WPBT2's Star Gazers

Episode #13-22 "Star Gazing On the Shortest Nights of the Year"
Air Dates June 3, 2013 - June 9, 2013



FIVE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
JAMES: HEY THERE STAR GAZERS. I'M JAMES ALBURY, DIRECTOR OF THE KIKA SILVA PLA PLANETARIUM IN GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA.

DEAN: AND I'M DEAN REGAS, ASTRONOMER FOR THE CINCINNATI OBSERVATORY.

MARLENE: AND I'M MARLENE HIDALGO, SCIENCE TEACHER FROM MIAMI-DADE COUNTY FLORIDA. ALTHOUGH YOU MAY HAVE NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT IT BEFORE, FOR PEOPLE WHO LIVE AT MID NORTHERN LATITUDES ACROSS THE U.S. AND EUROPE, JUNE IS THE MONTH OF THE SHORTEST NIGHTS FOR STAR GAZING BECAUSE AT THE TIME OF THE SUMMER SOLSTICE, WHICH THIS YEAR IS FRIDAY JUNE 21ST, HOURS OF DAYLIGHT ARE LONGEST AND HOURS OF DARKNESS ARE SHORTEST.

JAMES: IN FACT FOR MANY PEOPLE AT MID-LATITUDES IT DOESN'T EVEN GET FULLY DARK OUT UNTIL 10 OR 11 O'CLOCK; ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU FACTOR IN DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME. SO, LET'S DO A QUICK PREVIEW OF WHAT YOU CAN SEE JUST AFTER IT STARTS TO GET DARK OUT, IF YOU LIVE AT MID NORTHERN LATITUDES.

DEAN: O.K., WE'VE GOT OUR SKIES SET UP FOR JUNE 10, AFTER SUNSET, FACING NORTH WHERE YOU MAY SEE THE LITTLE DIPPER STICKING STRAIGHT UP ABOVE THE NORTH STAR. IN FACT, THE NORTH STAR IS THE STAR IN THE END OF THE HANDLE OF THE LITTLE DIPPER. NOW THE LITTLE DIPPER IS NOT NEARLY AS LARGE OR BRIGHT AS THE BIG DIPPER WHICH IS DIRECTLY TO ITS LEFT IN THE NORTHWEST. FOUR STARS MARK ITS CUP AND THREE STARS MARK ITS HANDLE.

JAMES: AND ONCE YOU'VE FOUND IT YOU CAN SHOOT AN ARROW THROUGH THE BIG DIPPER'S HANDLE TO FIND THE 4TH BRIGHTEST STAR IN THE SKY, ARCTURUS, WHICH IS THE MAJOR STAR OF BOOTES THE HERDSMAN, ALTHOUGH REALLY BOOTES LOOKS SOMETHING LIKE A KITE.

MARLENE:  YOU CAN EXTEND THAT ARROW FROM ARCTURUS  TO THE BRIGHTEST STAR OF VIRGO, SPICA. REMEMBER? ARC TO ARCTURUS, SPEED ON TO SPICA! NEAR SPICA YOU'RE SURE TO SPOT A BRIGHTER BIT OF LIGHT. THAT'S THE RINGED PLANET SATURN.

JAMES: NOW, WE CAN TELL FROM THE STARS ALONE THAT SPRING IS ALMOST OVER BECAUSE SPRING'S MOST FAMOUS CONSTELLATION IS ABOVE THE WESTERN HORIZON. A SICKLE SHAPED PATTERN OR BACKWARD QUESTION MARK OF STARS MARK THE FRONT PART OF SPRING'S LEO THE LION AND A TRIANGLE OF STARS MARK HIS REAR. AND HE LOOKS LIKE HE'S GETTING READY TO PLUNGE BELOW THE HORIZON BEFORE SUMMER KICKS HIM OUT OF EVENING SKIES.

DEAN: BUT THERE ARE SEVERAL OTHER BRIGHT OBJECTS FOR YOU TO ENJOY DOWN TO LEO'S RIGHT ON MONDAY NIGHT. THE MOST OBVIOUS IS A SKINNY TWO DAY OLD CRESCENT MOON. TO THE RIGHT OF THE MOON IS BRILLIANT VENUS AND ABOVE VENUS IS MERCURY. THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST TIMES THIS YEAR TO SPOT MERCURY.

