WPBT2's Star Gazers

Episode #14-35 "Flying Along the Milky Way"
Air Dates September 1, 2014 - September 7, 2014


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.  THIS WEEK, WE'LL BE YOUR GUIDES TO THE GALAXY.

JAMES: YEP, WE'RE GOING TO SHOW YOU THE MILKY WAY, SOMETHING I HARDLY EVER GET TO SEE IN FLORIDA.  HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU SEEN THE MILKY WAY DEAN?

DEAN: HA, THE ONLY MILKY WAY I SEE IN CINCINNATI IS FILLED WITH CHOCOLATE AND NOUGAT.  FOR ME, LIGHT POLLUTION IS A BIG PROBLEM.  CITY LIGHTS ILLUMINATE SIGNS, PARKING LOTS, BUILDINGS…

JAMES: …AND ALSO THE NIGHT SKY.  THE MORE LIGHT THAT WE SHINE UP, THE LESS LIGHT THE STARS SHINE DOWN

DEAN: EVEN THOUGH ITS INVISIBLE FROM CITIES, JAMES AND I CAN SHARE A SNEAKY TIP TO FIND THE MILKY WAY IN YOUR SKY.  LET'S SHOW YOU!

JAMES: OKAY, LET'S PRETEND IT'S 10 O'CLOCK AT NIGHT AND WE'RE FAR FROM CITY LIGHTS.

DEAN: WOW, IT'S DARK OUT HERE!

JAMES: I KNOW, AND LOOK AT ALL THE SUMMER STARS YOU CAN SEE! 

DEAN: SO MANY STARS THAT YOU CAN'T EVEN COUNT THEM ALL. 

JAMES: YOU CAN ALSO SEE A BAND OF FAINT LIGHT STRETCHING FROM THE NORTHEAST, UP OVERHEAD, AND DOWN TO THE SOUTHWEST.  THIS IS THE MILKY WAY.  WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE MILKY WAY, YOU'RE OBSERVING BILLIONS AND BILLIONS OF STARS.  MOST OF THE STARS IN OUR GALAXY ARE STRETCHED OUT IN A BAND ALL AROUND US…

DEAN: WITH US IN THE MIDDLE.  THERE ARE SO MANY STARS IN OUR LINE OF SIGHT THAT THEY APPEAR AS MILKY CLOUDS.  MOST ANCIENT CULTURES WERE JUST AS FASCINATED WITH THE MILKY WAY AS THEY WERE WITH ANY PLANET OR CONSTELLATION.  YOU CAN DEFINITELY SEE WHY.  OUT IN THE COUNTRY IT DOMINATES THE SKY.

DEAN: SOME BRIGHT AND FAMOUS CONSTELLATIONS CAN BE FOUND ALONG THIS GALACTIC RIVER SUCH AS CASSIOPEIA THE QUEEN, CYGNUS THE SWAN, AND SCORPIUS THE SCORPION.

JAMES: CASSIOPEIA IS ONE OF THE MOST RECOGNIZABLE CONSTELLATIONS.  IN THE SUMMER EVENINGS, SHE SITS ON HER THRONE IN THE NORTHEASTERN SKY

DEAN: WHAT?  YOU MEAN THOSE STARS THAT LOOK LIKE THE LETTER W?  THAT'S A QUEEN?

JAMES: USE YOUR IMAGINATION DEAN.  (ADD IMAGE)

DEAN: WELL THAT PICTURE CERTAINLY HELPS BUT I GUESS I'M IMAGINATION-CHALLENGED.

JAMES: IN THAT CASE, PICTURE THIS W SHAPE OF STARS AS CASSIOPEIA'S CROWN SPARKLING WITH FIVE STELLAR JEWELS.

DEAN: OKAY, NOW THAT I CAN SEE.

DEAN: NOW KICK BACK AND LOOK HIGH IN THE SKY.  ALMOST STRAIGHT OVERHEAD YOU'LL SEE THREE VERY BRIGHT STARS MARKING THE SUMMER TRIANGLE.  THE SUMMER TRIANGLE IS NOT AN OFFICIAL CONSTELLATION - IT'S REALLY THREE CONSTELLATIONS: LYRA THE HARP, CYGNUS THE SWAN, AND AQUILA THE EAGLE. 

JAMES: LET'S FOCUS IN ON CYGNUS SINCE IT'S PROBABLY THE EASIEST TO IDENTIFY BECAUSE OF ITS CROSS-LIKE SHAPE.  IN FACT IT'S ALSO CALLED THE NORTHERN CROSS. 

