"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

One Hour Feed
1106 SD Base P389225-001
Wednesday 14 December 2011 - 1200-1300
Includes episodes 1201, 1202, 1203, 1204, 1205



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 # 12-01 - 14th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 1/2/2012 through
Sunday 1/08/2012

"Friday The 13th Is Good Luck For Finding 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: Friday next week will be Friday the 13th, and it will be just the first of three such Fridays that we'll have during 2012.

Dean: Are you getting a little triskaidekaphobic on us?

James: Nope, just telling you what's coming up. For instance Venus will be getting higher and brighter each night throughout January. In fact Venus will keep getting higher after Sunset each night and brightening through the end of March.

Dean: Let's take a look at the southwestern sky next week and see what we can see.

Dean: O.K., we've got our skies set for about an hour after Sunset facing southwest. The brilliant beacon of light you see about two fists above the horizon is the planet Venus. Venus is so bright for two reasons. It's fairly close to Earth in space and it reflects almost 2/3 of the light reaching it from the Sun.

James: Venus reflects so much light because it has a thick layer of sulfuric acid clouds in its atmosphere of carbon dioxide unlike mars and mercury. Venus' carbon dioxide causes Venus to hang on to much of the heat it gets from the Sun so that Venus is about 900 degrees on its surface.

Dean: Not some place I'd like to spend much time. Venus is so bright that it sometimes seems to sparkle. Some eyes actually see the image of Venus flashing and seeming to send out spikes of brilliance but it doesn't really. It just shines on and on.

James: And next week we can use Venus as a finder to locate the most distant planet in the solar system.

Dean: You mean Pluto?

James: Come on, Dean, you're just messing with me. You know as well as I do that Pluto had its planet license revoked several years ago. No, I'm talking about the 31,000 mile wide, blue ball of methane called Neptune, now the most distant planet in the solar system.

Dean: Neptune is usually quite difficult to locate in the sky because it's so faint and so far away. Next week Neptune will be almost 3 billion miles away, that's billion with a 'b'. The Sun is only 93 million miles away, that's million with an 'm'. Remember that one billion is a thousand times a million.

James: Next week on Friday the 13th, Venus will be in just the right spot to help us find Neptune with a pair of binoculars. Friday the 13th is not so unlucky now, huh? Even with Venus help, Neptune will be too faint to spot with the naked eye. So a pair of binoculars or a small telescope will be necessary.

Dean: Let's start on January the 11th about an hour after the Sun goes down, when Neptune will be 2 degrees above Venus and then look each night as Venus passes in front of Neptune. Remember to go out about an hour after sunset because the sky will be getting dark and Venus will still be high above the horizon. On the next night the 12th Neptune will be less than 1 and a half degrees up and to the right of Venus.

James: Then on the night of Friday the 13th Neptune will be only about one degree to the right of Venus. Remember that Neptune will be about 25 times as far away as Venus. On the next night, the 14th Neptune will be almost two degrees away and will steadily get farther away after that. Don't miss this chance to use the brightest planet to help you find and identify the dimmest planet.

Dean: While you're out there with your binoculars take a look up and to the left of Venus and find bright Jupiter the second brightest planet. Venus and Jupiter are getting closer each night as they head for their super close approach in early March. Venus will pass about 3 degrees to the right of Jupiter on the 13th of March. The two brightest planets will be extremely close together in the evening sky.

James: Jupiter is an especially good target for binoculars because you can see four of its many moons with just a pair of 7 power binoculars. And no, we haven't forgotten you early birds. Here is our early morning sky lover Dean to tell you all about Mars, Saturn and the Moon on the morning of Friday the 13th.

Dean: Yes, James, you're right, Mars will be shining brightly up and to the left of the waning gibbous Moon on Friday morning. Saturn will be off to the left of Mars but not as bright. On the 16th a skinnier last quarter moon will be less than a fist below Saturn.

