WPBT2's Star Gazers

Episode #13-37 "Two Days of the Year When the Sun Rises Due East and Sets Due West"
Air Dates September 16, 2013 - September 22, 2013



FIVE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
MARLENE: HI STAR GAZERS I'M MARLENE HIDALGO FROM MIAMI-DADE COUNTY FLORIDA.

DEAN: AND I'M DEAN REGAS FROM CINCINNATI OHIO.

JAMES: AND I'M JAMES ALBURY FROM GAINESVILLE FLORIDA AND WE'RE HERE TO TELL YOU ABOUT THE SKY AT NIGHT.

MARLENE: AUTUMN OFFICIALLY BEGINS AT THE AUTUMNAL EQUINOX, SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 22ND AT 4:44 PM EASTERN TIME, SO ONCE AGAIN GET READY FOR SOME IN-YOUR-FACE SUNRISES AND IN-YOUR-FACE SUNSETS, BECAUSE EVERY YEAR ON THE FIRST DAY OF FALL, WHICH ASTRONOMERS CALL THE AUTUMNAL EQUINOX AND THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING, WHICH ASTRONOMERS CALL THE VERNAL EQUINOX, OUR SUN WILL RISE DIRECTLY DUE EAST AND SET DUE WEST.

DEAN: THIS MEANS THAT IF YOU DRIVE TO WORK ON A DUE EAST HIGHWAY AT SUNRISE THE SUN WILL RISE DIRECTLY OVER THE YELLOW LINE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD. AND IF YOU DRIVE HOME AT SUNSET ON A DUE WEST HIGHWAY, THE SUN WILL SET DIRECTLY OVER THE YELLOW LINE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD.

JAMES: NOW ALTHOUGH THE SUN RISES DUE EAST AND SETS DUE WEST ON THESE TWO DAYS ONLY, NEVERTHELESS FOR ABOUT A WEEK CENTERED ON THE FIRST DAY OF AUTUMN AND THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING, THE SUN RISES AND SETS SO CLOSE TO DUE EAST AND DUE WEST THAT DRIVING  DUE EAST AND WEST AT SUNRISE AND SUNSET CAN BE PRETTY MISERABLE. SO GET OUT YOUR SUNGLASSES AND PUT THOSE SUN VISORS DOWN.

MARLENE: BUT WHAT ARE THE EQUINOXES ANYWAY? WELL, THE WORD 'EQUINOX' COMES FROM THE LATIN, 'EQUI' WHICH MEANS EQUAL AND 'NOX' WHICH MEANS NIGHT, WHICH MEANS THAT ON THE TWO DAYS OF THE EQUINOXES THE HOURS OF NIGHT ARE EQUAL TO THE HOURS OF DAYLIGHT. THIS IS ALL BECAUSE THESE ARE THE TWO DAYS WHEN THE SUN ON ITS APPARENT YEARLY JOURNEY THROUGH THE HEAVENS CROSSES AN IMAGINARY LINE IN THE HEAVENS WE CALL THE CELESTIAL EQUATOR. THE CELESTIAL EQUATOR IS AN EXTENSION OF THE EARTHS EQUATOR OUT INTO SPACE.

DEAN: NOW THERE IS NO REAL LINE IN SPACE BUT ANCIENT ASTRONOMERS DEVELOPED A MODEL THAT IS STILL USED FOR MAPPING THE SKY AND IT WORKS QUITE WELL. IT IS CALLED THE CELESTIAL SPHERE AND ALTHOUGH THERE IS NOT A REAL SPHERE SURROUNDING THE EARTH EARLY MODELS OF SPACE SAID THERE REALLY WAS ONE, BUT WE NOW KNOW THERE ISN'T.

JAMES: THIS MODEL HAS THE SUN, MOON, PLANETS, STARS AND EVERYTHING ELSE APPEAR TO LIE ON THE INNER SURFACE OF A SPHERE SURROUNDING THE EARTH. NOW THIS MODEL WORKS VERY WELL BECAUSE TO THE UNAIDED EYE THAT IS WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE. WITHOUT A TELESCOPE YOU CAN'T TELL THE DIFFERENCE. NOW BACK TO THE CELESTIAL EQUATOR. IT'S A LINE WHICH IS AN EXTENSION OF THE EARTH'S EQUATOR. IF WE ALSO DRAW A LINE THAT IS THE PATH THAT THE SUN FOLLOWS, THE EQUINOXES ARE WHERE THOSE TWO LINES CROSS .

