"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
1105 SD Base P389224-001
Wednesday 19 October 2011 - 1230-1300
Includes episodes 1145, 1146, 1147, 1148



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 # 11-45 - 6th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 11/7/2011 through
Sunday 11/13/2011

"Pairs Of Planets At Dusk And Dawn"


James: Hey there 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: And we're here to help you know what you're looking at when you go outside at night and

Both : Look up!

James: Let's get started!

Dean: It's getting darker earlier for two big reasons. The days are actually getting shorter. The Sun appears to be moving more and more southward every day as we're leaving summer behind and heading into winter and...

James: We've just switched our clocks back to Standard Time after eight months of D S T

Dean: You mean Daylight Saving Time?

James: Well it should be more properly called Daylight Shifting Time because all we're really doing is moving the daylight around. We're not really making any more daylight or saving any of it.

Dean: But the effect is that it's getting darker earlier in the evening. Let's look Monday night the 14th after sunset and the first light you'll see in the western sky will be the super bright planet Venus. Mercury will be just 2 degrees below it. You'll need very clear, cloud free skies to catch Mercury but give it a try.

James: then let's start advancing a day at a time and watch Venus rise a bit higher each night. Mercury will drop lower below Venus each night and quickly disappear. Venus on the other hand will stay in the western sky after sunset for the next six to seven months. And if you keep watching over the next two weeks on Saturday November 26, you'll see a gorgeous slender sliver of a two day old crescent Moon about four degrees to the right of Venus.

Dean: Hey, our luck this year with meteor showers is continuing...

James: You mean our bad luck...

Dean: well yes, the Leonid meteor shower will peak next week on the night of the 17th but we have one little 2,000 mile wide problem. The waning gibbous Moon will be right in the middle of where the meteors will appear to come from...

James: Which means we probably won't get to see much, right?

Dean: Afraid so, but there's always a chance. Get out the nights of Thursday the 17th and Friday the 18th around midnight. Lie down on your back, look up and you might catch a few of these speedy meteors. And be sure to look into the eastern sky in the evening next week for the biggest of all the planets Jupiter. Jupiter will be in the sky every evening for the rest of the year. So that's two bright planets in the evening sky : Venus in the west and Jupiter in the east.

James: Now you early morning star gazers haven't been forgotten. In fact we have two pairs of lights in the pre-dawn sky for you. Go out before dawn next Monday, look into the southeast and about two thirds of the way up the sky you'll spot a bright pair of celestial lights, a reddish gold planet and a bright blue white star.

Dean: Now the one to the left is the planet Mars. And Mars is passing fairly close to the bright star Regulus, the heart of Leo the lion. Mars is giving you a good demonstration of why it's called a planet. The word planet comes from Greek and means wandering star. And if you watch Mars and Regulus over the next few weeks you'll quickly notice that Mars is moving away from Regulus every day and by Christmas Mars will have wandered way over here in the sky.

James: Then look lower, a lot closer to the southeastern horizon for another pair of lights. And again the one to the left is a planet and the other one to the right is a star. This time the planet is the ringed beauty Saturn while the star is the brightest star in Virgo, beautiful blue white Spica. And if you have a telescope now is the time to dust it off and take it out to look at Saturn.

Dean: Saturn's rings are opening and are more open now than they were last year at this time. So they're getting brighter and wider. Saturn moves much slower than Mars so just as we asked you to watch Mars move in relation to Regulus, do the same with Saturn and Spica and you'll see that Saturn moves much slower and doesn't cover nearly as much sky in the same time as Mars.
James: so Venus and Jupiter grace your evening skies while Mars and Saturn take the morning shift, 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

#11-45 M

11/07/2011 thru 11/13/2011

"Pairs Of Planets At Dusk And Dawn"

Dean: Hey there star gazers. It's getting darker earlier as we leave summer behind

Dean So let's look at the western sky next week right after sunset and the first light you'll see will be the super bright planet Venus.

James: Then look into the eastern sky in the evening next week for the biggest of all the planets Jupiter. Venus and Jupiter will both be in the evening sky for the rest of the year.

Dean: Then go out before dawn next week, look into the southeast and you'll spot two pairs of celestial lights, each pair a planet and a bright star.

James: The upper pair are Mars and Regulus in Leo the Lion.

Dean: While the lower pair are Saturn and Spica in Virgo the Virgin.

James: So Venus and Jupiter grace your evening skies

Dean: While Mars and Saturn take the morning shift, as you...

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
1105 SD Base P389224-001
Wednesday 19 October 2011 - 1230-1300
Includes episodes 1145, 1146, 1147, 1148


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 #11-46 - 7th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 11/14/2011 through Sunday 11/20/2011

Dean: Hey there stargazers. I'm Dean Regas, Outreach Astronomer from the Cincinnati Observatory

James: And I'm James Albury, Director of the Kika Silva Pla Planetarium in Gainesville Florida. Dean, you're not going to like it but this week's show is for the morning people.

