STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION



STAR GAZER 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 GAZER off satellite for personal use, classroom use, astronomy club use, etc. without written permission.

Satellite feed info:

GE 3 - PBS Transponder 512 - Digital Only!

One Hour Feed STAH 1011
Wednesday April 13, 2011, 1230-1330/SD06
Includes episodes 1118, 1119, 1120, 1121, 1122


Star Gazer is also available from NASA CORE. A videotape of the current month is available from NASA CORE (Contact us for current price)

NASA Central Operation of Resources for Educators (CORE)
Lorain County JVS-CORE
15181 Route 58 South
Oberlin, OH 44074

Phone: (440) 775-1400
Fax: (440) 775-1460
E-mail: NASA_order@lcjvs.net
http://www.nasa.gov/education/core

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

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

 

 
 

STAR GAZER 5 MINUTE

Episode # 11-18 / 1743rd Show
To Be Aired : Monday 5/2/2011 through
Sunday 5/8/2011

"A Lion At Night And Plenty Of Planets In The Dawn's Early Light"


Dean; Hey there star gazers. I'm Dean Regas, outreach astronomer from the Cincinnati Observatory and I'll be your guide to the sky this month on Star Gazer. Now that the weather is warm enough for you to spend a little time outside in early evening without your long johns I'd like to suggest that sometime during this lovely month of May you go out and get a look at the most famous constellation of spring which for thousands of years has been associated with royalty and regal majesty, Leo the Lion. Plus the two brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter will meet in the pre-dawn sky next week and they'll be joined by two more. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for any clear night an hour or two after sunset during may facing south where approximately 2/3 of the way up from the horizon you will see the stars which make up the very ancient star pattern we call Leo. He is frequently shown as a reclining sphinx with his two paws out in front of him and I'm sure that many an ancient Egyptian drew a correlation between this heavenly sphinx and their earthly monumental statue. A very bright backward question mark or sickle shaped group of stars marks his head and mane plus a bright triangle of stars marks his rear. Leo's brightest star Regulus, which means the little king, marks the place where his heart should be. in fact Regulus' second, though lesser known, name in Latin is Cor Leonis, which means the heart of the lion. The Roman Pliny referred to it as the royal one and in ancient Greece it was called the king's star.

But what our ancestors couldn't know about this royal heart of the king of the beasts and what modern astronomy tells us is that it is a fast spinning, which means bulging, star almost 4 1/2 times as wide as our million mile wide Sun. But Regulus is much hotter than our yellow Sun and it shines blue white hot and is 150 times brighter! And while it takes only 8 1/3 minutes for the light from our Sun to reach Earth, Regulus is so far away that it takes its light 79 years to reach us. How's that for royal grandeur? The second brightest star of Leo is in the triangle that makes up his rear end. It marks Leo's tail and is appropriately named Denebola, which means the lion's tail. It too is a great star although not as great as Regulus being only 1 1/2 times the size of our Sun and 12 times brighter. But it is only half as far as Regulus and Denebola's light takes only 36 years to reach us.

And about two fists down and to the left of Denebola is a strange looking double star. It's not really a double star but it's the planet Saturn close by a star named Porrima. Saturn is about two Moon widths away from Porrima now and by early June will be half that distance from it. so keep an eye on Saturn and Porrima over the next few weeks. I'll be telling you more about them in upcoming shows.

Meanwhile for you early birds, there will be four planets that you might see in the early morning sky before dawn, if you have a clear flat horizon and the clouds cooperate. This will be a toughie and if you miss it you'll have to wait until Sept. 2040 to have a chance like this again so let me show you. Sunday morning May 8 about 45 minutes before sunrise look east just above the horizon. The brightest planet Venus will be about three degrees to the right of the biggest planet Jupiter. Mercury will be just below Venus and dimmer Mars will be off to the left of Jupiter. Look every morning next week and they will move closer with Jupiter and Venus at their closest on Wednesday the 11th.

Once again Sunday the 8th, Monday the 9th, Tuesday the 10th and Wednesday the 11th, then they will separate and Venus and Jupiter won't be nearly this close again until May of 2013. Mercury and Mars will be especially tough to see, binoculars might help, give it a try. The regal lion Leo in the evening and a planet party in the morning sky next week. Keep looking up!

