"STAR GAZERS "is seen nationally on most PBS stations. There is a five minute and a one minute version available each week. If it is not currently on your PBS station we suggest you contact your local PBS programming director and let them know it is available free to all PBS stations. Visit http://www.pbs.org/stationfinder/index.html for help in locating your local PBS station. You may take STAR GAZERS off satellite for personal use, classroom use, astronomy club use, etc. without written permission.

Satellite feed info:

STAH 1101-113
WPBT offer/WPBT uplink

All Wednesdays/All SD06

Half Hour Feed
1109SD Base P389228-001
Wednesday 15 February 2012 - 1230-1300
Includes episodes 1206, 1207, 1208, 1209



Notice : These are working drafts of the scripts for STAR GAZERS.
Changes may well be made as production requires.

"Star Gazers" is available from iTunes,
for downloading with Quicktime
and we're on YouTube

 

 
 

"STAR GAZERS" 5 MINUTE

Episode # 12-06 - 19th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 2/6/2012 through
Sunday 2/12/2012

"Make This Valentine's Day Cosmic With A Gift Of Stars And Planets"

James: Welcome to Star Gazers. I'm James Albury, Director of the Kika Silva Pla Planetarium in Gainesville, Florida.
Dean: And I'm Dean Regas, Outreach Astronomer from the Cincinnati Observatory
We're both here to help you be sure you know what you're seeing in the night sky when you...
Both: Look up.

James: This Valentine's Day night will be very special because you can give your sweetheart not only the traditional Valentine's Day star but you also have two brilliant diamond-like planets closing in on each other for a super close meeting in early March!

Dean: O.K. We've got our skies set up for Monday Feb. 13th about an hour after sunset facing west. Venus and Jupiter will be super bright and easy to identify. Venus is the brighter of the two and is on the bottom but not for long. Let's start going from night to night and see what happens.

James: Monday night Venus will be almost 28 degrees below Jupiter but the next night, Tuesday the 14th Valentine's night Venus will be 27 degrees away or two full Moon widths closer to Jupiter. The next night Wednesday the 15th, Venus and Jupiter will be 2 moons closer again, Thursday night more of the same and Friday night yet again.

Dean: Venus is moving really fast through the sky from night to night and will keep getting closer to Jupiter each night until they pass each other around March 12th. Venus and Jupiter have a close pass every year or so but they're not always so well placed for you to see. The next close pass will be in May next year but it won't be so easy to see because they'll not be so high above the horizon. So be sure to catch this one while it lasts.

James: Look due south between the hours of 8 and 9 p.m. and you'll see the star we call the Valentine's Day star because it's very bright and very red and is in fact the brightest red star we can see with the naked eye from planet Earth. And just coincidentally it reaches its highest point above the horizon every Valentine's Day night between the hours of 8 and 9 p.m.

Dean: It marks the shoulder star of Orion the hunter and is named Betelgeuse. And if you've ever wanted to give your loved one a really big valentine well this is about as big as it gets.

Dean: Because if we compare Betelgeuse, the Valentine's Day star, with our own star, our 865,000 mile wide Sun, we'll see that Betelgeuse is so humongous we could fit over 160 million of our Suns inside it.

James: And that's when Betelgeuse is at its smallest size because Betelgeuse shrinks and expands regularly like a gigantic, slowly pulsating heart, one that beats however only once every 6 years. When Betelgeuse is fully contracted, at its smallest size, it is about 500 times the width of our Sun. But when it expands to its biggest, it is almost 900 times as wide. In fact if we could place Betelgeuse where our Sun is, Betelgeuse at its smallest, would reach out past the orbits of Mercury, Venus and Earth, all the way to Mars and when it's at its largest, it would stretch all the way to Jupiter. Wow!

Dean: And continuing our Valentine's theme, after you've seen Betelgeuse, look to the east for another red Valentine's light in the sky, the red planet Mars. Mars will brighten rapidly over the next few weeks as it comes closer to opposition in early March and we'll move about 10 million miles closer to Mars just this month.

