WPBT2's Star Gazers

Episode #13-48 "Goodbye Summer Triangle, Hello Winter Hexagon"
Air Dates December 2, 2013 - December 8, 2013



FIVE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
JAMES: WELCOME TO STAR GAZERS. I'M JAMES ALBURY, DIRECTOR OF THE KIKA SILVA PLA PLANETARIUM IN GAINESVILLE FLORIDA.

MARLENE: AND I'M MARLENE HIDALGO, SCIENCE TEACHER FROM MIAMI FLORIDA.

DEAN: AND I'M DEAN REGAS, ASTRONOMER FROM THE CINCINNATI OBSERVATORY.

JAMES: THIS WEEK, WE HAVE TWO CELESTIAL POLYGONS GRACING OUR EVENING SKIES!

DEAN: YEP! WE WILL BE SAYING GOOD BYE TO THE SUMMER TRIANGLE!

MARLENE: …AND HELLO TO THE WINTER HEXAGON!

JAMES: ALTOGETHER THAT'S 9 CONSTELLATIONS CONTAINING 10 OF THE BRIGHTEST STARS IN THE SKY! LET'S SHOW YOU!

DEAN: OUR SKIES ARE SET UP FOR JUST AFTER SUNSET THIS WEEK. IF YOU LOOK WEST, YOU'LL SEE 3 BRIGHT STARS MAKING THE ASTERISM WE CALL THE SUMMER TRIANGLE.

JAMES: VEGA IS THE BRIGHTEST STAR OF LYRA THE HARP; DENEB IS THE BRIGHTEST STAR OF CYGNUS THE SWAN AND ALTAIR IS THE BRIGHTEST STAR OF AQUILA, THE EAGLE.

MARLENE: THE BRIGHTEST STAR IN THE TRIANGLE IS VEGA AND IT'S ONLY 25 LIGHT YEARS FROM EARTH AND VEGA IS ONE OF THE MOST LUMINOUS STARS IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD. VEGA WAS OUR NORTH STAR WAY BACK IN 12,000 BC AND IT WILL BE AGAIN IN 14,000 AD, THANKS TO THE TOP-LIKE WOBBLE OUR EARTH MAKES OVER THE COURSE OF 26,000 YEARS.

DEAN: THE SECOND BRIGHTEST TRIANGLE STAR, ALTAIR, IS ONLY 17 LIGHT YEARS FROM EARTH. OF ALL THE STARS NEAR US, ALTAIR SPINS THE FASTEST. ALTAIR MAKES ONE COMPLETE ROTATION IN ONLY 9 HOURS! COMPARE THAT TO OUR SUN, WHICH TAKES 26 DAYS TO COMPLETE ONE ROTATION. THIS RAPID SPINNING HAS CAUSED ALTAIR TO FLATTEN OUT LIKE AN M&M.

JAMES: YUM! I LIKE M&M'S! THE LAST STAR OF THE SUMMER TRIANGLE IS THE BLUE-WHITE STAR DENEB. DENEB IS ALMOST 60,000 TIMES AS BRIGHT AS OUR SUN, HOWEVER, BECAUSE IT'S OVER 1,500 LIGHT YEARS AWAY FROM US, IT APPEARS MUCH FAINTER THAN VEGA AND ALTAIR AND IS ALMOST 110 TIMES AS WIDE AS OUR SUN.

DEAN: IF YOU GO OUTSIDE JUST BEFORE 10 PM AND LOOK TOWARD THE EAST, YOU'LL SEE A STAR PATTERN CALLED THE WINTER HEXAGON. COVERING ALMOST HALF THE SKY, THIS ASTERISM INCORPORATES SIX CONSTELLATIONS AND EIGHT OF THE TWENTY BRIGHTEST STARS VISIBLE FROM EARTH, THE WINTER HEXAGON DEFINITELY PUTS ITS STAMP ON THE SEASON.

MARLENE: THE MOST RECOGNIZABLE CONSTELLATION IN THE WINTER HEXAGON IS ORION THE HUNTER. BRIGHT BLUE RIGEL MARKS ONE OF THE STARS IN THE WINTER HEXAGON AND IT ALSO MARKS ORION'S LEFT FOOT. IF YOU TAKE ORION'S BELT OF 3 STARS AND LOOK TO THE WEST, THIS WILL LEAD YOU TO THE NEXT STAR IN THE HEXAGON, ALDEBARAN.

JAMES: ALDEBARAN MARKS THE EYE OF TAURUS THE BULL; THIS STAR IS A RED GIANT ALMOST 68 LIGHT YEARS AWAY FROM US. TAURUS HAS A SMALL V SHAPE OF FIVE STARS FOR A FACE AND TWO LONG HORNS. ONE OF THOSE HORNS CONNECTS TO THE CONSTELLATION CONTAINING OUR NEXT STAR IN THE HEXAGON, THE YELLOW STAR CAPELLA.