MARLENE: ONE EQUINOX MARKS THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING AND THE OTHER ONE MARKS THE FIRST DAY OF AUTUMN.

DEAN: IF YOU WATCH THE SUN RISE ON THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING YOU'LL SEE THAT IT RISES DUE EAST. BUT IF YOU WATCH THE SUN RISE EACH SUCCESSIVE DAY AFTER THAT YOU'LL NOTICE THAT IT'LL RISE A LITTLE BIT FARTHER NORTH OF EAST EACH SUCCESSIVE DAY UNTIL IT REACHES ITS FARTHEST POINT NORTH OF EAST ON THE FIRST DAY OF SUMMER,

MARLENE: AFTER WHICH THE SUN WILL SEEM TO BACK UP AND RISE A LITTLE BIT LESS NORTHEAST EACH SUCCESSIVE DAY UNTIL ONCE AGAIN ON THE FIRST DAY OF AUTUMN IT WILL RISE DUE EAST. THEN EACH SUCCESSIVE DAY IT WILL RISE A LITTLE BIT FARTHER SOUTH OF DUE EAST UNTIL ON THE FIRST DAY OF WINTER WHEN IT WILL RISE AT ITS FARTHEST POINT SOUTHEAST, AFTER WHICH IT WILL SLOWLY START TO RETRACE ITS JOURNEY NORTH ONCE AGAIN.

JAMES: AND THIS ENTIRE CYCLE REPEATS YEAR AFTER YEAR AFTER YEAR. IN FACT, ALMOST ALL ANCIENT CULTURES SEEM TO HAVE KEPT TRACK OF THIS RISING AND SETTING OF THE SUN AT DIFFERENT PLACES ON THE HORIZON AND IN SO DOING, REALIZED THAT ONE CYCLE EQUALS ONE YEAR. INDEED, THIS CYCLE WAS ONE OF EARLY MAN'S FIRST METHODS FOR KEEPING TRACK OF TIME, SOMETHING WHICH IS ALMOST LOST TO MODERN MAN BECAUSE WE RELY ON CALENDARS AND ATOMIC CLOCKS TO KEEP OUR TIME FOR US.

DEAN: SO PUT THOSE SUN VISORS DOWN AS YOU DRIVE BACK AND FORTH TO WORK NEXT WEEK AND WHY NOT START YOUR OWN PERSONAL RECORD, KEEPING TRACK OF WHERE THE SUN RISES AND SETS ON YOUR HORIZON THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE YEAR. IT'S FUN IF YOU JUST REMEMBER

THREE: TO KEEP LOOKING UP!

 

Episode #13-37 "Two Days of the Year When the Sun Rises Due East and Sets Due West"
Air Dates September 16, 2013 - September 22, 2013



ONE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
MARLENE: AUTUMN OFFICIALLY BEGINS AT THE AUTUMNAL EQUINOX, SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 22ND AT 4:44 PM EASTERN TIME. HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED WHY THE FIRST DAY OF FALL IS CALLED THE AUTUMNAL EQUINOX?

JAMES: WELL IN LATIN 'EQUI' MEANS EQUAL AND 'NOX' MEANS NIGHT, AND ON THE FIRST DAY OF FALL THE LENGTH OF NIGHT IS EQUAL TO THE LENGTH OF DAY. BUT DID YOU ALSO KNOW THAT ON THE FIRST DAY OF FALL THE SUN WILL RISE DIRECTLY DUE EAST AND SET DIRECTLY DUE WEST.

MARLENE: YOU CAN PROVE IT YOURSELF BECAUSE IF YOU DRIVE TO WORK ON A DUE EAST HIGHWAY AT SUNRISE, THE SUN WILL RISE DIRECTLY OVER THE YELLOW LINE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD AND IF YOU DRIVE HOME AT SUNSET ON A DUE WEST HIGHWAY THE SUN WILL SET DIRECTLY OVER THE YELLOW LINE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD.

JAMES: SO PUT THOSE SUN VISORS DOWN, HAVE A HAPPY AUTUMNAL EQUINOX AND

THREE KEEP LOOKING UP!

 

Star Gazers Home Page Back to WPBT2.org Miami Science Museum Kika Silva Pla Planetarium | Santa Fe College The Cincinnati Observatory Support Star Gazes with your donation