WPBT2's Star Gazers

Episode #13-41 "Autumn Stars and Planets"
Air Dates October 14, 2013 - October 20, 2013



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

DEAN: AND IíM DEAN REGAS, ASTRONOMER FOR THE CINCINNATI OBSERVATORY.

JAMES: WEíRE HERE TO HELP YOU BE SURE YOU KNOW WHAT YOUíRE SEEING WHEN YOUÖ

ALL: LOOK UP.

JAMES: JUST AS WE HAVE SEASONS HERE ON EARTH, SO TOO, DO THE HEAVENS HAVE THEIR SEASONS. YOU SEE, BECAUSE OUR EARTH ROTATES ON ITS AXIS ONCE EVERY 24 HOURS FROM WEST TO EAST, THE STARS APPEAR TO SLOWLY DRIFT ACROSS THE SKY IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION, FROM EAST TO WEST.

DEAN: AND IF OUR EARTH DIDNíT ORBIT THE SUN BUT SAT PERFECTLY STATIONARY AS IT SPUN IN THE HEAVENS WE WOULD SEE THE SAME STAR PATTERNS IN THE SAME SPOT AT THE SAME TIME EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. BUT BECAUSE OUR EARTH IS NOT STATIONARY AND MAKES ONE JOURNEY AROUND THE SUN ONCE EVERY 365 1/4 DAYS, OUR EARTH CHANGES ITS POSITION WITH RESPECT TO THE STARS A LITTLE BIT EACH NIGHT SO WE DO SEE A CHANGE IN THE STARS EACH NIGHT.

JAMES: FOR EXAMPLE IF A GIVEN STAR RISES ABOVE THE HORIZON AT 8 O'CLOCK ONE NIGHT, THE FOLLOWING NIGHT THAT SAME STAR WILL RISE 4 MINUTES EARLIER AND WILL BE APPROXIMATELY 1 DEGREE FARTHER ALONG ON ITS JOURNEY ACROSS THE NIGHT SKY AT 8 P.M. WHICH FURTHER MEANS THAT AFTER A MONTH ANY GIVEN STAR WILL BE 30 DEGREES FARTHER ALONG ON ITS JOURNEY ACROSS THE SKY AT 8 P.M., WHICH FURTHER MEANS THAT AFTER THREE MONTHS OR A QUARTER OF A YEAR ANY GIVEN STAR WILL HAVE MOVED 90 DEGREES OR A QUARTER OF THE WAY AROUND THE ENTIRE SKY AT 8 P.M.

DEAN: AND SINCE EACH SEASON IS ABOUT A QUARTER OF A YEAR LONG, THIS MEANS THAT AT ANY SEASON, IF YOU GO OUT AT 8 P.M. THE STARS OVERHEAD WILL BE MUCH DIFFERENT THAN THE STARS OVERHEAD THE PREVIOUS OR FOLLOWING SEASON.
JAMES: A SURE SIGN OF SPRING SKIES IS THE APPEARANCE OF LEO THE LION IN EARLY EVENING,

DEAN: AND IN WINTER, ORION THE HUNTER.
JAMES: AND A SURE SIGN OF AUTUMN IS THE APPEARANCE OF PEGASUS AND THE PLEIADES.

DEAN: NOW THE PLEIADES, BETTER KNOWN AS THE SEVEN SISTERS, IS A GROUP OF SIX BRIGHT STARS THAT PROBABLY HAD A SEVENTH BRIGHT STAR LONG AGO. AND AT THE END OF OCTOBER YOU CAN FIND THEM AROUND 8 O'CLOCK JUST BY LOOKING TOWARD THE EAST.

JAMES: THEY WILL LOOK LIKE A SHIMMERING LITTLE CLUSTER OF STELLAR GRAPES. BUT MY FAVORITE DESCRIPTION IS TENNYSON'S WHEN HE SAID: " MANY A NIGHT I SAW THE PLEIADS RISING THROUGH THE MELLOW SHADE, GLITTER LIKE A SWARM OF FIREFLIES, TANGLED IN A SILVER BRAID. " THAT'S ABOUT AS PERFECT A DESCRIPTION AS YOU CAN GET.

DEAN: AND EVERY AUTUMN I USED TO IMAGINE THAT THE PLEIADES, AS THEY SLOWLY ROSE HIGHER AND HIGHER ABOVE THE CHILLY HORIZON, WAS THE SMOKE OF SOME DISTANT INDIAN CAMPFIRE, WARMING THE COOL AUTUMN NIGHT.

