WPBT2's Star Gazers

Episode #13-32 "Sizing Up the Stars In the Summer Triangle"
Air Dates August 12, 2013 - August 18, 2013



FIVE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
MARLENE: HEY THERE STAR GAZERS. I'M MARLENE HIDALGO, SCIENCE TEACHER IN MIAMI, FLORIDA.

DEAN: AND, I'M DEAN REGAS, ASTRONOMER FOR THE CINCINNATI OBSERVATORY. JAMES ALBURY FROM THE KIKA SILVA PLA PLANETARIUM IN GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA, WILL JOIN US TO HELP YOU FIND YOUR WAY AROUND THE SKY.  THIS WEEK WE WANT YOU TO KICK BACK AND RELAX UNDER THE STARS.

MARLENE: IT'S THE HEART OF SUMMER AND THOSE WARM SUMMER EVENINGS ARE PERFECT FOR LYING IN THE GRASS AND LOOKING UP.

DEAN: THE BRIGHTEST STARS OF THE SEASON ARE HIGH OVERHEAD.

MARLENE: THERE YOU'LL FIND A TRIANGLE OF THREE CELESTIAL DAZZLERS - THE STARS OF THE SUMMER TRIANGLE NAMED VEGA, ALTAIR, AND DENEB.

DEAN: LET'S SHOW YOU.

DEAN: OKAY WE HAVE OUR SKY SET UP FOR AFTER SUNSET ANY NIGHT THIS WEEK FACING EAST.  THERE AREN'T MANY BRIGHT STARS VISIBLE LOWER IN THE EASTERN SKY SO WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO REALLY LOOK UP.

MARLENE: LET'S TAKE THE SKYCARS UP TO NEAR THE ZENITH.

MARLENE: WHEN YOU LAY BACK IN THE GRASS, POINT YOUR FEET TO THE EAST AND YOU'LL HAVE A VERY SIMILAR VIEW TO THIS.

DEAN: NOW THERE ARE SOME BRIGHT STARS.  NO MATTER IF YOU LIVE IN THE HEART OF A CITY OR ANY LIGHT POLLUTED SKY, YOU SHOULD STILL BE ABLE TO FIND THESE THREE STARS EASILY. WHEN YOU CONNECT THEM WITH LINES THEY FORM A HUGE TRIANGLE COVERING OVER 30 DEGREES LONG AND 20 DEGREES HIGH.

MARLENE: REMEMBER THE EASY WAY TO MEASURE DEGREES IN THE SKY?  YOUR FIST AT ARM'S LENGTH IS ABOUT 10 DEGREES.  SO SEE IF YOUR SUMMER TRIANGLE IS TWO FISTS HIGH AND THREE FISTS LONG.

DEAN: THE BRIGHTEST STAR OF THE THREE, AND THE ONE CLOSEST TO THE ZENITH JUST AFTER SUNSET IS CALLED VEGA.

MARLENE: DO I DETECT A SLIGHT BLUE-ISH TINT TO THIS STAR?

DEAN: YOU SURE DO. VEGA IS A BLUE-WHITE GIANT STAR AND THIS TELLS US ITS TEMPERATURE.  BLUE IS HOTTER THAN WHITE WHICH IS HOTTER THAN YELLOW.  VEGA IS ABOUT 17,000 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT ON ITS SURFACE. MUCH HOTTER THAN OUR 10,000 DEGREE YELLOW SUN.

MARLENE: THE SECOND BRIGHTEST STAR IN THE TRIANGLE, AND THE ONE OFF TO THE RIGHT, IS CALLED ALTAIR.  ALTAIR IS STARK WHITE IN COLOR WITH A TEMPERATURE OF 13,400 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT.

DEAN: AND THE FAINTEST OF THE THREE, OVER TO THE LEFT IS CALLED DENEB.  DENEB IS BLUEISH-WHITE - NOT AS BLUE AS VEGA BUT HOTTER THAN ALTAIR.  IT SCORCHES SPACE WITH A SURFACE TEMPERATURE OF ABOUT 14,800 DEGREES.

