WPBT2's Star Gazers

Episode #13-47 "The Surest Sign of Winter and the Brightest Evening Venus for Eight Years"
Air Dates November 25, 2013 - December 1, 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: IN CASE YOU HAVEN'T NOTICED, WINTERíS COMING. NOW FOR PEOPLE WHO LIVE AT NORTHERLY LATITUDES, LIKE DEAN, THE TEMPERATURE CHANGE ITSELF IS NOTICE ENOUGH THAT WINTER IS ON ITS WAY.

DEAN: BUT FOR PEOPLE WHO LIVE AT SOUTHERLY LATITUDES, LIKE JAMES IN FLORIDA, THE TEMPERATURE CHANGE IS NOT NOTICE ENOUGH OF WINTER'S ARRIVAL.

JAMES: INDEED, NOTICE OF WINTERíS ARRIVAL DEMANDS A COSMIC CHANGE, ONE THATíS VISIBLE ALL OVER THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE AT THIS TIME OF THE YEAR.

DEAN: AND IF YOU GO OUTSIDE ANY CLEAR NIGHT IN EARLY DECEMBER AT 8 PM YOU'LL NOTICE THE SUREST SIGN THAT WINTERíS COMING, NO MATTER WHAT THE TEMPERATURE. LETíS SHOW YOU.

DEAN: OKAY, WE'RE FACING EAST ANY NIGHT NEXT WEEK AT 8 PM. JUST ABOVE THE HORIZON YOU WILL SEE THREE EVENLY SPACED STARS IN A ROW, FLANKED BY FOUR BRIGHTER STARS. AND THESE MARK RESPECTIVELY, THE BELT, SHOULDERS AND KNEES OF ORION THE HUNTER.

JAMES: AND FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, WHENEVER YOU SEE ORION JUST ABOVE THE HORIZON AT 8 PM YOU WILL KNOW THAT THE OFFICIAL BEGINNING OF WINTER, THE WINTER SOLSTICE, IS ONLY THREE SHORT WEEKS AWAY.

DEAN: BUT IF WE LOOK INTO THE WEST AFTER SUNSET ONE SPECIAL SKY GOODIE IS GUARANTEED AND A SECOND IS POSSIBLE BUT DEFINITELY NOT GUARANTEED. VENUS WILL BE THE BRIGHTEST IT CAN GET IN THE EVENING SKY THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF DECEMBER. AFTER THE 16TH YOUíLL NOT SEE AN EVENING VENUS AS BRIGHT AS THIS FOR THE NEXT 8 YEARS, UNTIL THE END OF NOVEMBER 2021.

JAMES: THE SECOND, NOT GUARANTEED, BUT POTENTIALLY SPECTACULAR THING IN THE AFTER SUNSET SKY IS COMET ISON.
THESE WILL BE THE PEAK DAYS FOR SPOTTING THIS POTENTIALLY GREAT COMET. WEíRE RECORDING THIS SHOW AT THE END OF AUGUST AND AT THIS TIME IT LOOKS LIKE THIS COMET MAY PUT ON A GREAT SHOW. IF COMET ISON PANS OUT LOOK TO THE RIGHT OF VENUS FOR THE TAIL OF COMET ISON PEEPING ABOVE THE HORIZON AFTER IT GETS DARK, BUT YOUíLL NEED A DARK SKY.

DEAN: WHAT WE CAN GUARANTEE IS THAT ON DECEMBER 4TH A THIN, 2 DAY OLD CRESCENT MOON WILL BE DOWN AND TO THE RIGHT OF VENUS. THEN ON THE 5TH THE MOON WILL BE CLOSER AND ABOVE VENUS; AND THEN ON THE 6TH HIGHER STILL.

JAMES: IF YOU FAIL TO SPOT COMET ISON IN THESE EVENING SKIES I SUGGEST YOU TRY THE PRE-DAWN EASTERN SKY AS WELL. I KNOW THAT DOESNíT SOUND RIGHT BUT IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

DEAN: AND THERE ARE OTHER THINGS ASTRONOMICAL THAT JUST DON'T FEEL RIGHT TO A LOT OF PEOPLE. AND ONE OF THESE IS HOW THE DAYS FEEL AT THE BEGINNING OF WINTER.