James: So Friday the 13th can be quite a help 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 Gazer Minute

#12-01 M

1/2/2112 thru 1/8/2012

"Friday The 13th Is Good Luck For Finding Planets"

Dean: The brilliant beacon of light you see in the southwest, about an hour after sunset, is the planet Venus.

James: Next week on Friday the 13th, Venus will be in just the right spot to help you find the most distant planet Neptune. Even with Venus' help, Neptune will be too faint to spot with the naked eye so you'll need a pair of binoculars or a small telescope.

Dean: On the night of Friday the 13th Neptune will be about one degree to the right of Venus. But even though it looks close to Venus, Neptune will really be about 25 times farther away.

James: While you're out there take a look up and to the left of Venus and find bright Jupiter, the second brightest planet. Venus and Jupiter will get closer each night as they head for their super close approach in early March.

Dean: Venus will point out Neptune on Friday the 13th plus the two brightest planets get closer together in the evening sky.

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

One Hour Feed
1106 SD Base P389225-001
Wednesday 14 December 2011 - 1200-1300
Includes episodes 1201, 1202, 1203, 1204, 1205


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 #12-02 - 15th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 1/9/2012 through Sunday 1/15/2012

"The Winter Football"

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 winter sky. This is perfect star-gazing weather

Dean: and perfect football weather.

James: The most distinguishing feature of the winter sky is a star pattern called the Winter Hexagon. Covering almost half the sky, incorporating six constellations and eight of the twenty brightest stars visible from Earth, the Winter Hexagon puts its stamp on the season.

Dean: But in honor of the NFL playoffs and the upcoming Super Bowl, I recommend changing its name to the Winter Football. When you step outside and see the clear winter sky, you'll know what I'm talking about. Let's show you

James: Okay we have our skies set for 9 p.m. looking south-east. You can see most of these stars anytime from sunset to midnight too.

Dean: Look at all those bright stars! If you can brave the cold, a ring of sparkling, multicolored jewels will shine down on you. Some call this the Winter Circle or Winter Hexagon, but, even better I think they look like a giant football flying through the air, pointy on two ends, rounded in the two middles. And winter is the season for football. So we call this formation the Winter Football.

James: That's right, Dean. The main player inside the winter football is Orion the hunter. Easily recognized by the three stars that make his snazzy belt, Orion stands about halfway up in the southeastern sky like a hulking linebacker about to make a tackle.

Dean: Now let's take a tour around the Winter Football. Begin with the brightest star in the sky. This is the Dog Star also named Sirius. If you connect the dots of Orion's belt stars and continue that line to the left, you can't miss it. Sirius is a brilliant white star and one of our closest stellar neighbors. Following our football theme, Sirius marks the nose of one of our two team mascots, the big dog, or Canis Major. In Greek mythology Canis Major was one of Orion's great hunting dogs.

James: Orion's other hunting dog, and our other team mascot, can be found up and to the left of Sirius - around the bright star Procyon. Procyon is a yellow-white star in the constellation Canis Minor, the little dog.

Dean: Keep going up and to the left, and you'll find two stars of similar brightness. These are the two heads of the Gemini twins, Pollux and Castor. Both twins were incredibly athletic and would make a great quarterback and wide receiver combo.

James: The bright star nearest the zenith, and at the tip of the football is called Capella. Capella is the brightest star in the constellation Auriga the Charioteer. Auriga could serve as coach and chauffeur to the football team. Greek myths described him as having difficulty walking and he therefore invented the chariot. But he was also good at giving advice and can look over the field from his position high in the sky.

Dean: Let's start going down the other side of the football and we'll come to a bright, orange star. This is Aldebaran, the glowing eye of Taurus the Bull. Now I realize there is no pro football team called the Bulls.

James: But how about the Buffalo Bills?

Dean: That's close enough for me.

James: The last star in the football is the bright blue star, Rigel. This marks the left foot of our buddy Orion and is one of the truly amazing stars in our galaxy. It's around 800 light years away from us and is still one of the brightest stars.... It must be huge!