Dean: I know James. I'm more of a night owl than an early bird, and staying up 'til midnight to stargaze is no problem at all. But do we have to get up before dawn?

James: We do if we want to catch the waning crescent Moon just below Mars on Saturday and if we want to see the Moon line up with Saturn and the star Spica next Tuesday.

Dean: All-right! That does sound pretty cool. I'll go set my alarm while you get us started

James: Okay, we have our skies set to Saturday November 19th at 6 am looking southeast. Dawn might be dancing on your horizon but you'll easily spy the Moon high up in the southeast. The Moon is in its waning crescent phase next week - meaning the lit part of the Moon will be getting smaller and smaller every day until it reaches new Moon at around midnight on November 25th.

Dean: On the morning of November 19th, you'll see two stars of similar brightness just above the Moon. The star up and to the right is called Regulus, which marks the heart of the constellation Leo the lion.

James: The other isn't really a star at all.

Dean: That's right. It's a planet, and if you look closely, its subtle orange color might give it away as the planet Mars.

James: Right now Mars is still relatively far away from us.

Dean: It's over 132 million miles away!

James: But if you keep an eye on Mars you'll notice it slowly get brighter as the weeks go on - as we get closer to it. In fact, you'll be seeing Mars in the morning sky until it reaches its closest point to the Earth on March 5, 2012.

Dean: When it'll be only 62 million miles away!

James: That sounds like a lot, but that's nothing compared to the distance to the stars.

Dean: Regulus for example is a whopping 446 trillion miles away! But let's talk like astronomers and use light years. And Regulus is about 77 light years from earth, meaning the light you see today left Regulus 77 years ago and is only now getting to our eyes.

James: Let's compare that to Mars. How long does the light take to go from Mars to Earth?

Dean: Let me think at 132 million miles away it takes the light only 11 minutes and 45 seconds to get here.

James: So it's only 11 and three-quarter light minutes away!

James: Let's follow the Moon day by day. At 6 am on Sunday the 20th, the Moon will have shifted farther to the east and away from Mars and Regulus. Here's the Moon on the 21st and the 22nd.

Dean: On the morning of the 22nd, the Moon will almost line up with two other stars. The one closest to the Moon is the blue star Spica in the constellation Virgo the maiden.

James: And the other one isn't a star at all.

Dean: Right again. That's the ringed planet Saturn, who has switched from dazzling star gazers in the evening to putting on a planetary show in the morning sky.

James: Saturn's much farther away than Mars. Right now it's 970 million miles away.

Dean: How many light minutes is that?

James: Uh, about 86 and a half light minutes away.

Dean: Fast math James. And that's nothing compared to the distance to Spica. Spica is about 260 light years away. Meaning the twinkling blue light you see from Spica left the star before the United States was a country!

James: You'll be seeing more of Saturn and Spica as the year rolls on. Each morning they'll rise about 4 minutes earlier above the eastern horizon. In three months they'll be visible at midnight - instead of only at 6am. And five months from now they'll be visible in prime time.

Dean: So when you observe the early morning skies you're actually getting a sneak preview. Early risers get to see the stars and planets months before the night owls.

Dean: So don't miss the Moon just below the star Regulus and the planet Mars on the morning of November 19th.

James: Watch the waning Moon move eastward on the 20th and 21st.

Dean: And check out the Moon lined up with Virgo's brightest star, Spica, and the ringed planet Saturn on the morning of the 22nd.

James: So did I convince you to be an early bird next week?

Dean: Nah, I'll just stay up all night - since I don't wanna miss a thing.

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

#11-46 M

10/10/2011 thru 10/16/2011

"Planets, Stars And The Moon
At Dawn's Early Light"

James: Dean, this week's show is for the morning people.

Dean: I know James. Early risers can catch the Moon just below Mars on Saturday and see the Moon line up with Saturn and the star Spica next Tuesday.

James: Okay, we have our skies set to Saturday November 19th at 6 am looking southeast. Before daybreak look for the waning crescent Moon high in the southeast.

Dean: You'll also see two stars of similar brightness just above the Moon. The star up and to the right is called Regulus in the constellation Leo.

James: The other one is actually the planet Mars.
James: Lets follow the Moon day by day. Here it is, same time, on the 20th 21st and the 22nd.

Dean: On the 22nd, the Moon will almost line up with two other stars. The one closest to the Moon is the star Spica in the constellation Virgo.

James: And the other one is actually the ringed planet Saturn.

Dean: So get up early next week.