James: And just above Mars is the constellation Leo the lion. Leo is a big pattern of stars marked especially by the backwards question mark of stars that define his head and the triangle of stars that mark his rear. The bright blue star Regulus marks his heart. And I especially want you to pay close attention to how far Mars is from Regulus.

Dean : On Valentine's Day night Mars will be about 20 degrees from Regulus but over the next 6 weeks or so Mars will appear to move back across the sky and by early April will be only about 4 degrees away from Regulus. Mars will actually seem to back up in its orbit and get closer and closer to Regulus. Why?? Think about it. We'll talk more about that another time.

James: So there you have it, Venus and Jupiter shining like two diamonds in the evening sky, a red planet behaving strangely and Betelgeuse, a giant red star slowly beating like a heavenly heart for your sweetheart. Is this a romantic cosmos or what?

Both: Keep looking up!


How did you like this episode?
Please give us your comments. (Click Here)

 


"Star Gazers" is available with iTunes,
for downloading with Quicktime
and we're on YouTube

 

 
 
 

Star Gazer Minute

#12-06 M

2/6/2112 thru 2/12/2012

"Make This Valentine's Day Cosmic With A Gift Of Stars And Planets"

 

James: Valentine's Day night give your sweetheart two planets, which look like two diamonds in the evening sky plus the Valentine's Day star.

Dean: Just after sunset face west and you'll easily spot two brilliant points of light, the planets Venus and Jupiter. They'll keep getting closer each night for the rest of the month.

James: Between 8 and 9 look due south and the bright red shoulder star of Orion, Betelgeuse, will be at its highest as the Valentine's Day star. It pulses like a gigantic heart and we could fit over 160 million of our Suns inside it. At its smallest size it's 500 times the width of our Sun and at its biggest 900 times as wide.

Dean: Then look east for a bright red point of light, the red planet Mars. So give your loved one a red super star, a red planet and two planets that look like diamonds for Valentine's Day.

Both: Keep looking up!

How did you like this episode?
Please give us your comments. (Click Here)


* This week's Sky At A Glance and Planet Roundup from Sky & Telescope.
This week's Sky At A Glance displays current week only.

Starry Night 6 was used to produce this episode of "Star Gazers"







"STAR GAZERS "is seen nationally on most PBS stations. There is a five minute and a one minute version available each week. If it is not currently on your PBS station we suggest you contact your local PBS programming director and let them know it is available free to all PBS stations. Visit http://www.pbs.org/stationfinder/index.html for help in locating your local PBS station. You may take "STAR GAZERS" off satellite for personal use, classroom use, astronomy club use, etc. without written permission.

Satellite feed info:

STAH 1101-113
WPBT offer/WPBT uplink

All Wednesdays/All SD06

Half Hour Feed
1109SD Base P389228-001
Wednesday 15 February 2012 - 1230-1300
Includes episodes 1206, 1207, 1208, 1209


Notice : These are working drafts of the scripts for STAR GAZERs.
Changes may well be made as production requires.


"Star Gazers" is available with iTunes,
for downloading with Quicktime
and we're on YouTube

 

 
 

"STAR GAZERS"

Episode #12-07 - 20th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 2/13/2012 through Sunday 2/19/2012

"The Brightest Of The Bright"

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. With so many planets, stars, and constellations, where do you begin?

Dean: i recommend starting with the five brightest nighttime objects of 2012. Visible even from downtown locations, these celestial wonders are sure to capture your imagination. Let's get started!

James: Of course, we have to begin with the Moon - #1 brightest nighttime object. How can you not be awed by the sight of a full Moon rising above the eastern horizon? Or a thin, delicate crescent cradling the darkened orb after sunset?

Dean: This week the Moon is visible in the morning just before sunrise. Its called a waning crescent and will soon move to the invisible phase called new Moon on February 21st when it will be almost directly in front of the Sun.

James: But next week, on February 23rd you'll see the slimmest of waxing crescents right after sunset, low in the west. And each night after that, the Moon will appear fuller and fuller and farther from the sun. Here it is on the 24th the 25th and the 26th

Dean: Wait a second. Hold up. Go back one day.