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

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

Check Out WPBT's Version

 
 
 
 

Star Gazer Minute

#11-18 M

5/02/2011 thru 5/08/2011

"A Lion At Night And Plenty Of Planets In The Dawn's Early Light"

Dean: Have you ever seen the royal sphinx of the heavens? Plus four , count'em, four planets in the pre-dawn sky next week. Look south after sunset and you'll see Leo the Lion. A backward question mark of stars marks his front and a triangle of stars, his rear. His brightest star Regulus is Latin for little king but little it's not. It is almost 4 1/2 times the size of our Sun and 150 times brighter and it takes 77 years for its light to reach us. Its second brightest star Denebola marks his tail. It is 1 1/2 times our Sun's size, 14 times brighter and it takes its light 36 years to reach us. There are four planets close together in the morning sky next week, Jupiter, Venus, Mars and Mercury. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Keep looking up!

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

 

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here


Don't miss the cartoon version of
'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of


* 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 Deluxe was used to produce this episode of Star Gazer






STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION

STAR GAZER 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 GAZER off satellite for personal use, classroom use, astronomy club use, etc. without written permission.

Satellite feed info:

GE 3 - PBS Transponder 512 - Digital Only!

One Hour Feed STAH 1011
Wednesday April 13, 2011, 1230-1330/SD06
Includes episodes 1118, 1119, 1120, 1121, 1122


Star Gazer is also available from NASA CORE. A videotape of the current month is available from NASA CORE (Contact us for current price)

NASA Central Operation of Resources for Educators (CORE)
Lorain County JVS-CORE
15181 Route 58 South
Oberlin, OH 44074

Phone: (440) 775-1400
Fax: (440) 775-1460
E-mail: NASA_order@lcjvs.net
http://www.nasa.gov/education/core

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


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

 

 
 

STAR GAZER

Episode #11-19 /1744th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 5/9/2011 through Sunday 5/15/2011

"Take The Seven Day Star Gazer Astronomy Challenge"

Dean; Hey there star gazers, I'm Dean Regas, outreach astronomer for the Cincinnati Observatory and I'll be your guide to the sky this month on Star Gazer. I know that observing the night sky can be kinda intimidating at first. With so many stars and so many planets. Where do you begin? This week I want you to get to know three stars, the Moon and the planet of spring. I call it the Star Gazer 7-day challenge. I guarantee that if you watch the sky every night for seven days, you'll not only get to know the major stars but some minor workings of the heavens as well. And once you get a foothold in the stars, the sky's the limit! Let's get started.

Okay, we have our skies set for Friday night May 13 looking high in the south- east. Let's start with the Moon, which is in its waxing gibbous phase. This means that the Moon is almost full. From night to night the Moon will shift ever eastward across the stars. What I mean is that on Friday night the Moon will be just to the right of Saturn, but by Saturday night, at the same time, it will have moved closer to the bright blue star Spica, each night the Moon shifts closer to the eastern horizon. Here it is on the 15th, 16th, and 17th.

In fact the Moon rises about 50 minutes later each night. In other words when you find the Moon tonight, it will take about 24 hours and 50 minutes to return to a similar place in the sky. The stars and planets won't move that fast. And one of the stars of spring is bright, orange Arcturus. Arcturus is the brightest star in the constellation called Bootes. Take special care when pronouncing Bootes, because he is not amused if you mispronounce his name.

Although Bootes looks more like a really wide necktie, the ancients pictured a guy chasing after a big bear. Well, where's the big bear? You might better recognize it as the Big Dipper which stands almost straight overhead. The Big Dipper is the rear end and tail of the Big Bear, Ursa Major. In fact the Big Dipper makes a perfect pointer to locate Arcturus in the sky. Just use the stars of the Big Dipper's handle to guide you. Follow the arc of the handle to Arcturus. Pretty catchy, huh?

We're not done yet. After you follow the 'arc to Arcturus' continue and straighten the line out from Arcturus and you'll come to a bright blue star called Spica. Spica is the brightest star in the constellation Virgo the maiden. Even though Virgo is one of the largest constellations in the sky, her starry outline is tough to imagine. But Spica makes up for Virgo's obscurity as it twinkles radiantly in the southeast. So to find Spica, start with the Big Dipper again. Follow the arc to Arcturus and then hit a spike to Spica. Okay, that's not quite as catchy, but maybe it'll help anyway.

