WPBT2's Star Gazers

Episode #14-05 "Happy Birthday Galileo"
Air Dates February 3, 2014 - February 9, 2014



FIVE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
DEAN: HEY THERE STAR GAZERS. I’M DEAN REGAS, ASTRONOMER FOR THE CINCINNATI OBSERVATORY.

JAMES: AND I’M JAMES ALBURY, DIRECTOR OF THE KIKA SILVA PLA PLANETARIUM IN GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA. FELLOW STAR GAZER, MARLENE HIDALGO, WILL JOIN US TO HELP YOU FIND YOUR WAY AROUND THE SKY. WE’RE SO NERDY HERE AT STAR GAZERS THAT WE HAVE FAVORITE ASTRONOMERS.

DEAN: SPEAK FOR YOURSELF. I’M NOT THAT… WHO AM I KIDDING? I AM THAT NERDY TOO.

JAMES: AND OUR MOST FAVORITE ASTRONOMER HAS A BIRTHDAY COMING UP.

DEAN: GALILEO GALILEI, TELESCOPE PIONEER, PROVER OF THE HELIOCENTRIC SYSTEM, OBSERVER OF THE MOUNTAINS ON THE MOON, SUNSPOTS, PHASES OF VENUS, MOONS OF JUPITER AND EARS OF SATURN…

JAMES: EARS?

DEAN: WE’LL GET TO THAT. GALILEO WOULD BE 450 YEARS OLD THIS YEAR.

JAMES: AND WE WANT TO SHOW YOU HOW YOU CAN RECREATE HIS OBSERVATIONS FROM YOUR OWN BACK YARD.

DEAN: LET’S SHOW YOU.

DEAN: GALILEO WAS BORN ON FEBRUARY 15, 1564 IN PISA ITALY. THE NIGHT HE WAS BORN THE PLANET VENUS WAS VISIBLE JUST AFTER SUNSET IN THE WEST WITH A CRESCENT MOON UP ABOVE IT. OVER IN THE EAST THE PLANETS JUPITER AND SATURN WERE MAKING A NICE LITTLE CONJUNCTION. GALILEO WOULD GROW UP TO STUDY THESE FOUR OBJECTS EXTENSIVELY WITH HIS HOMEMADE TELESCOPES.

JAMES: GALILEO DIDN’T INVENT THE TELESCOPE BUT LEGEND HAS IT THAT AN ASSISTANT MERELY TOLD HIM WHAT ONE LOOKED LIKE AND GALILEO BUILT ONE HIMSELF IN UNDER 24 HOURS.

JAMES: OKAY, WE NOW HAVE OUR SKY SET UP FOR THIS FEBRUARY 10, AT 8 PM LOOKING HIGH IN THE SOUTHEAST. WE WILL BE HAVING OUR OWN LITTLE CONJUNCTION OF THE WAXING GIBBOUS MOON WITH THE BRIGHT PLANET JUPITER.

DEAN: IMAGINE BEING ONE OF THE FIRST PEOPLE TO EVER LOOK THROUGH A TELESCOPE. YOU WOULD SEE WONDERS NO HUMAN EYE HAD EVER SEEN. WHEN GALILEO LOOKED THROUGH HIS TELESCOPE AT THE MOON HE SAW SOMETHING LIKE THIS. HE REMARKED, “IT IS LIKE THE FACE OF THE EARTH ITSELF WHICH IS MARKED HERE AND THERE WITH CHAINS OF MOUNTAINS AND DEPTHS OF VALLEYS.”

JAMES: WHEN HE LOOKED AT JUPITER UP CLOSE HE SAW SOMETHING COMPLETELY UNEXPECTED. FOUR “STARS” ALWAYS SEEMED TO HANG AROUND IT IN A LINE. ON CERTAIN DAYS THERE WOULD BE 1 ON ONE SIDE AND 3 ON THE OTHER. SOMETIMES THEY WERE SPLIT TWO AND TWO. AND OTHER TIMES THERE WERE FOUR ON THE SAME SIDE.

DEAN: GALILEO FIGURED OUT THESE WERE MOONS THAT ORBITED THE GIANT PLANET. AFTER WATCHING THEM FOR ONE SEASON HE EVEN COMPUTED THEIR ORBITS. IO GOES AROUND JUPITER EVERY 42 HOURS. EUROPA CIRCLES AROUND EVERY 3.5 DAYS. GANYMEDE TAKES A LITTLE OVER 7 DAYS AND CALLISTO ORBITS ONCE IN A LITTLE UNDER 17 DAYS.

