WPBT2's Star Gazers

Episode #14-50 "The Reason For The Seasons"
Air Dates December 15, 2014 - December 21, 2014



FIVE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT

DEAN: HEY THERE STAR GAZERS. I'M DEAN REGAS, OUTREACH ASTRONOMER FOR THE CINCINNATI OBSERVATORY.

JAMES: AND I'M JAMES ALBURY, DIRECTOR OF THE KIKA SILVA PLA PLANETARIUM IN GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA. WE'RE HERE TO HELP YOU FIND YOUR WAY AROUND THE SKY TONIGHT.

DEAN: THE WINTER SOLSTICE IS SUNDAY DECEMBER 21ST AND SUN WORSHIPPERS CAN FINALLY REJOICE! THIS IS THE TIME WHEN THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE EXPERIENCES THE SHORTEST DAYS AND LONGEST NIGHTS.

JAMES: WAIT A SECOND, REJOICE? ON THE SHORTEST DAY? WHAT'S TO CELEBRATE?

DEAN: WELL, EVERY DAY AFTER DECEMBER 21ST, THE SUN WILL GET HIGHER IN THE SKY AND STAY UP LONGER ABOVE THE HORIZON. THE SUN WILL STOP ITS SOUTHWARD MIGRATION AND START HEADING NORTH AGAIN.

JAMES: I WISH IT WOULD HURRY UP ALREADY, IT'S FREEZING OUT HERE!

DEAN: LET'S SHOW YOU THE REASON FOR THE SEASONS…

JAMES: THE CHANGING SEASONS ARE CAUSED BY ONE THING - THE 23 AND A HALF DEGREE TILT OF THE EARTH. AS OUR PLANET ROTATES DAILY ON ITS AXIS, WE ALSO REVOLVE AROUND THE SUN. BUT OUR ROTATIONAL AXIS IS TILTED COMPARED TO OUR ORBIT AROUND THE SUN, AND WE ALWAYS KEEP THIS SLANTED VIEW.

DEAN: WHEN WE, IN THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE, ARE TILTED MOST DIRECTLY TOWARD THE SUN WE SOAK UP SOLAR ENERGY TO THE MAX. THAT DAY IS CALLED THE SUMMER SOLSTICE AND IT OCCURRED ON JUNE 21ST THIS YEAR. AT THIS POINT THE SUN'S RAYS SHINE MOST DIRECTLY ON THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE. WE GET MORE ENERGY PER SQUARE INCH, AND THUS IT'S HOTTER.

JAMES: NOW THE OPPOSITE OCCURS WHEN THE EARTH SWINGS AROUND TO THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE SUN. HERE, WE, IN THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE, ARE TILTED AWAY FROM THE SUN. THE SUN'S RAYS FEEBLY STRIKE US AT A LOW ANGLE SPREADING OUT THE SAME ENERGY OVER A LARGER AREA. EACH SQUARE INCH GETS A LOT LESS ENERGY THAN IN SUMMER. WE CALL THIS THE WINTER SOLSTICE AND THAT OCCURS ON DECEMBER 21ST THIS YEAR.

DEAN: THE SUN'S OUTPUT IS THE SAME ALL YEAR ROUND. BUT THE DIFFERENCE IN OUR SEASONS IS HOW MUCH OF THAT ENERGY WE SOAK UP. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HOW CLOSE OR FAR WE ARE FROM THE SUN. WE'RE CLOSEST TO THE SUN EVERY YEAR IN JANUARY AND FARTHEST FROM THE SUN IN JULY. SO THE DISTANCE ISN'T THE DIFFERENCE… HEY JAMES, ARE YOU STAYING COOL?

JAMES: THE SUN… IS BLASTING… OFF MY HAIR!

DEAN: OH YOU'RE DOING GREAT. NOW LET'S SEE HOW OUR TILT AFFECTS THE VIEW FROM DOWN ON EARTH.

DEAN: SORRY ABOUT YOUR HAIR.

JAMES: IT'S OKAY. IT'LL GROW BACK.

DEAN: HA!

JAMES: ANYWAY, WE HAVE OUR SKIES SET TO DECEMBER 21ST JUST BEFORE SUNRISE. LET'S TRACE THE PATH THAT THE SUN TAKES ACROSS THE SKY ON THIS, THE SHORTEST DAY OF THE YEAR. THE SUN WILL RISE SOUTH OF EAST, AND REACH ITS HIGHEST POINT IN THE SOUTHERN SKY AROUND NOON. THEN THE SUN WILL SET SOUTH OF WEST.