JAMES: EACH BRIGHT STAR IN THE SUMMER TRIANGLE IS PART OF ITS OWN CONSTELLATION.  IF I USE MY IMAGINATION (AND SOME HELP FROM THE STAR GAZERS GRAPHICS DEPARTMENT), I CAN JUST MAKE THEM OUT.  VEGA IS PART OF THE CONSTELLATION LYRA THE HARP.  THE STARS MAKE A TINY PARALLELOGRAM HANGING OFF VEGA.  IN SOME PICTURES OF LYRA THERE'S A BIRD AROUND THE HARP - SINCE PEOPLE ALSO CALLED THIS A VULTURE. NOW ALTAIR IS THE EAGLE EYE OF THE CONSTELLATION AQUILA THE EAGLE.  IF YOU CAN'T SEE AN EAGLE IN THOSE STARS, YOU'RE NOT ALONE.  BUT AT LEAST YOU KNOW WHERE THE EYE IS. AND DENEB IS THE TAIL STAR OF THE STELLAR SWAN - THE CONSTELLATION CYGNUS.  OKAY, THAT'S AN EASY ONE TO PICTURE WITH HIS BODY AND LONG, STRETCHED-OUT BEAK.  CYGNUS FORMS A CROSS SHAPE AND IS ALSO CALLED THE NORTHERN CROSS.

DEAN: NOW LET'S TALK DISTANCES.  VEGA IS THE BRIGHTEST OF THE THREE STARS BUT IS NOT THE CLOSEST.  THAT HONOR GOES TO ALTAIR WHO'S ONLY 17 LIGHT YEARS AWAY FROM US.  WITH PROFESSIONAL TELESCOPES WE CAN ACTUALLY SEE THAT ALTAIR IS SPINNING RAPIDLY.  IT SPINS SO FAST THAT IT HAS SQUISHED ITS SHAPE TO RESEMBLE A BLUE-WHITE EGG.

MARLENE: VEGA IS THE SECOND CLOSEST AT ABOUT 25 LIGHT YEARS AWAY. THAT MEANS THE LIGHT THAT YOU SEE LEFT VEGA 25 YEARS AGO. THAT WAS BACK WHEN JAMES HAD HAIR!

JAMES: HA HAA!  ANYHOO DENEB IS NOT ONLY THE FARTHEST OF THE THREE, IT IS PERHAPS THE FARTHEST STAR YOU CAN SEE WITH THE NAKED EYE.  AT A WHOPPING 3000 LIGHT YEARS AWAY, WE CAN STILL SEE IT AS A BRIGHT STAR.  THAT MEANS DENEB MUST BE HUMONGOUS.  HERE IS A SIDE-BY-SIDE COMPARISON OF THE THREE SUMMER TRIANGLE STARS. DENEB DWARFS THE OTHER TWO.

MARLENE: SO KICK BACK AND RELAX THIS WEEK.

JAMES: ENJOY THE WARM SUMMER NIGHTS AND LOOK FOR THE SUMMER TRIANGLE.

DEAN: VEGA, ALTAIR AND DENEB SHINE HIGH IN THE SKY SO DEFINITELY…

ALL THREE: KEEP LOOKING UP!

 

Episode #13-32 "Sizing Up the Stars In the Summer Triangle"
Air Dates August 12, 2013 - August 18, 2013



ONE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
DEAN: THIS WEEK KICK BACK AND RELAX UNDER THE STARS

JAMES: WE’LL SHOW YOU WHAT’S HAPPENING HIGH OVERHEAD IN THE SUMMER EVENINGS. 

DEAN: THERE YOU’LL FIND A TRIANGLE OF THREE CELESTIAL DAZZLERS - THE STARS OF THE SUMMER TRIANGLE.

(STOP DROP)   

JAMES: REALLY HIGH IN THE EASTERN SKY AFTER SUNSET YOU’LL SPOT THREE DISTINCTLY BRIGHT STARS.

DEAN: THIS IS THE SUMMER TRIANGLE AND SINCE WE’RE BASICALLY LOOKING AT THE ZENITH LAY BACK IN THE GRASS AND SAVE YOUR NECKS. 

JAMES: VEGA IS THE BRIGHTEST AND BLUEST OF THE THREE STARS. 

DEAN: ALTAIR IS THE SECOND BRIGHTEST SHINING WITH A STARK WHITE LIGHT DOWN AND TO THE RIGHT.

JAMES: AND DENEB IS THE FAINTEST OVER TO THE LEFT.  WITH A LITTLE IMAGINATION YOU CAN SEE THAT DENEB MARKS THE TAIL OF THE CONSTELLATION CYGNUS THE SWAN WHO FLIES INSIDE THE TRIANGLE.  

DEAN: WE STILL HAVE ANOTHER MONTH OF SUMMER - PLENTY OF TIME TO WATCH FOR THE SUMMER TRIANGLE EVERY NIGHT.

BOTH: KEEP LOOKING UP!

 

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