James: to the 25th?

Dean: Therewhat's that bright thing just below the Moon?

James: is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a UFO? No, that's the second brightest nighttime object, the dazzling planet Venus. Venus is the brightest star-like object in the night sky and can now be seen in the evening low in the west

Dean: Venus is so incredibly bright because the planet is perpetually covered in clouds - and these clouds reflect sunlight much better than any other planet. Venus is about 86 million miles away right now but will be getting closer each day and will be blazing away in the evening skies until may.

James: Now when we look ahead to February 26th again we'll see the crescent Moon next to the third brightest nighttime object - the giant planet Jupiter.

Dean: There is no mistaking Jupiter's steady, cream-colored glow. With even a small telescope, Jupiter reveals a hidden system of four moons, Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. The cloud bands and Great Red Spot can also be seen with a larger scope.

Dean: Next up let's look to the southeast for Sirius, aka the dog star. Sirius is seriously bright - making it the fourth brightest nighttime object. The name Sirius comes from a Greek word meaning searing or scorching. And it lives up to its name, since it's twice as bright as any other star in the sky.

James: Sirius appears so bright because it is so close - relatively speaking. At only 8.5 light years away, the dog star is the fifth closest star to us. Look for Sirius rising in the southeast after dark. The star marks the nose of the constellation Canis Major, the big dog.

Dean: Number 5 on our list is another planet who's been brightening up as we rapidly approach it - the red planet, Mars. Here, we're looking east at about 8 pm. Mars is bright but its color is what really stands out. Although it's called the red planet, it looks more orange to the naked eye.

James: But it's definitely a different hue than brighter Sirius in the southeast. The diameter of Mars is about half that of the Earth. So it's a pretty small planet, and right now it's over 60 million miles away.

Dean: But this is about as close as Mars will be to us this year. Check it out tonight and wave to the Martians.

James: There you have it, the top five brightest nighttime objects.

Dean: Get out there and find the Moon, Venus, Jupiter, Sirius, and Mars tonight. The Moon will be right next to Venus on the 25th.

James: Right next to Jupiter on the 26th.

Dean: And then look for sparkling Sirius in the southeast and orangey Mars in the east.

James: Now, technically there are brighter things in the sky.

Dean: Man-made objects you mean?

James: Exactly. Several satellites reflect enough sunlight to appear brighter than the brightest stars. They're usually visible within an hour before sunrise or within an hour after sunset. The International Space Station can outshine Jupiter and a fleet of satellites called Iridium Satellites can shine almost 100 times brighter than Venus.

Dean: Check out websites like heavens-above.com to find out when the Space Station or other satellites will go over your home. Its all there when you

Both: Keep looking up!


How did you like this episode?
Please give us your comments. (Click Here)


"Star Gazers" is available with iTunes,
for downloading with Quicktime
and we're on YouTube

 
 
 

"Star Gazers" Minute

#12-07 M

2/13/2012 thru 2/19/2012

"The Brightest Of The Bright"

 

James: Hey there Star Gazers. This week Dean and I have lined up the five brightest objects in the night sky for you.

Dean: #1 on the list let's take you to the Moon!

Dean: Next week, on February 23rd you'll see the slimmest of crescents right after sunset, low in the west. And each night after that, the Moon will appear fuller and higher in the sky. Here it is on the 24th and the 25th.

James: Wow, the Moon will be right next to the second brightest nighttime object, dazzling Venus.

Dean: Now when we look ahead to February 26th, we'll see the crescent Moon next to the third brightest nighttime object - giant Jupiter.

James: Next let's look to the southeast for Sirius, aka the Dog Star. Sirius is seriously bright - making it the fourth brightest nighttime object.

Dean: And in the east you'll find Mars, rounding out our top-five list.

Both: Keep looking up!


Please give us your comments. (Click Here)




 
* This week's Sky At A Glance and Planet Roundup from Sky & Telescope.

This week's Sky At A Glance displays current week only.


