WPBT2's Star Gazers

Episode #13-11 "Happy Spring of the Leaf! And Happy Spring of the Year!"
Air Dates March 18, 2013 - March 24, 2013



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

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

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

MARLENE: Happy spring of the leaf and happy spring of the year! This Wednesday, March 20th is official spring of the leaf day, while this coming Monday, March 25th was the old official spring of the year day. Let's show you.

STOP DROP

JAMES: Have you ever wondered why we call spring, spring? Well, that word spring is simply short for the phrases 'spring of the leaf' and 'spring of the year'. Now spring of the leaf is pretty obvious because at this time of the year leaves literally do spring up out of branches and grass springs up out of the ground and that's why we call spring, spring.

DEAN: But what does spring of the year mean? Well, believe it or not, before 1752 in England and America, the new year officially began when spring began, on March 25th. Or to put it quite simply, the new year sprang up at the same time the leaves and grass did.

JAMES: In fact, when George Washington and Ben Franklin were young, they and all the other American colonists wished each other happy new year and happy spring on the same day on March 25th. However, when the English calendar was reformed, parliament declared that  starting in 1752, the new year would no longer begin in March, but would be celebrated on January 1st, a tradition begun by the Romans in 153 B.C.

DEAN:  Now both springs are related to the vernal equinox, which happens this year on Wednesday, March 20th at 7:02 a.m. eastern time or your local equivalent.

STOP FLY

MARLENE: But what does the term vernal equinox really mean? Let's not forget that the first day of spring is really an astronomical event, which marks one of the two days of the year when our sun is smack dab on the celestial equator, the other day being the first day of autumn. When this happens in September, we call it the autumnal equinox and when it happens in March, we call it the vernal equinox.

STOP DROP

JAMES: Now most people today don't keep track of the sun and its movements throughout the seasons like our ancestors did, but it's a lot of fun to watch the sun change its place on the horizon every day from equinox to equinox.

MARLENE:  Starting this week, if you make note of where the sun rises and sets on the horizon each day using landmarks like trees or buildings for guides you'll notice that the sun will rise just a little bit farther north of east each successive day and will set a little bit farther north of west each successive day

DEAN: And that it will continue moving northward week after week until June 21st, the first day of summer, the day of the summer solstice when it will rise its farthest north of east and set its farthest north of west.

JAMES: After which it will start to move southward week after week until once again it will rise due east and set due west on the autumnal equinox, the first day of autumn in September.

STOP

MARLENE: While we're out there watching the sun change its setting point, let's  wait until it gets dark and take a tour all around the horizon and see what we can see.

DEAN: Let's look north first where two old friends will be easy to spot in the evening sky. The "w" pattern of Cassiopeia and the Big Dipper are on either side of Polaris, the North Star. If you keep watching over the next few weeks it'll be easy to see that as Cassiopeia goes down the Big Dipper will climb higher.

JAMES: Shift your gaze into the east and you'll see the huge pattern of Leo the Lion rising in the spring evening sky.

MARLENE: Turn a bit farther to the right and the brightest stars in the sky will be there for you to enjoy. Let's start with Sirius, the "A" number one bright star. Up to its left is Procyon, then above that are the twin stars Castor and Pollux.

DEAN: Then look almost over head for the star we see most often, Capella. Then down to its right is the bright planet Jupiter. And close beside it the dimmer red star Aldebaran and below Aldebaran you'll find Rigel

JAMES: So happy spring of the leaf and happy old fashioned new year.

THREE: Keep looking up!

 

Episode #13-11 "Happy Spring of the Leaf! And Happy Spring of the Year!"
Air Dates March 18, 2013 - March 24, 2013



ONE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
MARLENE: This Wednesday, March 20th, spring officially begins at 7:02 a.m. eastern time.

DEAN: But do you know why we call spring, spring? Let's show you.

STOP DROP

MARLENE: Well spring is simply short for the phrases, "spring of the leaf" and "spring of the year." Spring of the leaf is obvious because leaves do literally spring up out of branches at this time. But what does spring of the year mean?

DEAN: Before 1752 in England and America, the new year began on March 25th, the first day of spring. In other words the new year sprang up at the same time the leaves sprang up. In fact, when George Washington and Ben Franklin were young, they all wished each other "happy new year" on the first day of spring until English parliament reformed the calendar and declared that after 1752 the new year would be celebrated on January 1st.

MARLENE: So happy spring and happy 'old' new year!

BOTH: Keep looking up!

 

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