Finally let's get back to the planet I mentioned earlier: beautiful, ringed Saturn. Saturn shines with a steady yellow light in the May evenings about 13 degrees higher in the sky than Spica. Saturn and Spica are almost identical in brightness, with Saturn just barely edging out the big blue star. Saturn has to be the most amazing planetary system we know of. With a dynamic surface full of swirling storms and auroras, 61 known moons, and oh, those rings these pictures were taken by the Cassini spacecraft in orbit around Saturn. But you have got to see Saturn for yourself in a telescope. It will definitely make you say "wow!"

Keep an eye on Saturn this month because it will wander near another star in the constellation Virgo - a dimmer star named Porrima. The retrograde motion of Saturn will move it to within half of a degree of Porrima in June. You'll be able to see Saturn, some of its brighter moons like Titan and Rhea along with Porrima in the same view of a small telescope. You gotta check it out!

So follow the arc to Arcturus and hit a spike to Spica tonight and you'll see two super spring stars. During the week, watch the Moon move steadily across the sky from day to day and find sensational Saturn near the dimmer star in Virgo, Porrima. Remember to take my seven day Star Gazer challenge and I guarantee you'll Keep looking up!


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

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here


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

Check Out WPBT's Version

 
 
 
 

Star Gazer Minute

#11-19 M

5/9/2011 thru 5/15/2011

"Take The Seven Day Star Gazer Astronomy Challenge"

Dean: This week I'm issuing you a challenge. Watch the skies every night for the next seven nights and I guarantee you'll not only get to know two major stars and one planet but you'll get hooked on watching the heavens. Let's start with the Moon. Each night this week, the Moon will move across the much farther background stars. By the weekend it'll be below a long skinny triangle of stars high in the east. The bright orange star to the far right is called Arcturus. The dimmest and lowest of the three is a blue star called Spica. And the third "star" is actually a planet! Let's zoom in with a small telescope to reveal the magnificent rings of Saturn. And for an even better view check out some pictures taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft in orbit around Saturn. Simply amazing! I'm Dean Regas from the Cincinnati Observatory and I hope you take my astronomy challenge and remember to keep looking up!


Please give us your comments. (Click Here)


For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here


Don't miss the cartoon version of
'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of




 
* 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 Deluxe was used to produce this episode of Star Gazer




 


STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION


STAR GAZER 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 GAZER off satellite for personal use, classroom use, astronomy club use, etc. without written permission.

Satellite feed info:

GE 3 - PBS Transponder 512 - Digital Only!

One Hour Feed STAH 1011
Wednesday April 13, 2011, 1230-1330/SD06
Includes episodes 1118, 1119, 1120, 1121, 1122


Star Gazer is also available from NASA CORE. A videotape of the current month is available from NASA CORE (Contact us for current price)

NASA Central Operation of Resources for Educators (CORE)
Lorain County JVS-CORE
15181 Route 58 South
Oberlin, OH 44074

Phone: (440) 775-1400
Fax: (440) 775-1460
E-mail: NASA_order@lcjvs.net
http://www.nasa.gov/education/core

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


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

 

 
 

STAR GAZER

Episode # 11-20 / 1745th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 5/16/2011 through Sunday 5/22/2011

"Half A Dozen Planets And A Load Of Moons"


Dean: Hey there Star Gazers, I'm Dean Regas, outreach astronomer for the Cincinnati Observatory and I'll be your guide to the sky this month on Star Gazer. You have a great opportunity to use the Moon to help you find half a dozen planets next week and a rare chance to see the four Galilean moons lined up in their right sequence. Let's get this sky show going.

O.K., next Monday May 23rd about 45 minutes before sunrise drag your star gazing bones out of the sack and look east around 4:30 or so. The reason I'm asking you get up at that ungodly hour is that the Moon will be perfectly placed to help you find the most distant planet Neptune. You'll need binoculars and a dark sky to spot bluish Neptune, about 15 degrees down and to the left of the 21 day old Moon. The next day Tuesday May 24th will be even better as the last quarter Moon will be much closer, only 5 degrees above the 8th planet Neptune. Remember you'll need binoculars to find Neptune.Now don't sleep in on Monday and put all your Neptune eggs in Tuesday's basket because the clouds may be different from one day to the next.