JAMES: AND I USED TO IMAGINE THAT I COULD COUNT SEVEN STARS HERE RATHER THAN SIX. SOME PEOPLE SAY YOU ACTUALLY CAN SEE SEVEN STARS IF YOU HAVE REALLY GOOD EYESIGHT LIKE ASTRONOMY WRITER STEPHEN OíMEARA AND ARE FAR FROM CITY LIGHTS ON A CLEAR MOONLESS NIGHT.

DEAN: HOW MANY CAN YOU COUNT? USE YOUR NAKED EYE FIRST AND THEN TRY IT WITH A PAIR OF BINOCULARS!

JAMES: ON MONDAY THE 21ST THE MOON WILL RISE ABOUT TWO HOURS AFTER SUNSET AND WASH OUT THE SKY AROUND THE PLEIADES AND MAKE THEM HARDER TO SEE BUT EACH NIGHT AFTER THAT THE MOON WILL RISE ABOUT AN HOUR LATER. SO GIVE IT A TRY THEN.

DEAN: NOW IF YOU LOOK LOW IN THE WEST AFTER SUNSET BRILLIANT VENUS IS EASY TO SPOT AND EVEN THOUGH ITíS THE BRIGHTEST THING OUT THERE IT WILL GET EVEN BRIGHTER OVER THE NEXT 6 WEEKS AS VENUS WILL GET STEADILY CLOSER TO US EACH NIGHT. IN EARLY DECEMBER VENUS WILL BE AS BRIGHT AS IT CAN GET.

JAMES: SO WEíVE TALKED ABOUT WHY THE STARS SEEM TO SLOWLY MOVE ACROSS THE SKY FROM EAST TO WEST, ITíS DUE TO THE ROTATION OF THE EARTH ON ITS AXIS.

DEAN: AND WE TALKED A BIT ABOUT WHY THE STARS WE CAN SEE AT NIGHT SLOWLY CHANGE ACCORDING TO THE SEASON, ITíS DUE TO THE REVOLUTION, THE ORBITAL MOTION OF OUR EARTH AROUND THE SUN.

JAMES: AND WE SHOWED YOU THE PLEIADES ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS CLUSTERS OF STARS IN THE SKIES OF AUTUMN AND VENUS THE BRIGHTEST PLANET IN OUR NIGHT SKY WHICH IS GETTING EVEN BRIGHTER.

ALL: REMEMBER TO KEEP LOOKING UP!

 

Episode #13-41 "Autumn Stars and Planets"
Air Dates October 14, 2013 - October 20, 2013



ONE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
JAMES: JUST AS WE HAVE SEASONS HERE ON EARTH, SO TOO, DO THE HEAVENS HAVE THEIR SEASONS. AND A SURE SIGN OF AUTUMN IS THE APPEARANCE IN THE EVENING SKIES OF THE PLEIADES.

DEAN: NOW THE PLEIADES, BETTER KNOWN AS THE SEVEN SISTERS, IS A GROUP OF SIX BRIGHT STARS THAT PROBABLY HAD A SEVENTH BRIGHT STAR LONG AGO. †AT THE END OF OCTOBER YOU CAN FIND THEM AROUND 8 O'CLOCK JUST BY LOOKING TOWARD THE EAST.

DEAN: ON MONDAY THE 21ST THE PLEIADES WILL RISE ABOUT AN HOUR AFTER SUNSET IN THE NORTHEAST. EACH FOLLOWING NIGHT THEY WILL RISE ABOUT 4 MINUTES EARLIER. LOOK FOR THE ZIG ZAG CASSIOPEIA AND THEN FOLLOW THE LINE OF STARS BELOW IT THAT ENDS AT THE PLEIADES.

JAMES: THEN IF YOU LOOK LOW IN THE WEST AFTER SUNSET BRILLIANT VENUS IS EASY TO SPOT AND EVEN THOUGH ITíS THE BRIGHTEST THING OUT THERE IT WILL GET EVEN BRIGHTER OVER THE NEXT 6 WEEKS AS VENUS WILL GET STEADILY CLOSER TO US EACH NIGHT. IN EARLY DECEMBER VENUS WILL BE AS BRIGHT AS IT CAN GET.

BOTH: REMEMBER TO KEEP LOOKING UP!

 

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