MARLENE: NOW WE’VE SWITCHED THE SKY A BIT. WE’RE FACING SOUTHEAST JUST BEFORE SUNRISE. IT’S ABOUT 6 AM AND WE’RE LOOKING FOR VENUS. SHE’S EASY TO FIND SINCE SHE’S THE BRIGHTEST STAR-LIKE OBJECT IN THE SKY.

JAMES: GALILEO’S OBSERVATIONS OF VENUS PROVED COPERNICUS RIGHT. WHEN HE LOOKED AT VENUS THROUGH HIS TELESCOPE HE SAW THAT IT WASN’T A PERFECT CIRCLE. IT HAD A PHASE LIKE THE MOON. AND AS HE WATCHED IN MONTH AFTER MONTH, THE PHASE CHANGED.

MARLENE: NOT ONLY THAT, BUT WHEN VENUS WAS A CRESCENT IT WAS LARGER THAN WHEN IT WAS ALMOST FULL.

JAMES: AHA! THIS WAS PROOF THAT VENUS WENT AROUND THE SUN, NOT AROUND THE EARTH. IT GOT LARGER AND MORE CRESCENT-SHAPED WHEN IT WAS CLOSER US AND ALMOST BETWEEN US AND THE SUN.

MARLENE: AND IT WAS FULLER AND SMALLER WHEN ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE SUN.

DEAN: SATURN IS ALSO UP AT 6AM THIS FEBRUARY. IT’S ABOUT HALFWAY UP IN THE SOUTHERN SKY LOOKING LIKE A BRIGHT YELLOW STAR. IT’LL MAKE A NICE TRIANGLE WITH THE FAINTER STARS ZUBENESCHEMALI AND ZUBENELGENUBI.

MARLENE: GALILEO’S TELESCOPE WASN’T QUITE GOOD ENOUGH TO SEE SATURN CLEARLY. AS HE SQUINTED AND SQUINTED, HE DID NOTICE SOMETHING STRANGE IN THE IMAGE.

DEAN: HE WROTE, “SATURN HAS EARS!”

MARLENE: WHAT HE WAS SEEING, JUST BARELY, WERE SATURN’S RINGS. TO HIM, THEY LOOKED LIKE EARS STICKING OUT OF SATURN’S FACE. IT WASN’T UNTIL 50 YEARS LATER THAT ASTRONOMERS HAD GOOD ENOUGH TELESCOPES TO SAY FOR CERTAIN, “YEP, SATURN HAS RINGS AROUND IT.”

JAMES: SO IN HONOR OF GALILEO’S 450TH JUPITER IN THE EVENING SKY…

MARLENE: AND VENUS AND SATURN JUST BEFORE DAWN…

DEAN: AND IF YOU HAVE A TELESCOPE, AIM IT AT THESE FOUR OBJECTS AND PRETEND YOU’RE GALILEO – SEEING THE WONDERS OF THE UNIVERSE FOR THE FIRST TIME.

ALL: KEEP LOOKING UP!

 

Episode #14-05 "Happy Birthday Galileo"
Air Dates February 3, 2014 - February 9, 2014



ONE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
DEAN: GALILEO WAS BORN ON FEBRUARY 15, 1564

JAMES: IN HONOR OF HIS 450TH BIRTHDAY, WE WANT YOU TO WATCH THE SKIES LIKE OUR FAVORITE ASTRONOMER.

JAMES: ON FEBRUARY 10 AT 8PM HIGH IN THE SOUTHEAST YOU’LL FIND THE WAXING GIBBOUS MOON NEXT TO THE BRIGHT PLANET JUPITER.

DEAN: THROUGH HIS TELESCOPE GALILEO SAW WONDERS NO ONE HAD EVER SEEN. HE WROTE THAT THE MOON “IS MARKED HERE AND THERE WITH CHAINS OF MOUNTAINS AND DEPTHS OF VALLEYS.”

JAMES: WHEN HE LOOKED AT JUPITER UP CLOSE HE SAW FOUR “STARS” THAT SEEMED TO HANG AROUND IT IN A LINE. THOSE WERE JUPITER’S LARGEST MOONS, IO, EUROPA, GANYMEDE, AND CALLISTO.

DEAN: NOW WE’RE FACING SOUTHEAST JUST BEFORE SUNRISE. DAZZLING VENUS IS THERE FOR US TO MARVEL AT JUST AS GALILEO DID WHEN HE OBSERVED ITS PHASES IN 1610.

JAMES: SATURN IS ALSO UP BEFORE SUNRISE. IT’S ABOUT HALFWAY UP IN THE SOUTHERN SKY LOOKING LIKE A BRIGHT YELLOW STAR.

DEAN: IMAGINE SEEING THE BEAUTIFUL RINGS OF SATURN FOR THE FIRST TIME! HAPPY BIRTHDAY GALILEO AND

ALL: KEEP LOOKING UP!

 

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