WPBT2's Star Gazers

Episode #13-49 "’Tis the Season for Crescent Venus"
Air Dates December 9, 2013 - December 15, 2013



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

DEAN: AND, I'M DEAN REGAS, ASTRONOMER FOR THE CINCINNATI OBSERVATORY. FELLOW STAR GAZER, MARLENE HIDALGO, WILL JOIN US TO HELP YOU FIND YOUR WAY AROUND THE SKY. SO, THE MOON GOES THROUGH ALL ITS PHASES EVERY MOONTH.

JAMES: EVERY WHAT?

DEAN: MOONTH. THE TIME IT TAKES FOR THE MOON PHASES TO REPEAT. IT TAKES 29.5 DAYS TO GO THROUGH THE CYCLE, SO IT'S NOT QUITE A MONTH. IT'S A...

JAMES: MOONTH. OH, I LIKE THAT!

DEAN: WELL, THE PLANET VENUS ALSO GOES THROUGH PHASES, BUT IT TAKES A LOT LONGER AND THE CYCLE IS A LOT MORE COMPLICATED.

JAMES: I KNOW. VENUS AND EARTH ARE BOTH GOING AROUND THE SUN BUT SINCE VENUS IS CLOSER, IT GOES FASTER, AND WHEN IT IS ALMOST BETWEEN US AND THE SUN, YOU CAN SEE A CRESCENT VENUS.

DEAN: AND NOW IS THE PERFECT TIME TO CATCH A CRESCENT VENUS RIGHT AFTER SUNSET.

JAMES: LET'S SHOW YOU!

JAMES: BEFORE WE GET TO VENUS, WE HAVE ONE OTHER LITTLE EVENT HAPPENING. WE HAVE OUR SKY SET TO DECEMBER 16 AT 8PM FACING EAST. THE FULL MOON IS ABOUT 1/3 OF THE WAY UP IN THE SKY.

DEAN: LOWER IN THE NORTHEAST YOU'LL FIND BRIGHT JUPITER. IT'LL BE JUST ABOVE A FAINTER STAR CALLED 'WASAT' THAT'S PART OF THE CONSTELLATION GEMINI. AND FOR YOUR REFERENCE, ORION IS OVER THERE JUST SOUTH OF EAST.

JAMES: OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF NIGHTS, THE MOON WILL SHIFT TOWARD JUPITER. HERE WE ARE, ON DECEMBER 17. THE MOON MOVED ITS APPARENT POSITION AND IS NOW A WANING GIBBOUS.

DEAN: THEN, HERE IS DECEMBER 18 AT 8 PM. THE MOON IS NOW JUST A FEW DEGREES TO THE RIGHT OF JUPITER. REMEMBER EARLIER IN THE YEAR WHEN WE HAD MONTHLY CLOSE ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN THE MOON AND JUPITER? WELL, THEY'RE BACK!

MARLENE: YOU'VE PROBABLY BEEN SEEING VENUS A LOT AFTER SUNSET. IT'S BEEN LOW IN THE SOUTHWEST FOR MONTHS AND IT IS CRAZY-BRIGHT. WE PUSHED OUR TIME BACK A LITTLE AND IT IS NOW 6:15 PM ON DECEMBER 16 AND THERE IT IS, A DAZZLING BEACON JUST ABOVE THE HORIZON. LET'S TAKE A CLOSER LOOK WITH A TELESCOPE AND SEE WHAT'S GOING ON, ON VENUS.

MARLENE: YOU MIGHT BE SURPRISED TO SEE THAT VENUS THROUGH A TELESCOPE IS NOT PERFECTLY ROUND. IN FACT, YOU MIGHT DO A DOUBLE TAKE WHEN YOU FIRST LOOK AT IT. "IS THAT THE MOON?"

DEAN: NO MY FRIENDS, THAT IS NOT THE MOON, BUT VENUS IN HER CRESCENT PHASE.

MARLENE: NORMALLY, VENUS IS PRETTY BORING IN A TELESCOPE. HER CLOUDS BLOCK US FROM SEEING ANY SURFACE FEATURES SO SHE LOOKS LIKE A BLANK WHITE LIGHT. BUT WHEN VENUS IS LIKE THIS, TWO THINGS ARE HAPPENING.