DEAN: FOR MOST OF THE COUNTRY YOU'LL GET ABOUT 9-10 HOURS OF DAYLIGHT ON THIS DAY. THAT ALSO MEANS YOU'LL GET 14-15 HOURS OF DARKNESS!

JAMES: LET'S COMPARE THIS TO THE SPRING EQUINOX - NEXT YEAR IT WILL BE ON MARCH 20TH. NOW LET'S TRACE THE PATHWAY THAT THE SUN TAKES ON THIS DAY. THE SUN WILL RISE DUE EAST… REACH ITS HIGHEST POINT ABOVE THE SOUTHERN HORIZON… AND THEN SET DUE WEST.

DEAN: NOTICE HOW THE SUN WENT HIGHER IN THE SKY THAN IT DID IN DECEMBER. THE HIGHER THE SUN, THE MORE DIRECT ENERGY WE GET.

JAMES: AND LOOK AT HOW MUCH LONGER THE SUN WAS IN THE SKY! 12 HOURS OF DAYLIGHT, AND 12 HOURS OF DARKNESS. EQUAL DAY, EQUAL NIGHT. THATS WHY THEY CALL IT THE EQUINOX.

DEAN: WHAT ABOUT THE SUMMER SOLSTICE? NOW OUR SKY IS SET TO JUNE 21ST, 2015 AND WE CAN WATCH THE SUN RISE NORTH OF EAST… GO VERY HIGH IN THE SOUTH… AND SET NORTH OF WEST.

JAMES: THE SUN WENT HIGHER STILL IN THE SKY. AND THE HOURS OF DAYLIGHT REACH A WHOPPING 14-15 HOURS FOR MOST OF THE U.S WITH ONLY 9-10 HOURS OF DARKNESS.

DEAN: AND ALL OF THIS IS CAUSED BY THE 23 AND A HALF DEGREE TILT OF THE EARTH.

DEAN: SO ON DECEMBER 21ST WATCH THIS EXTREME SOUTHERLY SUNSET.

JAMES: AND IN SIX MORE MONTHS IT WILL REACH THE OTHER EXTREME: NORTHERNMOST SUNSET ON THE SUMMER SOLSTICE ON JUNE 21ST.

DEAN: SOAK UP THE SOLSTICE SUN - BECAUSE THE LONGER DAYS ARE RETURNING AND SUMMER IS COMING… SLOWLY…

BOTH: KEEP LOOKING UP

 

Episode #14-50 "The Reason For The Seasons"
Air Dates December 15, 2014 - December 21, 2014



ONE MINUTE EPISODE SCRIPT

DEAN: SUNDAY DECEMBER 21ST IS THE WINTER SOLSTICE WHEN WE EXPERIENCE THE SHORTEST DAYS AND LONGEST NIGHTS.

JAMES: WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN? LET'S SHOW YOU THE REASON FOR THE SEASONS…

JAMES: AS OUR PLANET ROTATES ON ITS AXIS, WE ALSO REVOLVE AROUND THE SUN. BUT OUR AXIS IS TILTED COMPARED TO OUR ORBIT AROUND THE SUN.

DEAN: THE EARTH IS TILTED 23 AND A HALF DEGREES AND THIS IS THE CAUSE OF THE SEASONS. WHEN WE'RE TILTED MOST DIRECTLY TOWARD THE SUN WE SOAK UP SOLAR ENERGY TO THE MAX. THAT'S THE SUMMER SOLSTICE.

JAMES: WHEN THE EARTH SWINGS AROUND TO THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE SUN WE, IN THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE, ARE TILTED AWAY FROM THE SUN. THE SUNS RAYS STRIKE US AT A LOW ANGLE SPREADING OUT THE SAME ENERGY OVER A LARGER AREA. THAT'S THE WINTER SOLSTICE.

DEAN : SO THIS WEEKEND WATCH WHERE THE SUN SETS.

JAMES: AND SOAK UP THE SOLSTICE SUN - BECAUSE THE LONGER DAYS ARE RETURNING…SLOWLY

BOTH: KEEP LOOKING UP!

 

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