioned the possibility of a couple of bright comets coming in 2013. One of the first candidates called comet Panstarrs may be putting on a good show around March 12. It might be spectacular in the evening sky with a young crescent moon nearby.

JAMES: Or it might not. The path of the comet is very well understood but what it will look like is not. Weíll just have to wait and see. Now there are really a bunch of comets in Panstarrs, this one is also called c/2011l4. The name Panstarrs is an acronym for panoramic survey telescope and rapid response system. Wheewwww! Quite a mouth full, huh?

DEAN: Panstarrs is really the name for a system of telescopes and observers that is intended to look for space stuff that might crash into the earth. This comet was discovered in June 2011 when it was very far from the sun. The thinking is that if it was bright enough to be seen that far out it might be enormously brighter when it gets closest to the sun.

MARLENE: So until then, even though we're as close to the Sun as we ever get this week, we recommend you bundle up as youÖ

THREE: Keep looking up!

 

Episode #12-53 "Four Cold Planets for January"
Air Dates December 31 - January 6, 2013



ONE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
MARLENE: Our tiny 8-thousand mile wide planet Earth is closest to our star, our million-mile-wide Sun, this week. So if we're closer to the sun in January, why is it so cold in January?

DEAN: Simple, in January our northern hemisphere is tilted away from the Sun and receives much less direct solar energy, while in July itís tilted toward the sun.

STOP DROP

DEAN: OK, we've got our skies set up for January 6th about an hour before sunrise facing southeast where you will see a crescent moon just above the ringed planet Saturn. Then on jan. 10th a super skinny 28-day old moon will snuggle up just to the left of brilliant Venus in one of the best planet-moon pairings of the year! And on the evening of Jan 13th the moon will be above Mars.

MARLENE: Then on Jan 21st a gibbous moon will be just above Jupiter. So even though we're as close to the Sun as we ever get this week, we recommend you bundle up as you Ö

BOTH: Keep looking up!

 

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