WPBT2's Star Gazers

Episode #13-28 "As Planets Align a Wonderful Star Reawakens"
Air Dates July 15, 2013 - July 21, 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. FELLOW STAR GAZER, MARLENE HIDALGO, WILL JOIN US TO HELP YOU FIND YOUR WAY AROUND THE SKY.  THE PLANET VENUS IS CLOSING IN ON THE STAR REGULUS IN THE EVENING SKY…

JAMES: WHILE JUPITER AND MARS ARE COMING TOGETHER IN THE MORNING SKY. 

DEAN: PLUS JAMES, YOU KNOW I LOVE MY STAR NAMES. 

JAMES: YEP.  YOU ALWAYS MAKE ME PRONOUNCE THE WEIRD ONES…

DEAN: AND ONE STAR, NAMED MIRA, WAS GIVEN AN EXTRA NICKNAME BY THE ANCIENTS: THE WONDERFUL.  WHAT MAKES IT SO WONDERFUL? 

JAMES: LET'S SHOW YOU.

DEAN: OKAY WE HAVE OUR SKY SET UP FOR JULY 21 AT 9:45 PM FACING WEST.  AS DARKNESS FALLS TWO THINGS WILL POP OUT FIRST IN THIS PART OF THE SKY.  THE BRIGHTER OBJECT IS THE BRILLIANT PLANET VENUS.  YOU CAN ONLY CATCH VENUS JUST AFTER SUNSET.

JAMES: AND WE MEAN JUST AFTER SUNSET.  EVEN AT 9:45, VENUS WILL ONLY BE ABOUT 10 DEGREES ABOVE THE HORIZON AND IT'LL ONLY GET LOWER. SO GO TO WHERE YOU HAVE A CLEAR VIEW OF THE WESTERN HORIZON FOR THIS ONE. 

DEAN: NEXT TO VENUS IS REGULUS, BRIGHTEST STAR IN THE CONSTELLATION LEO THE LION.  OVER THE NEXT FEW EVENINGS, VENUS WILL SHIFT A BIT.  CHECK THIS OUT. ON JULY 22ND, SAME TIME, THEY'LL BE EVEN CLOSER TOGETHER - JUST A LITTLE OVER 1 DEGREE APART.

JAMES: NOW LET'S SWITCH TO THE MORNING SKY.  HI MARLENE!

MARLENE: HEY JAMES!  WE'RE BACK TO THE SKY ON JULY 21ST FACING EAST AT ABOUT 5:30 AM.  NORTH OF EAST YOU'LL SEE ANOTHER PAIRING OF LIGHTS.  THIS TIME, THE BRIGHTER ONE IS THE GIANT PLANET, JUPITER AND THE DIMMER ONE IS OUR REDDEST PLANET, MARS.  TO SEE THESE YOU HAVE TO BE LOOKING JUST BEFORE SUNRISE.

JAMES: AND WE MEAN JUST BEFORE SUNRISE.  IF YOU'RE TOO LATE, JUPITER AND MARS WILL BE LOST IN THE GLARE OF THE RISING SUN. 

MARLENE: THESE TWO, BEING PLANETS, WILL WANDER FROM NIGHT TO NIGHT.  ON THE MORNING OF JULY 22ND, SAME TIME, JUPITER WILL CLIMB HIGHER AND CLOSER TO MARS.  AND ON JULY 23RD, THEY WILL APPEAR LESS THAN 1 DEGREE APART. 

JAMES: THAT'S A CLOSE ENCOUNTER.

DEAN: EARLIER IN THE MORNING, AROUND 4 AM, YOU CAN FIND THE FAINTER STARS THAT MAKE UP THE CONSTELLATION CETUS THE SEA MONSTER.  THE BRIGHTEST STARS OF CETUS ARE HIS NOSE AND TAIL.  THE NOSE STAR IS CALLED MENKAR, WHICH MEANS NOSE IN ANCIENT ARABIC.  AND THE TAIL STAR IS CALLED DENEB KAITOS WHICH MEANS…

JAMES: LET ME GUESS… TAIL.

DEAN: YEP, TAIL OF THE WHALE.  THE REST OF CETUS' STARS CAN BE TOUGH TO SEE, BUT I WANT YOU TO MEMORIZE THEM.  DRAW A PICTURE IF YOU HAVE TO, BECAUSE ONE DAY THIS MONTH WE SHOULD HAVE A CHANGE.  A SPECIAL STAR, NAMED MIRA SHOULD FLARE UP. 