Starry Night 6 was used to produce this episode of "Star Gazers"




 



"STAR GAZERS "is seen nationally on most PBS stations. There is a five minute and a one minute version available each week. If it is not currently on your PBS station we suggest you contact your local PBS programming director and let them know it is available free to all PBS stations. Visit http://www.pbs.org/stationfinder/index.html for help in locating your local PBS station. You may take "STAR GAZERS" off satellite for personal use, classroom use, astronomy club use, etc. without written permission.

Satellite feed info:

STAH 1101-113
WPBT offer/WPBT uplink

All Wednesdays/All SD06

Half Hour Feed
1109SD Base P389228-001
Wednesday 15 February 2012 - 1230-1300
Includes episodes 1206, 1207, 1208, 1209


Notice : These are working drafts of the scripts for "STAR GAZERS".
Changes may well be made as production requires.


"Star Gazers" is available with iTunes,
for downloading with Quicktime
and we're on YouTube

 

 
 

"STAR GAZERS"

Episode # 12-08 - 21st Show

To Be Aired : Monday 2/20/2012 through Sunday 2/26/2012

"How To Find The Gemini Twins And Their Sensational Siblings"

James: Welcome to "Star Gazers". I'm James Albury, Director of the Kika Silva Pla Planetarium in Gainesville, Florida.

Dean: And I'm Dean Regas, Outreach Astronomer from the Cincinnati Observatory.
We're both here to help you be sure you know what you're seeing in the night sky when you...

Both: look up.

James: Right now the constellation Gemini the Twins is at its best for viewing in early evening and while most people have heard of Castor and Pollux the brightest stars of Gemini, not many people are aware that these twin brothers have a magnificent assortment of hidden siblings. Let's show you.

Dean: O.K., we've got our skies set up for the next two weeks, 8 p.m. your local time, facing due south. A third of the way up from the horizon you'll see the brightest star in the heavens, Sirius which marks the eye of Orion's bigger dog. And just up to Sirius' right the bright stars, which mark Orion himself. But up much higher and to Orion's left you'll encounter two more bright stars, which are named for the famous twin brothers in Greek mythology, Castor and Pollux.

James: Pollux, the brighter of the two, is closer to the horizon and if you look closely, has a slightly orangeish tint to it. Castor, on the other hand, although a tiny bit dimmer is bright white. For over two thousand years these two stars were considered the patrons of all sailors and seafaring peoples. Plus they have also long been associated with the phenomenon called "St. Elmo's Fire".

Dean: But as ancient as these twin stars are, modern science has revealed that there is much more to them hidden from the naked eye. Upon closer examination we find that the brighter twin, Pollux is a humongous star much bigger than its brother and is in fact almost eleven times the diameter of our own million mile wide Sun. Dimmer Castor however is not to be outdone by his brother because he hides magnificent secrets. In fact with telescopes and other instruments Castor has revealed himself to be more than just one star.

James : Indeed way back during the time of the American Revolution astronomers discovered that when they looked at Castor through a telescope it had a companion. Thus Castor became the first true binary star ever discovered. But later as telescopes improved and other astronomical instruments were invented, astronomers were astonished to find out that both Castor and his hidden brother also each had a companion, which made Castor a quadruple star. And then surprise of surprises, several years later two more, smaller siblings were found which gave Castor the distinction of being not just a quadruple star but a sextuplet star. Three pairs of stars totaling six stars all together and all moving about each other in an extremely intricate and magnificent cosmic ballet, with four of the stars being bigger than our own Sun. Wow! Who ever said, "appearances are deceiving", wasn't kidding.

Dean: So go outside this week and next around 8 p.m. look due south and after you've found the brightest star Sirius look above him for all the bright stars of Orion the Hunter, and above him you'll see the most famous twins in the cosmos which modern science has revealed to be seven sensational siblings.

James: But the show's not over yet folks because we have three dazzlingly bright planets to add to the menu for tonight. Look in the center of your southern sky for three bright stars making a super bright triangle. Sirius, Betelgeuse and Procyon. Draw a line to the left from Betelgeuse through Procyon. Double that distance and you'll come across a brighter reddish yellow point of light the planet Mars. Mars will be its brightest for this year because it will be at its closest on March 5th.