Let's talk about the sizes and distances involved here. The 2,000 mile wide Moon will be 248,000 miles away and its light will take 1 1/3 seconds to get here. Neptune is another thing all together. It is so far away that its light will take over 4 hours to get here! Neptune is a gas giant planet 4 times the diameter of our Earth, almost 31,000 miles wide.

The next day Wednesday the 25th the Moon will be a bit skinnier and heading away from Neptune. The next day Thursday the 26th an even skinnier Moon will be approaching another gas giant planet Uranus. The best day will be Friday May 27th when the Moon will be only 5 1/2 degrees up and to the left of Uranus. Uranus is not as far from the Sun as Neptune so its light will take less than three hours to get here compared to Neptune's 4 hours. Uranus, like Neptune, is a gas giant planet completely different from our rocky planet Earth and 1,000 miles wider than Neptune.

The Moon will be getting really skinny the next day Saturday the 28th as it heads toward a really bright spot of light in your morning sky the king of the planets Jupiter. Sunday morning the 29th a very skinny Moon will be 5 degrees up and to the left of Jupiter.

Now you can see the Moon and Jupiter plainly with your naked eye. And take a good look at the Moon and you may see a grey ghostly image of the Moon's disk to the right of the thin crescent. If you get out around 4:30 you'll have a better chance of seeing it before the Sun washes it away as dawn approaches. This grey light is what's known as earthshine. This pale ghostly image of the Moon is lit up by sunlight that has traveled from the Sun to the day time side of the Earth then reflected off the Earth up to the dark side of the Moon and then back down to Earth for you to see, quite a trip for a little sunbeam.

Usually Star Gazer is about naked eye star gazing but with Neptune and Uranus binoculars will be necessary. And binoculars or a small telescope will be essential for the next thing we're going to tell you about. Jupiter has over 50 Moons but it's the four biggest ones discovered by Galileo that we're talking about now. Their names from left to right are Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. An easy way to remember their names is to say to yourself, "I Eat Geen Caterpillars". Yucckkkk!

Well on Sunday morning May 29th these four Galilean moons will be lined up on the right side of Jupiter in order of their distance from Jupiter. Io, first then Europa, then Ganymede, then Callisto. Be sure to see this, it doesn't happen every day. There are three more planets down to the left of Jupiter, which you might see but it will be iffy. On Monday May 30th a super skinny Moon will be above Venus. Mars will be up to Venus' right and Mercury will be even lower and left of Venus. You'll have to have a lot of luck and a really clear horizon to see this though, but what the heck, give it a try. You'll never know unless you keep looking up!


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

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here


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

Check Out WPBT's Version

 
 
 
 

Star Gazer Minute

#11-20 M

5/16/2011 thru 5/22/2011

"Half A Dozen Planets And A Load Of Moons"


Dean: Next week the Moon can help you find six, count'em six, planets next week and you get a rare chance to see the four Galilean moons lined up in their right sequence. Let me show you. O.K., next Tuesday May 24th before dawn you'll need binoculars and a dark sky to spot bluish Neptune about 5 degrees below the last quarter Moon. Then Friday May 27th the Moon will be only 5 1/2 degrees up and to the left of Uranus. Sunday morning the 29th a very skinny Moon will be up and to the left of Jupiter. Use your binoculars to see the four Galilean moons lined up beside Jupiter in their correct order: Io, first, then Europa, then Ganymede, then Callisto. There will be three more planets, Venus, Mars and Mercury down to the left of Jupiter, which you might see but it will be iffy. Remember to keep looking up!


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

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here


Don't miss the cartoon version of
'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of




 
* 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 Deluxe was used to produce this episode of Star Gazer




STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION


STAR GAZER 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 GAZER off satellite for personal use, classroom use, astronomy club use, etc. without written permission.

Satellite feed info:

GE 3 - PBS Transponder 512 - Digital Only!

One Hour Feed STAH 1011
Wednesday April 13, 2011, 1230-1330/SD06
Includes episodes 1118, 1119, 1120, 1121, 1122


Star Gazer is also available from NASA CORE. A videotape of the current month is available from NASA CORE (Contact us for current price)

NASA Central Operation of Resources for Educators (CORE)
Lorain County JVS-CORE
15181 Route 58 South
Oberlin, OH 44074

Phone: (440) 775-1400
Fax: (440) 775-1460
E-mail: NASA_order@lcjvs.net
http://www.nasa.gov/education/core

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



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

 

 
 

STAR GAZER

Episode # 11-21 / 1746th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 5/23/2011 through Sunday 5/29/2011

"The Horse On The Handle Of The Big Dipper"


Dean: Hey star gazers. Have you ever heard the story about the horse on the handle of the Big Dipper? Well it's a good one.

