WPBT2's Star Gazers

Episode #14-37 "Mars Meets His Rival"
Air Dates September 15, 2014 - September 21, 2014


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

JAMES: AND I'M JAMES ALBURY, DIRECTOR OF THE KIKA SILVA PLA PLANETARIUM IN GAINESVILLE FLORIDA.  WE ALWAYS TALK ABOUT MARS AND ANTARES, AND HOW MUCH THEY RESEMBLE EACH OTHER.  WELL, NEXT WEEK, YOU'LL GET TO SEE THEM RIGHT NEXT TO EACH OTHER!

DEAN:  THAT'S RIGHT, JAMES!  AND ON THE NIGHT OF MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 29TH, THE WAXING CRESCENT MOON WILL FORM AN ALMOST PERFECTLY STRAIGHT LINE WITH THESE TWO RED CELESTIAL WONDERS.  LET'S SHOW YOU!

JAMES:  OKAY, WE'VE GOT OUR SKIES SET UP FOR JUST AFTER SUNSET, ANY TIME NEXT WEEK FACING WEST.  LOW IN THE WESTERN SKY, YOU'LL SEE THE SWIFTEST PLANET OF THEM ALL, MERCURY, LURKING IN THE GLOW OF THE SUN.  AS THE DAYS PASS NEXT WEEK, YOU'LL SEE THE WAXING CRESCENT MOON DRIFT BY MECURY, ON ITS WAY TO A CLOSE ENCOUNTER WITH THE RINGED PLANET, SATURN.

DEAN:   ON SEPTEMBER 26TH, A 2-DAY OLD CRESCENT MOON WILL BE UP AND TO THE LEFT OF MERCURY, AND THE FOLLOWING DAY, SEPTEMBER 27TH THE MOON WILL BE JUST TO THE RIGHT OF THE JEWEL OF OUR SOLAR SYSTEM, THE PLANET SATURN.  OUR FOCUS THOUGH IS UNAVOIDABLY DRAWN TO TWO REDDISH LIGHTS IN THE SKY.  THESE LIGHTS ARE ALMOST EQUAL IN BRIGHTNESS AND COLOR.  WHATEVER COULD THEY BE?

JAMES:  I'M GLAD YOU ASKED!  THOSE WOULD BE THE RED PLANET MARS, NAMED AFTER THE ROMAN GOD OF WAR, AND ITS STELLAR RIVAL, THE STAR ANTARES.  ANTARES WAS PARTIALLY NAMED AFTER THE GREEK GOD OF WAR, ARES.  ANTARES IS A RED SUPERGIANT STAR, APPROXIMATELY 600 LIGHT YEARS AWAY FROM US.  THE REDDISH COLOR OF THIS STAR IS SO STRIKING THAT IT ACTUALLY RIVALS THE REDDISH HUE OF MARS.  EVERY 26 MONTHS, ANTARES AND MARS ARE CLOSE ENOUGH TO EACH OTHER IN THE SKY, THAT IT'S SOMETIMES DIFFICULT TO TELL THE TWO APART.

DEAN:  BUT THERE'S A TRICK TO TELLING MARS FROM ANTARES.  LET'S SHOW YOU!

DEAN:  ALTHOUGH THE PLANETS AND STARS ARE OBJECTS YOU CAN SEE IN THE NIGHT SKY, WHEN THEIR LIGHT ENTERS OUR ATMOSPHERE, IT BEHAVES DIFFERENTLY.  WHEN YOU LOOK AT A PLANET THROUGH A TELESCOPE, YOU ACTUALLY SEE IT AS A DISK, MUCH LIKE WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE MOON THROUGH A TELESCOPE.

JAMES:  STARS HOWEVER ARE MUCH, MUCH FARTHER AWAY THAN THE PLANETS.  EVEN THROUGH A LARGE TELESCOPE, THEY STILL APPEAR AS A TINY PIN POINT OF LIGHT.  THIS TINY PIN POINT OF LIGHT IS EASILY BOUNCED AROUND BY THE MOLECULES OF AIR IN OUR ATMOSPHERE.

DEAN:  SO, IF THE AIR IS EVEN A LITTLE TURBULENT ON THE NIGHT YOU'RE OBSERVING, THE STARS WILL APPEAR TO SHIMMER AND SCINTILLATE.  THIS BEHAVIOR IS WHAT INSPIRED THE SONG

JAMES: TWINKLE, TWINKLE, LITTLE STAR.  HOW I WONDER WHAT YOU ARE

DEAN: CONVERSELY, IF YOU WERE OBSERVING THE STARS FROM THE MOON, WHICH DOESN'T HAVE AN ATMOSPHERE, THE STARS WOULDN'T TWINKLE.