Dean: Then go back to that bright triangle and draw a line the other way from Procyon through Betelgeuse, to the right and double that distance again and you'll easily spot giant Jupiter and just down to its right, brilliant Venus. Be sure to get out each night the next few weeks and watch Venus close in on Jupiter for one of the best planetary pairings of the year.

James: So that's Castor and Pollux, the twins of Gemini in the south, the bright winter triangle of Sirius, Procyon and Betelgeuse along with Mars in the east and Jupiter plus Venus in the west. Lots of bright things to see as you

Both: Keep looking up!


How did you like this episode?
Please give us your comments. (Click Here)


"Star Gazers" is available with iTunes,
for downloading with Quicktime
and we're on YouTube

 
 
 

"Star Gazers" Minute

#12-08 M

2/20/2012 thru 2/26/2012

"How To Find The Gemini Twins And Their Sensational Siblings"

Dean: Everyone has heard about the constellation Gemini the Twins but have you heard about their siblings?

James: Around 8 p.m. face south and above the brightest star we can see, Sirius and the super bright stars of Orion you'll find Castor and Pollux the two brightest stars of Gemini.

Dean: Brighter Pollux is 11 times wider than our own million mile wide Sun but dimmer Castor is the more fascinating twin. During the American Revolution early telescopes showed it to be a double star but more modern telescopes revealed that it is not just two stars but three pairs of stars, six stars all together orbiting each other in an intricate cosmic ballet.

James: And there's more! Well off to the left of castor and Pollux you'll easily find bright yellowish orange Mars and the same distance to the right of Castor and Pollux you'll easily spot two brilliant planets in the western evening sky, Venus and Jupiter.

Both: Keep looking up!

How did you like this episode?
Please give us your comments. (Click Here)



 
* This week's Sky At A Glance and Planet Roundup from Sky & Telescope.

This week's Sky At A Glance displays current week only.


Starry Night 6 was used to produce this episode of Star Gazer



 


"STAR GAZERS" is seen nationally on most PBS stations. There is a five minute and a one minute version available each week. If it is not currently on your PBS station we suggest you contact your local PBS programming director and let them know it is available free to all PBS stations. Visit http://www.pbs.org/stationfinder/index.html for help in locating your local PBS station.

You may take "STAR GAZERS" off satellite for personal use, classroom use, astronomy club use, etc. without written permission.

Satellite feed info:

STAH 1101-113
WPBT offer/WPBT uplink

All Wednesdays/All SD06

Half Hour Feed
1109SD Base P389228-001
Wednesday 15 February 2012 - 1230-1300
Includes episodes 1206, 1207, 1208, 1209


Notice : These are working drafts of the scripts for STAR GAZER.
Changes may well be made as production requires.



"Star Gazers" is available with iTunes,
for downloading with Quicktime
and we're on YouTube

 

 
 

"STAR GAZERS"

Episode # 12-09 / 22nd Show

To Be Aired : Monday 2/27/2012 through Sunday 3/04/2012

"Happy Leap Day!"

James: Welcome to "Star Gazers". I'm James Albury, Director of the Kika Silva Pla Planetarium in Gainesville, Florida.

Dean: And I'm Dean Regas, Outreach Astronomer from the Cincinnati Observatory. We're both here to help you be sure you know what you're seeing in the night sky when you...

Both: Look up.

James: Every four years, we get to experience something unique that became a part of our culture specifically because of the Earth's orbit around the Sun.

Dean: That's right, James. And although this event seems to happen every four years, sometimes we skip a year.

James: Indeed, and we also have some interesting planet/moon pairings to show you too. Wondering what were talking about? Let's show you!

Dean: O.K., we've got our skies set up for any night next week.
and if you look at the night sky, you'll notice that the constellations that you saw last year at this time are in exactly the same place.

James: Yep! And did you know that if you went outside at midnight on your birthday every year, you'd see exactly the same star patterns? The planets and Moon would all be in different positions each year, but the stars appear to be in the same place.

