WPBT2's Star Gazers

Episode #13-50 "Off To the Races With Venus and Jupiter"
Air Dates December 16, 2013 - December 22, 2013



FIVE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
DEAN: WELCOME TO STAR GAZERS. I'M DEAN REGAS, ASTRONOMER FROM THE CINCINNATI OBSERVATORY.

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

JAMES: AND I'M JAMES ALBURY, DIRECTOR OF THE KIKA SILVA PLA PLANETARIUM IN GAINESVILLE FLORIDA. VENUS, EARTH AND JUPITER ARE GOING TO GIVE US A LITTLE GEOMETRY LESSON THIS WEEK!

MARLENE: THAT'S TRUE! THEY'RE ALL ON THE SAME SIDE OF THE SUN THIS WEEK AND AS VENUS PASSES THE EARTH - WE'LL BE PASSING JUPITER!

DEAN: IT'S LIKE A GEOMETRY LESSON AND A PLANETARY RACE AROUND THE SUN, ALL ROLLED INTO ONE.

JAMES: LET'S SHOW YOU!

(STOP & DROP)

DEAN: OUR SKIES ARE SET UP FOR JUST AFTER SUNSET THIS WEEK. IN THE WEST, YOU'LL SEE OUR SISTER PLANET, VENUS. BACK IN MAY, WE MENTIONED THAT VENUS HAD JUST RETURNED TO THE EVENING SKY AFTER BEING IN THE MORNING SKY FOR 9 MONTHS. WELL NOW IT'S FINALLY ROUNDED THE SUN AND IS PASSING US IN OUR ORBIT.

MARLENE: EXACTLY! AND IN JUST A SHORT TIME, VENUS WILL REAPPEAR IN THE MORNING SKY. IF WE COULD VIEW THIS FROM OUTER SPACE, VENUS IS TRAVELING FASTER THAN WE ARE, AND HAS A SMALLER ORBIT. SO AS VENUS ORBITS THE SUN, IT EVENTUALLY PASSES US, GETS LOST IN THE GLARE OF THE SUN FOR ABOUT A WEEK AND THEN REAPPEARS IN THE MORNING SKY AND IS THEN CALLED THE MORNING STAR AND WILL BE VISIBLE FOR ANOTHER 9 MONTHS, JUST BEFORE SUNRISE.

JAMES: SO, VENUS HAS SWUNG AROUND TO MEET US ON OUR SIDE OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM. THE LAST TIME VENUS WAS ON THE SAME SIDE OF THE SUN AS EARTH WAS DURING THE TRANSIT OVER A YEAR AND A HALF AGO, IN JUNE OF 2012.

(STOP & FLY)

DEAN: IF YOU LOOK AT VENUS THROUGH A TELESCOPE, YOU'LL NOTICE THAT VENUS LOOKS MUCH LARGER THAN IT DID BACK IN MAY 2013 BECAUSE IT'S CLOSER AND IT'S ALSO MUCH THINNER. THE SHAPE IS A WANING CRESCENT. UNLIKE STARS, VENUS DOESN'T GIVE OFF ITS OWN LIGHT; IT SIMPLY REFLECTS LIGHT FROM THE SUN. SO WE'RE NOW SEEING LESS AND LESS OF THE DAYTIME SIDE, AND MORE AND MORE OF THE NIGHT TIME SIDE.

MARLENE: IT WAS GALILEO'S TELESCOPIC OBSERVATION OF THIS BEHAVIOR THAT GAVE HIM THE EVIDENCE HE NEEDED TO ARGUE THAT VENUS IS ORBITING THE SUN. AND SPEAKING OF GALILEO, THAT BRINGS US TO OUR OTHER PLANETARY RACING COMPETITOR, JUPITER.

JAMES: EXACTLY! AS VENUS NEARS THE HORIZON AFTER SUNSET, TURN AROUND AND YOU'LL SEE AN ALMOST EQUALLY BRIGHT OBJECT NEAR THE EASTERN HORIZON. THIS IS THE GIANT PLANET JUPITER. VENUS TAKES ONLY 7 1/2 MONTHS TO ORBIT THE SUN, EARTH TAKES 1 YEAR TO ORBIT THE SUN, BUT JUPITER TAKES ALMOST 12 YEARS TO ORBIT THE SUN. BY COMPARISON, JUPITER'S QUITE THE SLOW POKE.