James: Or stay up really late and

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
1105 SD Base P389224-001
Wednesday 19 October 2011 - 1230-1300
Includes episodes 1145, 1146, 1147, 1148


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 # 11-47 - 8th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 11/21/2011 through Sunday 11/27/2011

"Super Bright Jupiter And Venus
Share The Sky With Three Cosmic Birds
For Thanksgiving Week"

 

Dean: Hey there stargazers. I'm Dean Regas, Outreach Astronomer from the Cincinnati Observatory.

James: And I'm James Albury, Director of the Kika Silva Pla Planetarium in Gainesville Florida.

Dean: And we're here to help you know what you're looking at when you go outside at night and

Both : Look up!

James : Cosmically speaking this Thanksgiving week is super because in addition to the usual Thanksgiving turkey on the table we have our annual appearance of three cosmic birds in the sky, which you can see right after dinner all week long.

Dean: Plus this year they are joined by the two brightest planets Venus and Jupiter.

James: O.K., we've got our skies set up for any clear night this Thanksgiving week about 6:30 p.m. your local time facing west where close to the horizon you'll see the brightest planet of them all, super bright Earth-sized Venus. Venus is on the other side of the solar system right now and is almost 50% farther than the Sun. Venus is always very bright because it reflects more of the Sun's light, almost 2/3rds, than any of the other planets. In comparison the moon reflects only 7% of the light it gets from the Sun while Jupiter reflects about half the light reaching it from the Sun.

Dean: Then if you look higher above the horizon you'll easily spot the three bright stars which mark the points of what is officially called the Summer Triangle but which every November I unofficially call the Thanksgiving poultry triangle. You see historically these stars have always been associated with cosmic birds.

James: The highest star is Deneb the bright tail star of Cygnus the swan. So in addition to our Thanksgiving turkey we have a heavenly swan to be thankful for.

Dean: The bright star farthest to the left in the triangle, Altair, is the brightest star of another bird, Aquila the eagle. But the brightest of the three stars and the one closest to the northwest horizon is vega the brightest star of Lyra the harp which, strange as it may sound, has had more feathery incarnations than the other two put together.

James: You see Lyra was not always a harp. In fact, long ago before it became a lyre it was a cosmic turtle. But before it was a turtle it was a bird of one sort or other. Ancient records tell us that Lyra's association with birds goes back over two thousand years. In ancient India Lyra was seen as a heavenly vulture. And in Babylon as a great mythological storm bird named Urakkhga. Some desert peoples of ancient Arabia saw it as two birds, the desert eagle and would you believe a cosmic goose? Lyra was also once known as an osprey and a wood falcon. Anyone for a wood falcon or osprey drumstick?

Dean: At any rate only in the past couple hundred years or so have we in the west seen Lyra exclusively as a lyre. In fact at the time of the American Revolution these stars were still seen as a bird, an eagle but holding a lyre in its beak. But since then the eagle has flown away and only the lyre remains. So perhaps we should play lyre music after Thanksgiving dinner?

James: So this Thanksgiving weekend after you've had turkey up to here just step outside after dinner and look into the western sky for the brilliant planet Venus and some birds of a different feather. And thank the heavens above you'll never get them in your leftovers.

Dean: But if three cosmic birds and super bright Venus aren't enough for you, then simply turn around and face east and high above the horizon you'll see brilliant Jupiter the planet which is number 2 in brightness because even though it is much larger than Venus it's also much, much farther than Venus - nearly three times farther from us.

James: The light from Venus takes almost twelve and a half minutes to get here, while the light from Jupiter will take about 35 minutes. And if that seems too long to wait, well my wife's sweet potato pie takes longer than that to bake. Which will make this Thanksgiving week extra special.

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

#11-47 M

11/21/2011 thru 11/27/2011

"Super Bright Jupiter And Venus
Share The Sky With Three Cosmic Birds
For Thanksgiving Week"

James: In addition to the usual turkey every Thanksgiving we have three cosmic birds

Dean: Plus two brilliant planets Venus and Jupiter.

James: At 7 p.m. face west and you'll see dazzling Earth-sized Venus and above it the three bright stars of the Summer Triangle which every Thanksgiving I call the poultry triangle because these three stars have historically been associated with birds; Cygnus the swan, Aquila the eagle and Lyra the harp.

Dean: Long ago Lyra had many feathery incarnations. In India it was a cosmic vulture, in Babylon a great storm bird, in Arabia a desert eagle. Others have called it an osprey, a wood falcon, even a goose. And for dessert this Thanksgiving look into the east and super bright Jupiter will dazzle you.

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.