JAMES:  PLANETS ON THE OTHER HAND, BECAUSE THEY ARE MUCH CLOSER AND APPEAR SLIGHTLY LARGER THAN THE STARS, THEIR LIGHT ISN'T AS AFFECTED BY TURBULENCE IN THE AIR AND THEREFORE, THEY DON'T TWINKLE; UNLESS THEY ARE VERY CLOSE TO THE HORIZON. SO, TO TELL MARS AND ANTARES APART, LOOK FOR THE ONE THAT ISN'T TWINKLING AND THAT WILL BE THE RED PLANET, MARS.

DEAN:  IF YOU NEED A LITTLE EXTRA HELP WITH FINDING MARS, THE MOON CAN HELP YOU ON SEPTEMBER 29TH.  ALL NEXT WEEK, MARS WILL BE JUST ABOVE THE STAR ANTARES.  ON THE NIGHT OF SEPTEMBER 29TH, THE WAXING CRESCENT MOON WILL BE ABOVE MARS AND ITS RIVAL ANTARES; RESULTING IN A NICE MARS SANDWICH.

JAMES:  THINK ABOUT THIS AS YOU GAZE AT MARS AND ANTARES NEXT WEEK.  SINCE ANTIQUITY, MARS HAS BEEN UNIVERSALLY ASSOCIATED WITH GODS OF WAR, PESTILENCE AND DEATH.  THE PLANETS WERE CONSIDERED DIVINE AND THEIR PECULIAR MOVEMENTS WERE INTERPRETED AS MESSAGES FROM THE GODS, EXPRESSING THEIR PLEASURE, OR DISPLEASURE WITH THE DOINGS OF MANKIND.

DEAN:  EVERY 26 MONTHS, WHEN THE EARTH CATCHES UP TO MARS, MARS BRIGHTENS.  THE BRIGHTENING OF MARS REMINDED PEOPLE OF THIS CELESTIAL CONNECTION TO WAR, AND SO THEY CAME TO EXPECT THE HEAVENLY UNLEASHING OF WAR, DISASTERS AND DEATH. EVEN THE MODERN SYMBOL FOR MARS IS STILL THE STYLIZED ROMAN SWORD AND SHIELD.

JAMES:  ANTARES, BY COMPARISON, REPRESENTS THE  HEART OF SCORPIUS THE SCORPION AND, AS ITS NAME IMPLIES, IS HAUNTINGLY SIMILAR IN APPEARANCE TO MARS.  REMEMBER, ANTARES IS A RED SUPERGIANT STAR, AND IT'S SO LARGE, THAT YOU CAN TAKE THE ENTIRE INNER SOLAR SYSTEM, FROM MERCURY OUT TO THE ORBIT OF MARS AND PLACE IT COMFORTABLY INSIDE ANTARES, WITH PLENTY OF ROOM TO SPARE.

DEAN:  SO, GET OUTSIDE AND LOOK AT BOTH MARS AND ITS RIVAL AS THEY SHARE THE SKY TOGETHER.

JAMES:  IT'S EASY TO DO IF YOU…

BOTH: KEEP LOOKING UP!

 

Episode #14-37 "Mars Meets His Rival"
Air Dates September 15, 2014 - September 21, 2014


ONE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT
DEAN: WE ALWAYS TALK ABOUT MARS AND ANTARES, AND HOW MUCH THEY RESEMBLE EACH OTHER. 

JAMES:  WELL, FINALLY NEXT WEEK, YOU'LL GET TO SEE THEM RIGHT NEXT TO EACH OTHER!  LET'S SHOW YOU!

JAMES:  OUR SKIES ARE SET UP FOR JUST AFTER SUNSET,  NEXT WEEK FACING SOUTHWEST.  AND WE SEE TWO REDDISH LIGHTS, VERY CLOSE TO EACH OTHER IN THE SKY. 

DEAN:  THOSE WOULD BE THE RED PLANET MARS, NAMED AFTER THE ROMAN GOD OF WAR, AND ITS STELLAR RIVAL, THE STAR ANTARES, PARTIALLY NAMED AFTER THE GREEK GOD OF WAR, ARES.  ANTARES IS A RED SUPERGIANT STAR, APPROXIMATELY 600 LIGHT YEARS AWAY FROM US.

JAMES:  THE REDDISH COLOR OF THIS STAR  ACTUALLY RIVALS THE REDDISH HUE OF MARS.  AND EVERY 26 MONTHS, ANTARES AND MARS ARE CLOSE ENOUGH TO EACH OTHER IN THE SKY, THAT IT'S SOMETIMES DIFFICULT TO TELL THE TWO APART.

DEAN:    BUT REMEMBER, PLANETS DON'T TWINKLE.  AND ON SEPTEMBER 29TH, THE MOON, MARS AND ANTARES WILL LINE UP ALMOST PERFECTLY.

BOTH: KEEP LOOKING UP!

 

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