O.K., we're facing due north any spring evening before midnight. And depending on the exact hour, and whether it's March, April, May or early June, the Big Dipper will be high up off the horizon either to the east of the North Star or west of the North Star or directly above it. Four stars trace out its cup and three stars make up its handle. But we're going to pay attention to what looks like to most people the one star at the bend of the handle, a star named Mizar.

Now although you have undoubtedly seen this star many times, have you ever looked at it really close? Because if you do look at it really close you will see that it is not just one star but two. Indeed right next to Mizar you can see a slightly dimmer star, a star named Alcor, which in Arabic means "the lost or friendless one". Now centuries ago it was said that these two stars, bright Mizar and dimmer Alcor were used as a kind of ancient eye exam for a famous sultan's army. If a recruit could see both stars he was in, but if he couldn't he was out. I kind of question the validity of that story, however because most people can see both stars. Although admittedly I have to use my glasses, so maybe the test was for older recruits.

At any rate, long ago these two stars became popularly known as "The Horse and the Rider", bright Mizar being the horse and dimmer Alcor being the friendless rider. And you can see them for yourself any night you can see the Big Dipper. And there our ancient eye test ends. But it doesn't end for modern eyes of a different kind, the eyes of telescopes and spectroscopes, because if we look at Alcor the rider with a spectroscope we would see that this so-called friendless one is not so friendless after all. In fact Alcor has a companion rider, another star invisible to the naked eye thus making Alcor two riders on Mizar the horse. But that's not exactly true either because if we look really close at Mizar we discover that Mizar is also not just one star, not even two stars or three stars or four stars but is in fact a rare quintuple star. Wow!

In other words when we look at this ancient Arab representation of a solitary horse with a solitary rider we are in reality looking at two horsemen driving a team of five horses across the night sky on the bend of the handle of the Big Dipper. Seven stars all told! Two double stars and one triple. Six of which are twice as big as our own million mile wide Sun and at least 50% brighter.

Incredible isn't it? What modern astronomy reveals about objects that generations of mankind have seen for thousands of years. So get outside some spring night, and gallop across the heavens with the horse and his rider, Mizar and Alcor, two visible stars which are in reality seven! Keep looking up!

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

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here


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

Check Out WPBT's Version

 
 
 
 

Star Gazer Minute

#11-21 M

5/23/2011 thru 5/29/2011

"The Horse On The Handle Of The Big Dipper"


Dean: Ancient Arabs used the Big Dipper for an eye test and you can too. Face north inn early evening and if you look closely at Mizar, the star at the brnd of the handle of the Big Dipper you'll see a dimmer star named Alcor right next to it. These two stars are known as "The Horse and The Rider". And the ability to see both got you into the sultan's army. But if you look closely through a telescope we see Alcor is actually two stars and Mizar is actually five stars. So inreality we have two horsemen driving a team of five horses across the night sky, seven stars where we see only two. Two double stars and one triple, six of which are twice as big as our Sun and 50% brighter. Keep looking Up!


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

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here


Don't miss the cartoon version of
'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of




 
* 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 Deluxe was used to produce this episode of Star Gazer



STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION


STAR GAZER 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 GAZER off satellite for personal use, classroom use, astronomy club use, etc. without written permission.

Satellite feed info:

GE 3 - PBS Transponder 512 - Digital Only!

One Hour Feed STAH 1011
Wednesday April 13, 2011, 1230-1330/SD06
Includes episodes 1118, 1119, 1120, 1121, 1122


Star Gazer is also available from NASA CORE. A videotape of the current month is available from NASA CORE (Contact us for current price)

NASA Central Operation of Resources for Educators (CORE)
Lorain County JVS-CORE
15181 Route 58 South
Oberlin, OH 44074

Phone: (440) 775-1400
Fax: (440) 775-1460
E-mail: NASA_order@lcjvs.net
http://www.nasa.gov/education/core

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



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

 

 
 

STAR GAZER

Episode # 11-22 / 1747th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 5/30/2011 through Sunday 6/05/2011

"Let The Moon Lead The Way"


Dean: Hey there star gazers. I'm Dean Regas outreach astronomer at the Cincinnati Observatory and I'll be your guide to the sky this month on Star Gazer. How about using the Moon next week to lead you past Leo the Lion to a weird double light in the sky that's not always there? Let me show you.