DEAN: 1) VENUS IS CLOSER TO US AND THUS LOOKS LARGER IN THE TELESCOPE 2) VENUS IS COMING BETWEEN US AND THE SUN, SO THE SUNLIGHT IS BACKLIGHTING HER AND WE CAN ONLY SEE A LITTLE CRESCENT OF LIGHT.

JAMES: SPEAKING OF CRESCENTS, THE CRESCENT MOON WILL DRIFT BY VENUS ONE MORE TIME IN THE EVENING SKY. MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR JANUARY 2 AND IF YOU HAVE A TELESCOPE, GET IT READY.

MARLENE: WE HAVE OUR SKY SET TO JANUARY 2 JUST AFTER SUNSET FACING SOUTHWEST. IF IT'S REALLY CLEAR OUTSIDE, AS DARKNESS BEGINS TO FALL YOU WILL SEE THE WAXING CRESCENT MOON NO MORE THAN 10 DEGREES ABOVE THE HORIZON.

DEAN: AS IT GETS DARKER, VENUS COULD POP OUT, LOWER IN THE SKY.

JAMES: THIS WILL ALL BE HAPPENING VERY LOW IN THE SOUTHWESTERN SKY SO IT COULD BE TOUGH TO CATCH.

MARLENE: MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A CLEAR VIEW OF THE HORIZON AND START LOOKING JUST MINUTES AFTER THE SUN GOES DOWN.

JAMES: IF YOU HAVE YOUR TELESCOPE READY, TAKE A LOOK AT VENUS FIRST AND YOU'LL SEE IT AS THE SLIMMEST CRESCENT. ONLY 3% OF THE SIDE FACING US WILL BE LIT BY THE SUN. THAT'S BECAUSE IN EIGHT SHORT DAYS, VENUS WILL BE BETWEEN US AND THE SUN. IT WON'T LINE UP PERFECTLY LIKE WHEN WE HAD THE TRANSIT OF VENUS IN 2012, BUT IT'LL BE JUST ABOVE THE SUN AND INVISIBLE FROM VIEW - UNTIL IT POPS OUT IN THE MORNING SKIES EIGHT DAYS LATER.

DEAN: THEN CHECK OUT THE MOON THROUGH YOUR TELESCOPE. IT'LL LOOK ALMOST IDENTICAL TO VENUS (EXCEPT A LOT BIGGER) WITH 3% OF ITS LUNAR SURFACE LIT.

JAMES: WOW, I GOTTA CHECK THAT OUT ON JANUARY 2! JANUARY SHOULD BE A GREAT…MOONTH!

ALL THREE: KEEP LOOKING UP!

 

Episode #13-49 "’Tis the Season for Crescent Venus"
Air Dates December 9, 2013 - December 15, 2013



ONE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
MARLENE: THE MOON GOES THROUGH PHASES ABOUT EVERY MONTH.

DEAN: THE PLANET VENUS GOES THROUGH PHASES TOO, BUT IT TAKES A LOT LONGER.

MARLENE: AND NOW IS THE PERFECT TIME TO CATCH A CRESCENT VENUS RIGHT AFTER SUNSET.

DEAN: YOU'VE PROBABLY BEEN SEEING VENUS A LOT AFTER SUNSET. IT'S BEEN IN THE SOUTHWEST FOR MONTHS AND IT'S CRAZY-BRIGHT.

MARLENE: LET'S TAKE A CLOSER LOOK WITH A TELESCOPE. YOU MIGHT BE SURPRISED TO SEE THAT VENUS THROUGH A TELESCOPE IS NOT PERFECTLY ROUND. IN FACT, YOU'LL PROBABLY DO A DOUBLE-TAKE WHEN YOU FIRST LOOK AT IT. "IS THAT THE MOON?"

DEAN: NO MY FRIENDS THAT'S VENUS IN HER CRESCENT PHASE.

MARLENE: WHEN VENUS LOOKS LIKE THIS TWO THINGS ARE HAPPENING.

DEAN: 1) VENUS IS CLOSER TO US AND THUS LOOKS LARGER IN THE TELESCOPE. -  2) VENUS IS COMING BETWEEN US AND THE SUN, SO THE SUNLIGHT IS BACKLIGHTING HER AND WE CAN ONLY SEE A LITTLE CRESCENT OF LIGHT.

MARLENE: FINALLY, CHECK OUT THE SKY DECEMBER 18 AT 8 PM. THE MOON WILL BE JUST A FEW DEGREES TO THE RIGHT OF THE PLANET JUPITER.

DEAN: VERY COOL!

BOTH: 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