Dean: Finally, you're back around to Sirius. Congratulations, you've traced the Winter Football in the sky. Look for it after dark for the next few months. But what's that bright star in the middle of the football?

James: That's the infamous Betelgeuse, a red supergiant star that makes even Rigel look tiny. Let's compare Rigel to our Sun. In size,... they're not even close. Now let's compare Betelgeuse to Rigel.

Dean: Yikes! Betelgeuse is even bigger than the Earth's orbit.

James: That means that if bBetelgeuse was our Sun, we'd be orbiting inside of it.

Dean: Good thing we're far, far away from it!

James: Uh huh. So tonight, take a break from the NFL and go out to see the big game in the sky.

Dean: The Winter Football has more big stars than any pro team. And they're available to you every night until baseball season 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

#12-02 M

1/09/2012 thru 1/15/2012

 

 

"The Winter Football"

 

James: 8 of the 20 brightest stars can be seen in one place tonight.

Dean: Let's show you the winter football

James: When you look south-east tonight you can't miss Orion and his snazzy belt of three stars.

Dean: And look at all of those bright stars around him - covering half the sky. Some people call this the Winter Circle, but it looks more like a giant football to me.

James: The brightest star is Sirius, a.k.a. the Dog Star at the bottom of the football.

Dean: Up and to the left, you'll find the little dog star, Procyon and then up higher still are the twin stars of Gemini, Castor and Pollux.

James: Bright, yellow Capella marks the other point of the football and when you come back down the sky you'll spy the eye of Taurus the Bull - an orange star called Aldebaran.

Dean: Pass by blue Rigel, Orion's left foot and then come back around to Sirius. You've traced the Winter Football in the sky. Look for it flying in the sky near you this month.

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

One Hour Feed
1107 SD Base P389226-001
Wednesday 14 December 2011 - 1200-1300
Includes episodes 1201, 1202, 1203, 1204, 1205


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 # 12-03 - 16th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 1/16/2012 through Sunday 1/22/2012

"Which Season Is The Longest?"

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.

James: I'll bet that most of you are under the impression that the 4 seasons are equal in length, when in fact none of them are the same number of days and nights long. So which season is the longest and which is the shortest?

Dean: Well I'd bet most school children would say that summer is the shortest because it seems to just fly by. But is that true or is it simply a matter of human perception? Let's find out.

James: O.K. Now everyone knows that our Earth makes one trip around the Sun once a year. In fact, astronomically speaking that's exactly what a year is ... The amount of time it takes for any planet to make one trip around the Sun, and one Earth trip is 365 1/4 Earth days long.

Dean: Now according to Kepler's laws of motion the closer a planet is to the Sun the faster it will travel ... The farther it is from the Sun the slower it will travel. So, because our Earth's orbit is not a perfect circle, but is a slightly stretched out circle called an ellipse and since our Sun is not at the center of this ellipse, our Earth actually varies its distance from the Sun during the year. When it's closest to the Sun it travels fastest and when it's farthest it travels slowest.

James: Now believe it or not our Earth is actually closest to the Sun in January and farthest in July. So our Earth actually travels faster when it's winter in the northern hemisphere and slower during the summer. Let's show you.

Dean: O.K., on the first day of spring our Earth is traveling at a speed of 66,900 miles per hour and is moving farther from the Sun and slowing down and thus takes 93 days to go from the first day of spring to the first day of summer, so spring is 93 days long. Then the Earth continues to slow down until it is at its farthest point from the Sun the first week of July when it reaches its slowest speed of 65,500 miles per hour.

Dean: Thereafter, because it's starting to move back closer to the Sun it slowly starts to speed up. Even so, it takes 94 days for our Earth to travel from the first day of summer to the first day of fall, which makes summer 94 days long. Then as it moves closer and closer to the Sun it picks up more speed day by day so that it takes only 90 days to travel from the first day of fall to the first day of winter. Thus fall is 90 days long.