STAH 1101-113
WPBT offer/WPBT uplink

All Wednesdays/All SD06

Half Hour Feed
1105 SD Base P389224-001
Wednesday 19 October 2011 - 1230-1300
Includes episodes 1145, 1146, 1147, 1148


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 # 11-48 / 9th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 11/28/2011 through Sunday 12/04/2011

"The Old Moon In The New Moon's Arms"

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. Now that fall is firmly upon us, we have some really neat opportunities to watch the Moon and planets wander across the sky each night just after sunset.

James: Plus, we have a ghostly phenomenon with the Moon to show you in the early evening and for you early morning star gazers, we have another neat triangular arrangement of planets just before sunrise. Let's show you!

James: Alrighty! We have our skies set up for just after sunset facing west. In the early part of this week, you'll see a waxing crescent Moon. If your sky is dark enough, you may see a phenomenon that is often referred to as the "Old Moon in the New Moon's Arms". If you look at the dark portion of the Moon, you'll barely make out the pattern of the "Man in the Moon", hiding in the darkness. And you can spot this every month within a few days around new Moon.

Dean: That's right, James. What you're seeing is called "earthshine". This happens when sunlight from the Earth illuminates the nighttime side of the Moon. Typically, this results in the Moon's nighttime side being bathed in a soft, faint light.

James: Now if that weren't exciting enough, did you know that the boundary between the daytime and nighttime side of the Moon actually has a name?

Dean: Yes indeed. Astronomers call it "the terminator".

James: But wait, there's more! Take a look to the left of the Moon and you'll see our sister planet, Venus. Named after the Roman goddess of beauty and love, Venus is making its grand reappearance in the evening sky.

Dean: When Venus is visible just after sunset, we early evening star gazers like to call Venus, the evening star.

James: And when Venus is visible just before sunrise, we early morning star gazers refer to Venus as the morning star.

Dean: As the nights pass, you'll notice Venus will be getting higher and higher in the sky, moving through the constellation of Sagittarius the centaur archer. Although Venus looks beautiful and bright in the night sky, she's hiding a dreadful reality.

James: Indeed. Venus is bright because sunlight is reflecting off the thick layer of clouds, which completely cover the planet. Years ago, scientists thought the clouds of Venus were made of water, like the clouds of Earth. The first space probes to fly into the clouds, however discovered that they were made of something much different.

Dean: Yeah. Sulfuric acid. And since sulfuric acid eats metal, the first space probes to enter Venus' atmosphere didn't last long.

James: Wow.

Dean: Exactly! And the atmosphere of Venus is made of carbon dioxide. There's so much of it in fact, that it's created a run-away green house effect, causing the planet to overheat.

James: The surface temperature of Venus is a toasty 854 degrees Fahrenheit. That's over 300 degrees hotter than the oven in your house! And it's like that all day long!

Dean: Now, if you swing around to the east just after sunset, you'll see another planet rising on the opposite horizon from Venus; 88,000 mile wide Jupiter. As we go further into the month of December, you'll notice Jupiter rising earlier and earlier and Venus is setting later and later.

James: And... On the night of March 12th, 2012 they will appear right next to each other in what we call a conjunction. So mark your calendars!

Dean: For you early morning star gazers, James and I have a special planet and star pairing to show you.

James: Ok, we have our skies set for about an hour before sunrise facing east during the first week of December. If you look high in the eastern sky, you can see the constellation Leo the lion. It'll look like a backwards question mark, with the bright star Regulus marking the heart of the lion. Just below Regulus and a little to the left, you'll see the red planet Mars.

Dean: And if you look further down and to the left, close to the eastern horizon, you'll see Arcturus, the brightest star in Bootes the herdsman. To the right of Arcturus, you'll spot two bright lights very close to each other. The one on the right is the star Spica, and the one on the left is our old friend, the planet Saturn. Saturn and Spica are going to be pretty close to each other throughout the month of December, so it'll be a good opportunity for you to find Saturn easily. Saturn will be the dimmer one that isn't twinkling.

James: Well, my friends out under the stars with you and remember, whatever you do...

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

#11-48 M

11/28/2011 thru 12/30/2011

"The Monsters Of The Sky For Halloween"

James: Next week is Halloween and Dean and I thought we'd share our favorite monsters in the sky.

Dean: These are the stars and constellations that struck terror in the hearts of our ancestors - and I have a doozy.

James: Algol?

Dean: Algol. Legend has it; this is the star marking Medusa's severed head. You can see Algol in the east after sunset in Perseus. Among different cultures this star was known as: "spectre's head, ghosts' head, satan's head, the double eye, and my personal favorite, from the Chinese Tseih She, piled up corpses.

James: Why such scary names? Algol changes its brightness dramatically.

Dean: Very scary.

James: Farther in the southeast, and just below bright Jupiter, you can find the sea monster constellation, Cetus. This was Poseidon's vicious pet who we see turned to stone by

Dean: Medusa's head!

James: Algol strikes again.

Both: Have a happy Halloween and 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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