DEAN: CYGNUS' BRIGHTEST STAR IS DENEB, WHICH MARKS THE TAIL OF THE SWAN.  CYGNUS IS LOCATED IN AN EXTREMELY RICH PART OF THE MILKY WAY, SO IMAGINE IT FLYING ALONG THE GREAT RIVER IN THE SKY. 

JAMES: NEAR DENEB, THE MILKY WAY BRANCHES INTO TWO CHANNELS LEAVING A DARK REGION IN THE MIDDLE.  THIS IS CALLED THE CYGNUS RIFT OR THE NORTHERN COAL SACK.

JAMES: NOW FACE SOUTH.  HERE THE MILKY WAY THREADS BETWEEN TWO ZODIACAL CONSTELLATIONS - SCORPIUS AND SAGITTARIUS.  SCORPIUS THE SCORPION IS EASY TO SPOT WITH ITS BRIGHT RED STAR FOR A HEART AND ITS CURVED TAIL AND STINGER STARS. THE STARS IN SAGITTARIUS RESEMBLE MORE OF A TEAPOT THAN A CENTAUR WIELDING A BOW AND ARROW. 

DEAN: WHEN YOU LOOK BETWEEN SCORPIUS AND SAGITTARIUS, YOU'RE PEERING INTO THE CENTER OF OUR GALAXY.  IN THAT DIRECTION ARE BILLIONS AND BILLIONS OF STARS, AND AT THE VERY CENTER OF THOSE IS A SUPERMASSIVE BLACK HOLE.  X-RAY SATELLITES HAVE CAPTURED AMAZING ACTIVITY AROUND THIS REGION CALLED SAGITTARIUS A . 

DEAN: OF COURSE YOU CAN'T SEE THE MILKY WAY IF YOU'RE A CITY-BOUND STAR GAZER.  LET'S SHOW YOU THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A RURAL SKY… AND A LIGHT POLLUTED SKY. 

JAMES: YIKES!  WHAT A DIFFERENCE!  EVEN THOUGH THE MILKY WAY DISAPPEARED, WE STILL HAVE THREE CONSTELLATIONS CLEARLY VISIBLE TO GUIDE US.  CASSIOPEIA IN THE NORTHEAST, CYGNUS HIGH OVERHEAD, AND SCORPIUS LOW IN THE SOUTH.

DEAN: AND THAT'S WHERE THE MILKY WAY IS - EVEN IF YOU CAN'T SEE IT.  ONCE YOU IDENTIFY CASSIOPEIA, CYGNUS, OR SCORPIUS, SCAN THESE REGIONS OF THE SKY WITH BINOCULARS.  WITH JUST A LITTLE MAGNIFICATION, A WEALTH OF STARS WILL BE REVEALED TO YOU. 

JAMES: SO START COUNTING THOSE BILLIONS AND BILLIONS OF STARS TONIGHT AS YOU… 

BOTH: KEEP LOOKING UP!

 

Episode #14-35 "Flying Along the Milky Way"
Air Dates September 1, 2014 - September 7, 2014


ONE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
DEAN: CAN'T SEE THE MILKY WAY FROM WHERE YOU LIVE?

JAMES: LET'S HEAD TO THE COUNTRYSIDE FOR A DARKER VIEW.

(STOP DROP)

JAMES: AWAY FROM THE CITY LIGHTS WE CAN JUST MAKE OUT A FAINT BAND OF LIGHT STRETCHING FROM THE NORTHEAST, TO OVERHEAD, AND DOWN TO THE SOUTHWEST.

DEAN: THIS IS THE MILKY WAY, THE BULK OF OUR GALAXY, WHICH IS ACTUALLY BILLIONS OF STARS

JAMES: IN THE NORTHEAST YOU'LL FIND CASSIOPEIA THE QUEEN, IN FRONT OF THE MILKY WAY.

DEAN: SHE'S THE ONE WHO LOOKS LIKE A W.

JAMES: LAY BACK IN THE GRASS AND LOOK STRAIGHT OVERHEAD FOR A CROSS-SHAPE OF STARS.  THIS IS CYGNUS THE SWAN FLYING IN AN ESPECIALLY THICK PATCH OF THE MILKY WAY.

DEAN: THEN FACE SOUTH AND FIND A TEAPOT FIGURE IN THE STARS.  THIS IS SAGITTARIUS AND WHEN YOU LOOK HERE YOU ARE ACTUALLY STARING INTO THE CENTER OF OUR GALAXY.

JAMES: IF YOU CAN'T SEE THE MILKY WAY WHERE YOU LIVE, LOOK FOR CASSIOPEIA, CYGNUS, AND SAGITTARIUS AND KNOW THERE ARE BILLIONS MORE STARS OUT THERE.

BOTH: KEEP LOOKING UP!

 

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