WPBT2's Star Gazers

Episode #13-02 "Donít Worry About Winter, Itís The Shortest Season"
Air Dates January 14, 2013 - January 20, 2013



FIVE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
DEAN: Hey there Star Gazers. I'm Dean Regas, astronomer for the Cincinnati Observatory.

JAMES: And I'm James Albury from the Kika Silva Pla Planetarium in Gainesville Florida.

MARLENE: And I'm Marlene hidalgo, science teacher from Miami-Dade county Florida.

DEAN: Yes you heard right. Winter for the northern hemisphere is the shortest season of the entire year. And I'll bet that most of you out there, if you've ever thought about it, believe that the seasons are all equal in length, in fact no two of them are alike. And not only is winter the shortest season, it is getting even shorter. Why? Letís show you.

(STOP)

MARLENE: O.K., now everyone knows that our earth makes one trip around the sun once a year. In fact, that is exactly what a year is - one complete circuit of the earth around the sun, which is 365 1/4 earth days. And according to Kepler's laws of motion the closer an object is to the sun the faster it will travel. Any planet closer to the sun than our earth will travel faster and have a shorter year.

JAMES: And, the closest planet to the sun, Mercury, zips around the sun once every 88 earth days; so one year on Mercury is 88 earth days long.

DEAN: At the other extreme, the most distant planet Neptume, takes almost 165 earth years to make one trip around the sun, so one Neptume year is 165 earth years. In fact Neptume has only completed one orbit since it was discovered.

MARLENE: Let's restate Kepler's rule: the closer an object is to the sun in its orbit the faster it travels and the farther it is from the sun the slower it travels. And this applies to our earth as it travels in its orbit.

(STOP)

DEAN: You see, our earth's orbit is not a perfect circle but a slightly stretched out circle called an ellipse. And the sun is not at the center of this ellipse. So the earth varies its distance from the sun during the year. And believe it or not, the earth is closest to the sun the first week of every January and farthest from the sun the first week of every July. So our earth travels much faster when it's winter in the northern hemisphere and much slower during the summer.

(STOP)

JAMES: On the first day of spring, the Vernal Equinox, the earth is travelling 66,900 mph and takes 93 days to go from the first day of spring to the first day of summer. Thereafter the earth continues to slow down until it's at its farthest point from the sun the first week of July when it reaches its slowest speed of 65,500 mph.

MARLENE: But after that it slowly starts to speed up. Even so, it takes 94 days for the earth to travel from the first day of summer to the first day of autumn, making summer the longest season of all. And then, picking up more speed day by day, it takes only 90 days for our earth to travel from the first day of autumn to the first day of winter.

DEAN: But the earth continues to speed up until it reaches its closest point to the sun the first week of January when it's zipping along at 67,700 miles an hour. That's 2,200 miles per hour faster than it travelled in July. So earth whips through winter in only 89 days.

JAMES: And winter will continue to get shorter until around 3,500 A.D., when winter will be only 88.71 days long. So if anyone tells you winters are getting longer, they're wrong. In fact, winter is a full five days shorter than summer.

(STOP)

MARLENE: And while you're outside looking up on these crisp clear winter nights be sure to catch the moon and Jupiter on Monday evening Jan. 21st when a 10-day-old waxing gibbous moon will be about a degree away from Jupiter.

DEAN: There's an overload of bright stars in this area. Aldebaran is just below Jupiter,....† Betelgeuse .... Then Rigel, ..... Sirius below that ...and then back up to Procyon, ...then castor and Pollux and topping it all off, Capella.

JAMES: This is the best time of year to see the brightest stars of the year and we don't want you to miss it. The night skies of winter don't last all that long. Even so, if it's still too long for you, take comfort in the fact that if you lived on Neptune, winter would last about 40 earth years, which would mean you'd really have to bundle up as you

THREE:† Keep looking up!

STOP AND SALUTE

 

MARLENE: Winter for us is the shortest season. The seasons are not all equal in length, and no two of them are alike. Why? Let's show you.

(STOP)

JAMES: On the first day of spring, the earth is travelling 66,900 mph and takes 93 days to go from the first day of spring to the first day of summer. After that the earth slows down until it's at its farthest point from the sun the first week of July when it reaches its slowest speed of 65,500 mph.

MARLENE:† But after that it speeds up and takes 94 days to travel from the first day of summer to the first day of autumn making summer the longest season of all. And then, speeding up each day, it takes only 90 days for our earth to travel from the first day of autumn to the first day of winter.

JAMES: But then the earth whips through winter in only 89 days. So enjoy winter while it lasts.

BOTH: Keep looking up!

(SALUTE STOP)

 

Episode #13-02 "Donít Worry About Winter, Itís The Shortest Season"
Air Dates January 14, 2013 - January 20, 2013



ONE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
MARLENE: Winter for us is the shortest season. The seasons are not all equal in length, and no two of them are alike. Why? Let's show you.

(STOP)

JAMES: On the first day of spring, the earth is travelling 66,900 mph and takes 93 days to go from the first day of spring to the first day of summer. After that the earth slows down until it's at its farthest point from the sun the first week of July when it reaches its slowest speed of 65,500 mph.

MARLENE:† But after that it speeds up and takes 94 days to travel from the first day of summer to the first day of autumn making summer the longest season of all. And then, speeding up each day, it takes only 90 days for our earth to travel from the first day of autumn to the first day of winter.

JAMES: But then the earth whips through winter in only 89 days. So enjoy winter while it lasts.

BOTH: Keep looking up!

(SALUTE STOP)

 

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