DEAN: CAPELLA IS 42 LIGHT YEARS AWAY FROM US AND IS THE BRIGHTEST STAR IN THE PENTAGON SHAPED CONSTELLATION AURIGA, THE CHARIOTEER. GREEK MYTHS DESCRIBED AURIGA AS HAVING DIFFICULTY WALKING WHICH LED HIM TO INVENT THE CHARIOT. ALTHOUGH IT APPEARS TO BE A SINGLE STAR TO THE NAKED EYE, CAPELLA IS ACTUALLY A STAR SYSTEM OF FOUR STARS IN TWO BINARY PAIRS.

MARLENE: THE LAST FOUR STARS OF THE WINTER HEXAGON COME FROM THREE DIFFERENT CONSTELLATIONS. JUST TO THE EAST OF CAPELLA ARE THE STARS CASTOR AND POLLUX. THESE STARS MAKE UP THE HEADS OF THE GEMINI TWINS. CASTOR IS ALMOST 50 LIGHT YEARS AWAY AND IS ACTUALLY A GROUP OF SIX STARS. POLLUX IS 34 LIGHT YEARS AWAY AND IS ACTUALLY TWO STARS ORBITING EACH OTHER. THE BRIGHT PLANET JUPITER IS AMONG THE STARS OF GEMINI, AND WILL MAKE THE TWINS EASY TO FIND.

JAMES: JUST BELOW AND TO THE SOUTH OF THE GEMINI TWINS ARE THE TWO STARS THAT MARK ORION'S SMALLER DOG, CANIS MINOR. THE BRIGHTER STAR IS PROCYON AND THE DIMMER STAR IS GOMEISA. PROCYON IS THE EIGHTH BRIGHTEST STAR IN THE NIGHT SKY, BUT THAT CAN'T COMPARE TO THE LAST STAR IN THE WINTER HEXAGON, SIRIUS.

DEAN: SIRIUS MARKS THE EYE OF ORION'S LARGER DOG, CANIS MAJOR. SIRIUS, APTLY NAMED THE DOG STAR, IS ONLY 8 LIGHT YEARS AWAY, MAKING IT THE BRIGHTEST STAR IN THE NIGHT SKY.

MARLENE: SO THERE YOU HAVE IT; IN THE WEST, RIGHT AFTER SUNSET, VEGA, ALTAIR AND DENEB, THE STARS OF THE SUMMER TRIANGLE.

JAMES: AND A FEW HOURS LATER, THE WINTER HEXAGON SHINES BRIGHTLY IN THE EAST; FEATURING RIGEL, ALDEBARAN, CAPELLA, CASTOR, POLLUX, PROCYON AND SIRIUS.

DEAN: AND IT'S ALL THERE FOR YOU THIS WEEK IF YOU...

ALL THREE: KEEP LOOKING UP!

 

Episode #13-48 "Goodbye Summer Triangle, Hello Winter Hexagon"
Air Dates December 2, 2013 - December 8, 2013



ONE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
JAMES: THIS WEEK, WE HAVE TWO CELESTIAL POLYGONS GRACING OUR EVENING SKIES!

DEAN: YEP! WE'LL BE SAYING GOOD BYE TO THE SUMMER TRIANGLE AND HELLO TO THE WINTER HEXAGON!

JAMES: THOSE TWO STAR PATTERNS INVOLVE 9 CONSTELLATIONS AND 10 OF THE BRIGHTEST STARS IN THE SKY! LETS SHOW YOU!

DEAN: OK, WE HAVE OUR SKIES SET UP FOR JUST AFTER SUNSET ANYTIME THIS WEEK. IF YOU LOOK TO THE WEST, YOU'LL SEE 3 BRIGHT STARS MAKING THE SUMMER TRIANGLE. VEGA IS THE BRIGHTEST STAR OF LYRA THE HARP; DENEB IS THE BRIGHTEST STAR OF CYGNUS THE SWAN AND ALTAIR IS THE BRIGHTEST STAR OF AQUILA, THE EAGLE.

JAMES: THEN, IF YOU GO OUTSIDE JUST BEFORE 10 PM AND LOOK TOWARD THE EAST, YOU'LL SEE THE WINTER HEXAGON. THE STARS MAKING THE HEXAGON ARE: RIGEL, IN ORION -THE HUNTER, ALDEBARAN, -THE EYE OF TAURUS . CAPELLA, -THE BRIGHTEST STAR OF AURIGA THE CHARIOTEER, CASTOR AND POLLUX, -THE HEADS OF GEMINI , PROCYON -THE BRIGHTEST STAR IN CANIS MINOR AND SIRIUS, -THE NOSE OF ORION'S HUNTING DOG, CANIS MAJOR.

DEAN: *PHEW*, THAT'S A LOT OF STARS!

ALL THREE: KEEP LOOKING UP!

 

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