MARLENE: NOW MERCURY IS MUCH DIMMER THAN VENUS BUT IF YOU WATCH OVER THE NEXT TWO WEEKS VENUS AND MERCURY WILL GET CLOSER EACH NIGHT. HERE'S THE 12TH, THE 14TH, THE 16TH, THE 18TH, THE 20TH. VENUS KEEPS SHIFTING FARTHER LEFT EACH NIGHT WHILE MERCURY DROPS STEADILY LOWER.

JAMES: NEXT IF YOU TURN AROUND 180 DEGREES AND FACE EAST YOU CAN SEE THREE INCREDIBLY BRIGHT STARS WHICH MARK THE POINTS OF A VERY LARGE TRIANGLE. THE BRIGHTEST IS VEGA, THE SECOND BRIGHTEST ALTAIR AND THE THIRD DENEB, THE THREE STARS WHICH MARK THE POINTS OF THE GREAT SUMMER TRIANGLE. AND EVERY SUMMER IN MID JUNE JUST AFTER IT GETS GOOD AND DARK OUT, WE ALWAYS SEE THIS TRIANGLE OF THREE CELESTIAL DAZZLERS RISING OVER THE EASTERN HORIZON.

DEAN: OF COURSE, MY PERSONAL FAVORITE STARS OF SUMMER ARE ALWAYS SOMWHERE IN THE SOUTH. SO IF YOU LOOK A LITTLE LEFT OF DUE SOUTH YOU'LL SEE A GIANT FISH HOOK SHAPED PATTERN OF STARS JUST RISING ABOVE THE HORIZON. IT'S SUMMER'S INFAMOUS SCORPIUS THE SCORPION.

MARLENE: SO EVEN THOUGH THESE ARE THE SHORTEST NIGHTS OF THE YEAR YOU'LL HAVE NO SHORTAGE OF THINGS TO SEE IN THE NIGHT SKY. MONDAY NIGHT THE 10TH CATCH A SKINNY CRESCENT MOON BESIDE MERCURY AND VENUS. VENUS WILL BE IN THE WESTERN EVENING SKY ALL SUMMER LONG BUT BE SURE TO CATCH MERCURY AT ITS BEST EVENING VIEWING FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR, ESPECIALLY THE NIGHTS OF JUNE 18TH AND 19TH WHEN THEY'LL BE CLOSE SIDE BY SIDE.

JAMES: THE SUMMER TRIANGLE IS COMING IN TO ITS OWN AS ONE OF THE BRIGHTEST STAR PATTERNS OF SUMMER SKIES.

DEAN: AND DON'T FORGET SCORPIUS, SAGITTARIUS AND THE SUMMER MILKY WAY WILL BRIGHTEN UP THE SOUTHERN SKIES AS YOU

THREE: KEEP LOOKING UP!

 

Episode #13-22 "Star Gazing On the Shortest Nights of the Year"
Air Dates June 3, 2013 - June 9, 2013



ONE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
MARLENE: JUNE IS THE MONTH OF THE SHORTEST NIGHTS FOR STAR GAZING BECAUSE AT THE SUMMER SOLSTICE, WHICH IS FRIDAY JUNE 21ST, HOURS OF DAYLIGHT ARE LONGEST AND HOURS OF DARKNESS ARE SHORTEST.

JAMES: SO LET'S DO A QUICK PREVIEW OF WHAT YOU CAN SEE JUST AFTER IT STARTS TO GET DARK OUT.

MARLENE: WE'RE SET UP FOR JUNE 10, AFTER SUNSET,  FACING WEST WHERE
A SICKLE-SHAPED PATTERN OF STARS MARK THE FRONT PART OF LEO THE LION AND A TRIANGLE OF STARS MARK HIS REAR.

JAMES: BUT THERE ARE OTHER BRIGHT OBJECTS DOWN TO LEO'S RIGHT. THE MOST OBVIOUS IS A SKINNY TWO DAY OLD CRESCENT MOON. TO THE RIGHT IS BRILLIANT VENUS AND ABOVE VENUS IS MERCURY.

MARLENE: NEXT IF YOU TURN AND FACE EAST YOU CAN SEE THREE INCREDIBLY BRIGHT STARS. THE BRIGHTEST IS VEGA, THE SECOND BRIGHTEST ALTAIR AND THE THIRD DENEB, THE THREE STARS WHICH MARK THE POINTS OF THE GREAT SUMMER TRIANGLE.

JAMES: THEN IF YOU LOOK SOUTH YOU'LL SEE A FISH HOOK SHAPED PATTERN OF STARS JUST RISING ABOVE THE HORIZON. IT'S
SUMMER'S INFAMOUS SCORPIUS THE SCORPION.

BOTH: KEEP LOOKING UP!

 

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