Dean: Indeed, and every four years, we have to add one whole day to our calendar to make sure that the star patterns you see on your birthday are exactly the same, year after year.

James: This is because the time it takes for the Earth to travel around the Sun doesn't exactly match our calendar year. As you know it takes approximately 24 hours for the Earth to rotate once on its axis. That's one day. And it takes almost 28 days for the Moon to orbit the Earth. That's one month.

Dean: But a year is how long it takes for a planet to travel all the way around the Sun and return to the same spot. It takes Earth approximately 365 days, 6 hours to travel around the Sun once. Over time, this extra six hours started causing problems for our calendar, because after a few decades, timekeepers noticed that we were almost a week behind in our journey around the Sun than where we should have been according to our calendar. So what did they do? They added extra time to the calendar to compensate.

James: And since we're off by 6 hours a year, every 4 years we'd be almost an entire day behind where we should be (according to our calendar). Since 6 hours each year for 4 years adds up to 24 hours, it was decided that the simplest way to fix things was to add an extra day to the calendar every 4 years.

Dean: Years when we do this are called Leap Years and the day which we add to our calendar count is called a Leap Day. Now where should we put it? Well February has the least number of days. So let's add it to February and we'll come up with February 29th. We traditionally experience a Leap Year in years that are evenly divisible by 4; like 2008, 2012 and 2016.

James: However, when a century ends, we skip a leap year. The exception is if the century ends on a year that is exactly divisible by 4. So, as I'm sure you remember, 1800 and 1900 weren't Leap Years, but 1600 and 2000 were Leap Years. Going forward in time, you'll notice that 2100, 2200 and 2300 won't have a Leap Day but 2400 will.

Dean: The reason the 'end of century' rule was introduced is because the correction is too big. The 6 hours is actually rounded up from 5 hours, 49 minutes and 16 seconds. But eh who's counting?

James: O.K, let's go see what the planets and our Moon are doing this leap day week.

Dean: If you go outside just after sunset any night this week, you'll be able to see our Moon, accompanied by four planets, all in the sky at the same time. Low on the horizon is the closest planet to the Sun, Mercury, and just above it, is the brightest planet visible from Earth, our sister planet, Venus. If you look at Venus through a telescope you'll notice that it's in a waning gibbous phase, on its way around to our side of the solar system for its transit of the Sun in early June 2012.

James: And, just above Venus is the largest planet in our solar system Jupiter. And in just a few weeks, Jupiter and Venus will appear less than 3 degrees away from each other on March 12th. And lastly is our friend the red planet, Mars. Mars is at opposition this week, so it'll be at its biggest and brightest over the next few days, so get outside and check it out!

Dean: O.K., my friends! Enjoy your extra day this year

James: And remember, whatever you do

Both: Keep looking up!

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"Star Gazers" is available with iTunes,
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and we're on YouTube

 

 
 
 

"Star Gazers" Minute

#12-09 M

2/27/2012 thru 3/4/2012

"Happy Leap Day!"


James: Every four years, we get to experience Leap Day because of the Earth's orbit around the Sun.

Dean: And because of this, if you go outside on your birthday every year, you'll notice the star patterns you can see are exactly the same.

James: Let's show you!

Dean: O.K., we've got our skies set up for the last week of February, and on February 29th, we'll be experiencing a Leap Day.

James: Yep! And that's because the time it takes for us to orbit the Sun is approximately 365 days, 6 hours, so every four years we have to add one whole day to our calendar to make up for those extra hours. As a result, the star patterns you can see on your birthday are exactly the same, year after year!

Dean: This year if you go outside on leap day, you'll see our Moon and four planets in the sky right after sunset. Pinkish mercury, close to the horizon

James: Brilliant Venus and Jupiter just above Mercury

Dean: And rising in the east, the red planet Mars, which will be at its biggest and brightest this week!

Both: Keep looking up!


How did you like this episode?
Please give us your comments. (Click Here)




 
* This week's Sky At A Glance and Planet Roundup from Sky & Telescope.

This week's Sky At A Glance displays current week only.


Starry Night 6 was used to produce this episode of Star Gazer




 

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