DEAN: NOW, WE ALL KNOW THAT THE SHORTEST DAY OF THE YEAR, THE DAY WHEN THERE'S THE LEAST TIME FROM SUNRISE TO SUNSET IN THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE IS THE DAY OF THE WINTER SOLSTICE, DECEMBER 21ST. BUT IíVE ALWAYS FELT THAT THE DAYS ARE ACTUALLY GETTING A LITTLE BIT LONGER BY THEN. THEY ACTUALLY SEEM TO LENGTHEN AS THEY APPROACHED THE SOLSTICE. BUT WHY?

JAMES: †ASTRONOMICALLY SPEAKING, THIS "FEELING" CAN BE EXPLAINED. MORE PEOPLE EXPERIENCE SUNSETS THAN SUNRISES AND ALTHOUGH THE WINTER SOLSTICE IS THE SHORTEST DAY OF THE YEAR AT MID-NORTHERN LATITUDES, NEVERTHELESS DECEMBER 7TH† FEELS LIKE THE SHORTEST DAY OF THE YEAR BECAUSE IT IS THE DAY OF THE EARLIEST SUNSET AT MID-NORTHERN LATITUDES.

DEAN: SO THE DAYS DO "SEEM" TO LENGTHEN AFTER DECEMBER 7TH BECAUSE SUNSET OCCURS A LITTLE BIT LATER EACH DAY. AFTER THE SOLSTICE, THE 21ST, UNTIL ABOUT JANUARY 5TH THEY SEEM TO LENGTHEN MORE RAPIDLY THAN THEY ARE ACTUALLY DOING BECAUSE ON JANUARY 5TH WE HAVE THE DAY OF THE LATEST SUNRISE.

JAMES: †ASTRONOMER GUY OTTEWELL PUTS IT VERY NICELY. REMEMBER THIS SEQUENCE: 1. EARLIEST SUNSET, DECEMBER 7TH. 2. SHORTEST DAY, DECEMBER 21ST. 3. LATEST SUNRISE, JANUARY 5TH.

DEAN: SO, NOW YOU KNOW WHY THE DAYS SEEM SO SHORT AT THE BEGINNING OF DECEMBER. AFTER ALL, MOST OF US JUDGE THE LENGTH OF THE DAY BY THE TIME THE SUN SETS. SO, WHAT YOU'VE BEEN FEELING ALL THESE YEARS IS A CORRECT FEELING, EVEN THOUGH THE REALITY OF THE SITUATION IS QUITE DIFFERENT.

JAMES: FASCINATING ISN'T IT? HOW WE PERCEIVE THE UNIVERSE AROUND US? AND OUR PURSUIT OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF IT IS REASON ENOUGH TO ALWAYSÖ

ALL: KEEP LOOKING UP!

 

Episode #13-47 "The Surest Sign of Winter and the Brightest Evening Venus for Eight Years"
Air Dates November 25, 2013 - December 1, 2013



ONE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
JAMES: IN CASE YOU HAVEN'T NOTICED, WINTERíS COMING.

DEAN: AND THEREíS ONE SURE SIGN IN THE SKY THAT WINTER IS ON ITS WAY.

JAMES: OKAY, WE'RE FACING EAST ANY NIGHT NEXT WEEK AT 8 PM. JUST ABOVE THE HORIZON YOU WILL SEE THREE EVENLY SPACED STARS IN A ROW, FLANKED BY FOUR BRIGHTER STARS. AND THESE MARK RESPECTIVELY, THE BELT, SHOULDERS AND KNEES OF ORION THE HUNTER.

DEAN: AND WHENEVER YOU SEE ORION JUST ABOVE THE HORIZON AT 8 PM YOU WILL KNOW THAT THE WINTER SOLSTICE, IS ONLY THREE SHORT WEEKS AWAY.

DEAN: BUT IF WE LOOK INTO THE SOUTHWEST AFTER SUNSET VENUS WILL BE THE BRIGHTEST IT CAN GET. †ON DECEMBER 4TH A THIN, 2 DAY OLD CRESCENT MOON WILL BE DOWN AND TO THE RIGHT OF VENUS. ON THE 5TH THE MOON WILL BE ABOVE VENUS; AND ON THE 6TH EVEN HIGHER.

JAMES: AND BE SURE TO LOOK EAST BEFORE DAWN FOR COMET ISON.

DEAN: IT MAY BE THE BRIGHTEST COMET IN MANY YEARS

JAMES: OR MAYBE NOT.

BOTH: KEEP LOOKING UP!

 

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