(STOP & FLY)

JAMES: JUST AS VENUS IS PASSING THE EARTH OVER THE NEXT FEW WEEKS, OUR EARTH IS PASSING JUPITER. WHEN JUPITER IS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SUN AS SEEN FROM EARTH, IT CAN BE AS FAR AS 593 MILLION MILES AWAY. HOWEVER, ONCE EVERY YEAR, OUR EARTH AND JUPITER LINE UP ON THE SAME SIDE OF THE SUN AND ARE MANY MILLIONS OF MILES CLOSER TO EACH OTHER. WHENEVER THIS HAPPENS WE SAY JUPITER IS AT OPPOSITION BECAUSE JUPITER IS OPPOSITE THE SUN IN THE SKY, AS SEEN FROM EARTH.

MARLENE:…AND WHEN JUPITER IS AT OPPOSITION IT IS ALWAYS AT ITS CLOSEST AND BRIGHTEST AND BEST FOR VIEWING. THE LAST TIME JUPITER WAS AT OPPOSITION WAS BACK ON DECEMBER 1ST, 2012.

DEAN: THIS TIME, JUPITER WILL BE AT OPPOSITION ON JANUARY 5TH, 2014 AND IT WILL BE IN THE NIGHT SKY FOR WELL OVER 12 HOURS. IF YOU HAPPEN TO GET A NEW TELESCOPE DURING THE HOLIDAYS, THIS WILL BE AN EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY TO TAKE IT OUTSIDE AND GET A PEEK AT JUPITER'S FOUR LARGEST MOONS.

(STOP)

JAMES: IN 1610, ITALIAN ASTRONOMER GALILEO GALILEI STUDIED JUPITER USING A TELESCOPE AND IS CREDITED WITH DISCOVERING THE FOUR LARGEST MOONS OF JUPITER; IO, EUROPA, GANYMEDE AND CALLISTO. THE MOTIONS OF THESE MOONS AROUND JUPITER ALSO PROVIDED GALILEO WITH EVIDENCE SUPPORTING COPERNICUS' VIEW OF A SUN-CENTERED SOLAR SYSTEM, BECAUSE IF YOU LOOK AT JUPITER AND ITS MOONS, THEY DO LOOK LIKE A MINIATURE VERSION OF OUR SOLAR SYSTEM.

MARLENE: SO THERE YOU HAVE IT, A PLANETARY RACE AROUND THE SUN, WITH THE TWO BRIGHTEST PLANETS VISIBLE FROM EARTH ON OPPOSITE SIDES OF THE SKY AND VISIBLE WITHIN AN HOUR OF EACH OTHER.

DEAN: IT'S A NEAT LITTLE PIECE OF SOLAR SYSTEM GEOMETRY THAT YOU CAN SEE RIGHT FROM YOUR BACKYARD.

JAMES: YEP! AND THIS IS ALL THERE FOR YOU THIS WEEK IF YOU...

ALL THREE: KEEP LOOKING UP!

 

Episode #13-50 "Off To the Races With Venus and Jupiter"
Air Dates December 16, 2013 - December 22, 2013



ONE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
DEAN: VENUS, EARTH AND JUPITER ARE GOING TO GIVE US A LITTLE GEOMETRY LESSON THIS WEEK!

JAMES: THAT'S TRUE! THE PLANETS VENUS, EARTH AND JUPITER ARE ALL ON THE SAME SIDE OF THE SUN AND AS VENUS PASSES THE EARTH, WE WILL BE PASSING JUPITER!

DEAN: LET'S SHOW YOU!

(STOP & DROP)

DEAN: OUR SKIES ARE SET UP FOR JUST AFTER SUNSET THIS WEEK. IF YOU LOOK TO THE WEST, YOU'LL SEE OUR SISTER PLANET, VENUS. VENUS IS PASSING US IN OUR ORBIT OVER THE NEXT FEW WEEKS. IF WE COULD VIEW THIS FROM OUTER SPACE, VENUS IS TRAVELING FASTER THAN WE ARE, AND HAS A SMALLER ORBIT. SO AS VENUS ORBITS THE SUN, IT EVENTUALLY PASSES US, AND THEN, VENUS REAPPEARS IN THE MORNING SKY.

JAMES: JUST AS VENUS IS PASSING THE EARTH, OUR EARTH IS PASSING JUPITER. JUPITER WILL BE VISIBLE IN THE EAST ABOUT AN HOUR AFTER VENUS SETS AND JUPITER WILL BE GETTING BRIGHTER AND CLOSER EACH NIGHT AS WE PASS IT IN ITS ORBIT. WE WILL BE AT OUR CLOSEST TO JUPITER ON JANUARY 5TH, 2014 AND IT WILL LOOK FANTASTIC EVEN IN A SMALL TELESCOPE.

BOTH: KEEP LOOKING UP!

 

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