O.K., our skies are set up for Monday June 6th about an hour after sunset facing southwest. Look a third of the way up the sky and you should have no trouble spotting a five-day-old crescent Moon. You might be asking, " What does he mean, a 5 day old Moon? I thought the Moon was billions of years old." Well, you're right about that billions of years bit. I was talking about how the Moon's appearance changes as it goes through its cycle of phases from new Moon, which means no Moon, then a couple days of crescent Moons to first quarter Moon, then a couple more days of gibbous Moons to full Moon, then gibbous Moons again to last quarter Moon and then crescent Moons again until we reach new Moon once more. This cycle averages about 29 1/2 days from new Moon to new Moon. So when astronomers talk about a 5 day old Moon they mean it has been 5 days since the Moon was new. A 7-day-old Moon would be near first quarter, a 14 day old Moon is near full Moon. The days and the phases don't line up exactly. So what would a 21-day-old Moon look like?

Anyway, let's get back to the sky. The 5-day-old crescent Moon will be there to greet you in the evening sky on Monday and will be down and to the right of the bright blue star Regulus. Regulus is the brightest star in one of the brighter constellations of spring, the famous Leo the Lion. Regulus marks the heart of the lion and a backwards question mark of stars draws out the head and mane. A triangle of stars up to the left marks the lion's hind quarters. On Tuesday the 7th at the same time the Moon will be to the left of Regulus and will be a bit wider. Wednesday the 8th the Moon will be at first quarter and even farther to the left.

The next night Thursday the 9th the Moon will be closing in on a tight little pair of lights in the sky. The brighter one is the ringed planet Saturn and its companion is a star named Porrima in Virgo the virgin. Porrima is named for a pair of female deities in the Roman pantheon. This is kind of neat because Porrima is a binary star, a pair of stars that orbit each other very closely. The stars are very close to each other now and it takes a good-sized telescope to see them as separate stars. So right now we have the unique situation of a double star Porrima looking like it's a double star to the naked eye because the planet Saturn just happens to be close by.

Saturn has actually been going backwards across the sky since the beginning of this year to get close to Porrima. At the beginning of the year Saturn was almost 7 degrees away from Porrima and will be at its closest, less than 1/2 degree away from Porrima, in the middle of June. Saturn will then turn around and move away from Porrima and by the time we lose Saturn below the horizon in September it will once again be almost 7 degrees away from. So the double star-like light you'll see next week won't be there long so be sure to catch it while Saturn is right next door to Porrima.

Then the next night Friday June 10th the Moon will be closing in on Spica the brightest star in Virgo. And on Saturday June 11th will be just past Spica. One more time, Monday June 6th the Moon will be down and to the right of Regulus, Tuesday June 7th, a slightly wider Moon will be left of Regulus. The next night, Wednesday the 8th, the first quarter Moon is farther left of Regulus. Thursday the 9th a waxing gibbous Moon will be closer to Saturn and then on the 10th will be past them and be just to the right of Spica. Saturday the 11th a brighter and wider Moon will be to the left of Spica.

So that's what you have to look forward to next week, a growing Moon showing you Regulus and the lion and then leading you closer to a pair of lights that are a planet and a star. This is Dean Regas and I hope you keep looking up!

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Star Gazer Minute

#11-22 M

5/30/2011 thru 6/05/2011

"Let The Moon Lead The Way"


Dean: Hey there star gazers. How about using the Moon next week to lead you past Leo the Lion to a weird double light in the sky that's not always there? Let me show you. O.K., our skies are set up for Monday June 6th an hour after sunset facing southwest. A third of the way up the sky you should have no trouble spotting the Moon. It will be down and to the right of the bright blue star Regulus which marks the heart of the lion and a backwards question mark of stars draws out the head and mane. A triangle of stars up to the left marks the lion's hind quarters. Thursday the 9th the Moon will be closing in on a tight little pair of lights in the sky. The brighter one is the ringed planet Saturn and its companion is a star named Porrima. The Moon will show you Regulus and the lion and then lead you to a pair of lights that are a planet and a star. Keep looking up!

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