JAMES: MIRA IS A GIANT RED STAR, BUT NORMALLY IT ISN'T EVEN VISIBLE TO THE NAKED EYE.  BUT FOR A FEW DAYS EVERY YEAR MIRA SHINES BRIGHTER, AND EVEN ACQUIRED THE NICKNAME, THE WONDERFUL, BY THOSE WHO FIRST WITNESSED HER FLARE UP. 

DEAN: THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NORMAL-MIRA AND BRIGHT-MIRA IS STARTLING.  THE GREATEST FLARE UP OF MIRA WAS 1500 TIMES HER NORMAL BRIGHTNESS. AND THIS HAPPENS FOR A WEEK ABOUT EVERY 332 DAYS.  IMAGINE IF OUR SUN DID THAT EVERY YEAR!

JAMES: BUT THAT BRINGS UP ANOTHER POINT.  MIRA DOESN'T BRIGHTEN THE SAME WAY TWICE.  THE FLARE-UPS OCCUR ABOUT EVERY 332 DAYS AND NEVER WITH THE SAME INTENSITY.  SO ALTHOUGH WE CAN'T SET OUR WATCHES BY MIRA, SHE'S NEVER MISSED A BRIGHTENING.

MARLENE: MIRA IS ACTUALLY A BINARY STAR - TWO STARS WITH A SMALLER ONE ORBITING THE LARGER ONE.  THE SMALLER ONE IS ACTUALLY STEALING MASS FROM THE LARGER ONE AS IT ENTERS THE END OF ITS LIFE.  MIRA'S NOT EVEN SPHERICAL ANYMORE AS WE LEARNED FROM THIS HUBBLE TELESCOPE IMAGE.  AND THE GALEX SATELLITE TOOK THIS PICTURE OF MIRA IN THE ULTRAVIOLET.  MIRA IS CASTING ASIDE MASS AS IT FLIES THROUGH SPACE AT OVER 130 KILOMETERS PER SECOND.  IT'S LEAVING SOMETHING LIKE A COMET'S TAIL AS IT GOES.  AND THAT TAIL IS NOW OVER 13 LIGHT YEARS LONG!

MARLENE: SO, WHAT WILL MIRA DO, THIS TIME?  THE BRIGHTENING SHOULD OCCUR BETWEEN JULY 21 AND 31.  TUNE INTO THE STARS OF CETUS TO FIND THE WONDERFUL STAR.

DEAN: AND DON'T FORGET TO LOOK FOR VENUS AND REGULUS COZYING UP IN THE EVENING SKY…

JAMES: AND JUPITER AND MARS PASSING EACH OTHER IN THE MORNING SKY.

ALL THREE: KEEP LOOKING UP!

 

Episode #13-28 "As Planets Align a Wonderful Star Reawakens"
Air Dates July 15, 2013 - July 21, 2013



ONE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
DEAN: STARTING SUNDAY YOU CAN FIND VENUS NEXT TO A BRIGHT STAR

JAMES: AND JUPITER NEXT TO MARS

DEAN: AND MAYBE, JUST MAYBE YOU CAN FIND THE WONDERFUL STAR, MIRA.

JAMES: FACE WEST JUST AFTER SUNSET ON JULY 21ST AND YOU'LL SPOT BRILLIANT VENUS NEXT TO LEO THE LION'S BRIGHTEST STAR, REGULUS. ON THE 22ND AT THE SAME TIME, THEY'LL BE EVEN CLOSER WITH VENUS DIRECTLY ABOVE REGULUS.

DEAN: THEN GET UP EARLY TO FIND JUPITER AND MARS. THEYLL BE VISIBLE LOW IN THE EAST JUST
BEFORE SUNRISE ON JULY 22ND. JUPITER IS THE BRIGHTER OF THE TWO AND THEY'LL GET EVEN CLOSER ON THE MORNING OF JULY 23RD

JAMES: FINALLY AT 4 AM YOU CAN FIND THE SEA MONSTER CONSTELLATION, CETUS. ONE OF HIS STARS, CALLED MIRA BRIGHTENS RAPIDLY ABOUT EVERY 332 DAYS.

DEAN: NORMALLY IT'S INVISIBLE TO THE NAKED EYE BUT BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR IT BETWEEN JULY 21ST-31ST. ITS NICKNAME IS, 'THE WONDERFUL'!

BOTH: KEEP LOOKING UP!

 

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