James: And our Earth continues to speed up until it reaches its closest point to the Sun the first week of January, zipping along at 67,600 miles per hour which is 2,200 miles per hour faster than its speed in July. In fact, it takes only 89 days for our Earth to go from the first day of winter to the first day of spring.

Dean: So even though summer feels like the shortest season to any school kid, winter is actually 5 days shorter and is the shortest season of the year for the northern hemisphere. And summer is the longest.

James: Shifting gears a bit, let's take a look at Venus and Jupiter in the evening sky next week. Venus is the brighter of the two bright lights you'll see in the southwestern sky. Jupiter is the higher of the two. Jupiter and Venus will be getting closer every night and will be at their closest in early March.

Dean: Be sure to get out just after sunset next Wednesday January 25th and enjoy a super skinny, 3 day old Moon down to the right of Venus.

James: If the clouds get in your way Wednesday night and you can't see the Moon and Venus, don't worry because the next night Thursday the 26th you'll have a second chance with a four day old Moon up and to the right of Venus.

Dean: So happy 'shortest season of the year' and don't miss the Moon and Venus next week.

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

#12-03 M

1/16/2012 thru 1/22/2012

"Which Season Is The Longest?"

 

James: Have you ever wondered which season is the longest or shortest? Well, I'll bet most school kids would say summer is the shortest because it just flies by. But is that really true???

Dean: You see, our Earth's orbit is not a perfect circle, but is an ellipse so our Earth actually varies its distance from the Sun during the year. When it's closer to the Sun it travels faster, when it's farther away it travels slower.

James: And believe it or not the Earth is closest to the Sun in winter and travels over 2,200 miles per hour faster than it does in summer. So fast in fact that winter, which is 89 days long, is actually 5 days shorter than summer, which is 94 days long, for the northern hemisphere. So summer is the longest season!

Dean: Next Wednesday the 25th just after sunset look into the southwestern sky and be sure to catch Venus and a super skinny Moon. And then the next night Thursday the 26th they'll do it all again.

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

One Hour Feed
1107 SD Base P389226-001
Wednesday 14 December 2011 - 1200-1300
Includes episodes 1201, 1202, 1203, 1204, 1205


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 # 12-04 / 17th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 1/23/2012 through Sunday 1/29/2012

"The Orion Nebula : A True Winter Wonder"

James: Greetings fellow stargazers! 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.

James: You know what, Dean? One of the best things about winter is that it always brings the return of one of the true wonders of the universe.

Dean: That's right, James! And it's something that's very easy to spot. Let's show you:

Dean: O.K., we've got our skies set up for any night over the next few weeks during early evening hours and if you look over to the southeast you'll see what has to be the second most familiar pattern of stars (after the Big Dipper), a pattern which is loaded with bright stars, Orion the Hunter.

James: Now the best way to find him is to look for his belt which is simply 3 evenly spaced stars in a row. These are the stars, Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka. Above these 3 belt stars you will see 2 brilliant stars marking Orion's shoulders, Betelgeuse and Bellatrix. And below his belt 2 brilliant stars marking his ankle and his knee, Rigel and Saiph.

Dean: And although we usually talk about his brightest stars every January, this year James and I would like to zero in on one of Orion's dimmer stars because as magnificent as Orion's bright stars are, this one, is in reality one of the most awesome wonders of our nearby universe. To find it, simply look below the 3 belt stars for 3 much dimmer stars, the stars we call the Sword of Orion.

James: And now if you look very carefully at these 3 stars you'll notice that no matter how sharp your eyesight, the middle star always seems to look fuzzy and slightly out of focus and that's because this so-called middle star is not a star at all, but something we call a nebula, which is a great cosmic cloud of gas and dust out of which brand new stars have been, and are still being, born.

Dean: That's right, James. In fact, this nebula, the Orion Nebula, is a stellar womb, a birthplace and nursery of stars, a place where new stars are constantly being born. And incredibly you can see this cloud with some of its new-born stars embedded inside it with even the cheapest pair of binoculars.

James: Indeed! This cloud is actually illuminated by 4 recently born stars arranged in the shape of a baseball diamond called The Trapezium. And these 4 stars can actually be seen with a department store telescope. Now although the Orion nebula looks like a tiny, q-tip shaped cloud through a pair of binoculars, in reality, its size is mind-boggling.

Dean: Absolutely! Believe it or not, there is enough material in this nebula to produce over 10 thousand stars the size of our Sun and it is an outrageous 30 light years in diameter, which means it would take 20 thousand of our solar systems lined up end to end to reach from one edge of the nebula to the other.

James: Or to put it another way, if the distance from our Earth to the Sun were 1 inch, the distance across the Orion Nebula would be over 12 miles. Is that mind-boggling or what?

Dean: Most definitely, James. Now let's see what the planets are doing this week, because the planets are positioned in such a way right now, that no matter what time you go outside this week, you're almost guaranteed to see at least two planets in the sky at the same time. Let's show you!

Dean: O.K., we have our skies set up for just after sunset any night next week. In the western sky you'll see Venus. To the upper-left of Venus, you'll see the largest planet in our solar system, Jupiter. Both are visible in the sky for a few hours after sunset. And if you go outside on January 29th, a thin waxing crescent Moon will be joining Venus and Jupiter.

James: But wait, there's more! If you go outside around 9:00 pm, shortly after Venus sets in the west, you'll notice that Jupiter is all alone in the sky. But it won't stay that way for long, because by 10 p.m. you'll see Mars rising on the eastern horizon, to keep it company.

Dean: And if that weren't enough planets to make you happy, go outside after midnight, and you'll spot Jupiter setting in the west. But fear not! Saturn is rising in the east to keep Mars company. Yet again, two planets in the sky at the same time, for your observing pleasure.

James: Well my friends, get outside to see the Great Nebula of Orion, a plethora of planetary pairings...

Dean: ...and experience for yourself the awe and wonder of our part of the universe. Which is easy to do if you just..

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

#12-04 M

1/23/2012 thru 1/29/2012

"The Orion Nebula : A True Winter Wonder"


Dean: One of the best things about winter is the return of one of the true wonders of the universe, The Orion Nebula.

James: That's right, Dean! And it's very easy to spot even with the most inexpensive telescope. Let's show you!

James: O.K., we've got our skies set up for early evening, any night this week. If you look over to the southeast you will see a constellation, which is loaded with bright stars, Orion the Hunter.

Dean: The best way to find him is to look for his belt, 3 stars in a row. Now, let's zero in on the area just below Orion's belt for 3 much dimmer stars, this is the Sword of Orion, which contains the Orion Nebula, a great cosmic cloud where new stars are being born.

James: That's right, Dean. In fact, this nebula contains enough material to produce over 10 thousand stars the size of our Sun and it is 30 light years in diameter, which means it would take 20 thousand of our solar systems lined up end to end to reach from one edge of the nebula to the other.

Dean: So get outside to see the Orion Nebula. And...

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

One Hour Feed
1107 SD Base P389226-001
Wednesday 14 December 2011 - 1200-1300
Includes episodes 1201, 1202, 1203, 1204, 1205


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 # 12-05 / 18th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 1/30/2012 through Sunday 2/05/2012

"Let Orion And Venus Be Your Guide"


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: Almost everyone's favorite constellation of winter has to be Orion the hunter simply because it's so huge, so bright and so easy to identify. But did you know that you can use the stars of Orion to find Taurus, the giant bull of the heavens plus Orion's two hunting dogs and a crouching rabbit named Lepus?

Dean: Plus we have two dazzlingly bright planets in the western sky after sunset and a rare chance to use Venus to help you spot the giant planet Uranus. Let's show you.

Dean: O.K., we've got our skies set up for any night over the next few weeks between 8 and 10 p.m. Looking due south where you'll see three bright stars evenly spaced and lined up in a row. They make up the fabled belt of Orion the hunter. And directly above them you will see two other bright stars, which mark Orion's shoulders and below the belt two more bright stars which mark his knees.

James: Now if we shoot an arrow in either direction through Orion's belt we can find several wonderful cosmic objects. For instance if we shoot an arrow up to Orion's right our arrow will land almost smack dab on a reddish orange star named Aldebaran, which is the fierce red eye of Taurus the bull. But if you have really dark skies and extend that arrow a little bit further you will see a tiny dim cluster of stars riding on Taurus' shoulder, the cluster of stars called The Seven Sisters, The Pleiades.

Dean: One legend has it that they're riding on the shoulder of Taurus to escape Orion who is in hot pursuit of them across the heavens. But Taurus is making sure that Orion will never get past his fierce burning eye to the fair maidens and has been doing so for thousands of years. So we can use Orion's belt to find not only Aldebaran but also the lovely and delicate and much dimmer Seven Sisters.

James: Next shoot an arrow through Orion's belt in the opposite direction and it will land smack dab on the brightest star we can see in the night sky, Sirius. It marks the eye of one of Orion's two dogs, Canis Major which in Latin means the big dog. And if you use your imagination and draw lines between some of these stars you can come up with a pretty good stick figure of a pooch.

Dean: But Orion also has a smaller canine companion named Canis Minor and to find it, well, is a bit trickier. Take Bellatrix, one of the shoulder stars of Orion, and draw a line between it and the other shoulder star, Betelgeuse, then extend that line to the east and while it won't run smack dab into Canis Minor it will come very close to the bright star Procyon which marks his eye. It too is very bright although not as bright as Sirius.

James: So we have now used the belt of Orion to find Orion's big dog and his two shoulder stars to find Orion's little dog. But one of our favorite constellations near Orion is a rabbit, which Orion's two dogs have probably been hunting for the past few thousand years. His name is Lepus the hare. And he's directly underneath Orion's feet perhaps hiding in a cosmic bush Orion is standing in: smart Lepus, not so smart Orion.

Dean: And what about those planets we mentioned earlier? Well you can hardly miss Venus and Jupiter in the western sky. Venus is the lower and brighter of the two planets and is our evening star. You can see Venus even before sunset and if you know where to look you can even see it in broad daylight with your naked eye. Venus and Jupiter are still getting closer each night and early in march they'll be super close.

James: Let's take a look on each Monday in February, the 6th, the 13th, the 20th, and the 27th. Keep watching each night until March 13 when they'll be they're closest, three degrees or about 6 full Moons apart.

Dean: But next week on Feb. 9th Venus will be even closer to another planet that is usually a lot harder to spot than Jupiter. On the evening of Feb. 9 Venus will be less than a half degree away from Uranus. You couldn't even fit one full Moon between them, they'll be so close. You'll have to use binoculars to see this.

James: So there you have it, Orion and Taurus and Orion's two dogs hunting a bunny, plus Venus, Jupiter. And, for one night only, on Feb. 9th be sure to catch Venus and Uranus .

Both: Keep looking up!

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"Star Gazers" Minute

#12-05 M

1/30/2012 thru 2/05/2012

"Let Orion And Venus Be Your Guide"

Dean: You can use Orion's stars to find several cosmic creatures.

James: Plus you have a rare chance to use Venus to find the gas giant planet Uranus.

Dean: In early evening this February look due south for Orion. Shoot an arrow up through his belt and it will land on Aldebaran the fierce red eye of Taurus the Bull. Extend that arrow and it will land on the tiny dim star cluster The Seven Sisters, The Pleiades.

James: Shoot an arrow the other direction through Orion's Belt and it will land on Sirius which marks the eye of Orion's big dog. Then shoot an arrow through Orion's shoulder stars and it will almost land on Procyon, the eye of Orion's little dog.

Dean: And underneath Orion, escaping his detection, is a bunny rabbit named Lepus the hare.

James: Then look into the west after sunset for the brilliant planet Venus. Use your binoculars and you will easily find the 7th planet Uranus just to the left of Venus.

Both: Keep looking up!

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* 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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