Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Transcript for February 24th, 25th, and 26th

PAUL
Welcome to Idaho Skies for February 24th, 25th, and 26th. We’re your hosts, Paul...

RACHEL
...and Rachel.

PAUL
After dark on the 26th, look in the low west for brilliant Venus.

RACHEL
Most stargazers know that Mars is the not too bright yellowish-orange star to the upper left of Venus.

PAUL
They’re also expecting to see two planets that night.

RACHEL
However, did you know the planet Uranus is there also?

PAUL
To see Uranus, aim your binoculars first at Mars.

RACHEL
Uranus appears as the star ½ of a degree to the lower left of Mars.

PAUL
Recall that most binoculars have a field of view of 7.5 degrees.

RACHEL
So this means Uranus is about 1/15th the distance across your binocular’s field of view.

PAUL
Uranus is brighter than any star that close to Mars.

RACHEL
You can’t miss Uranus if you get away from your local street light.

PAUL
Not many people have seen Uranus, even though it was discovered in 1781.

RACHEL
So if you have a little free time and the sky is clear, look for Uranus on the night of the 26th.

PAUL
It’s a world four times larger than Earth and over 1.5 billion miles away.

RACHEL
And a world tipped over on its side.

PAUL
Yep, instead of spinning like a top, Uranus spins like a wheel.

RACHEL
That’s Idaho Skies for the 24th, 25th, and 26th of February.

PAUL
Be sure to follow us on Twitter at Idaho Skies for this week’s event reminders and sky maps.

For Idaho Skies this is Paul...

RACHEL
...and Rachel.

PAUL
Dark skies and bright stars.

Transcript for February 22nd and 23rd

RACHEL
Welcome to Idaho Skies for February 22nd and 23rd. We’re your hosts, Rachel...

PAUL
...and Paul.

RACHEL
Thirty years ago on the 23rd, a blue super giant star in the Large Magellanic Cloud collapsed and exploded.

SOUND OF EXPLOSION

PAUL
Actually, this collapse occurred 168,000 years earlier.

RACHEL
Because of its distance from the solar system, it took the explosion’s light that long to reach the solar system.

PAUL
The collapse of a massive star is called a supernova and this one was named SN 1987A.

RACHEL
SN 1987A is still the brightest and closest supernova since the invention of the telescope over 400 years ago.

PAUL
That means it’s still the best opportunity astronomers have had to study the supernova process and its after-effects.

RACHEL
Did you know that SN 1987A kick started neutrino astronomy?

RACHEL
It turns out that three neutrino detectors on Earth detected a burst of 25 neutrinos from the explosion some three hours before its light reached Earth.

PAUL
Neutrinos, which are subatomic particles, rarely ever interact with matter.

RACHEL
They’re created in huge numbers when a star’s core collapses.

PAUL
In fact, one hundred times as many neutrinos escape a supernova explosion than photons of light.

RACHEL
Their lack of interaction with matter means neutrinos can escape the collapse of a star hours before light can.

PAUL
Astronomers now know that a burst of neutrinos from space is probably the sign of an impending supernova explosion.

RACHEL
That’s Idaho Skies for the 22nd and 23rd of February.

PAUL
Be sure to read our blog for additional information. It’s at idahoskies.blogspot.com.

For Idaho Skies this is Paul...

RACHEL
...and Rachel.

PAUL
Dark skies and bright stars.

Transcript for February 20th and 21st

PAUL
Welcome to Idaho Skies for February 20th and 21st. We’re your hosts, Paul...

RACHEL
...and Rachel.

PAUL
John Glenn became one of America’s biggest heroes 55 years ago on February 20th 1962.

RACHEL
Glenn was the third Mercury astronaut launched and the first to orbit Earth.

PAUL
Unlike Shepard and Grissom before him, an Atlas missile carried Glenn’s Mercury spacecraft into space.

RACHEL
The more powerful Atlas missile gave Glenn’s capsule the speed it needed to remain in Earth orbit.

PAUL
Which is 17,500 miles per hour.

RACHEL
His mission lasted for five hours and he orbited Earth three times.

PAUL
His successful mission demonstrated that the United States knew how to send humans into space.

RACHEL
Unfortunately, we lost this American hero last December at the age of 95.

PAUL
Are you looking for Saturn?

RACHEL
Then let the moon show you Saturn on the morning of the 20th.

PAUL
Saturn appears as the creamy yellow-white star to the lower left of the moon.

RACHEL
You’ll need a telescope or at least a spotting scope to see Saturn’s rings and largest satellite, Titan.

PAUL
And the magnification of the telescope needs to be at least 25 power.

RACHEL
What if our listeners only have a pair of binoculars handy?

PAUL
Then take they should take some time and scan the region left of Saturn for fuzzy star clusters and nebulae.

RACHEL
These are clusters and nebulae, which are located near center of our Milky Way galaxy.

PAUL
That’s Idaho Skies for the 20th and 21st of February.

RACHEL
Be sure to follow us on Twitter at Idaho Skies for this week’s event reminders and sky maps.

For Idaho Skies this is Rachel...

PAUL
...and Paul.

RACHEL
Dark skies and bright stars.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Idaho Skies Transcript for February 17th, 18th, and 19th

RACHEL
Welcome to Idaho Skies for February 17th, 18th, 19th. We’re your hosts, Rachel...

PAUL
...and Paul.

RACHEL
The moon’s at the last quarter phase on the 18th.

PAUL
That means anytime after midnight will be a good time to go moon viewing with your binoculars.

RACHEL
Along the terminator will be a multitude of visible craters.

PAUL
Especially in the southern hemisphere.

RACHEL
Results from Apollo show that moon appears to be made from the mantle of Earth.

PAUL
Which is a metal-poor mix of rocks and minerals.

RACHEL
The similarity is responsible for the hypothesis that the moon formed when a Mars-sized body crashed into the early Earth.

PAUL
People like calling this the Big Whack, but it’s more formally called the Giant-Impact Hypothesis.

RACHEL
The hypothesis was developed in the mid 1970s.

PAUL
And initially, many scientists where not happy with the hypothesis.

RACHEL
That’s because science doesn’t like explanations that require one-time catastrophes.

PAUL
Eventually, data, including computer modeling demonstrated that the explanation wasn’t as ad hoc as believed and actually quite reasonable.

RACHEL
And today, scientists are quite happy to use the explanation to explain the properties of Pluto’s largest satellite, Charon.

PAUL
And also for many satellites detected orbiting asteroids.

RACHEL
The early solar system was a chaotic and dangerous place.

PAUL
That’s Idaho Skies for the 17th, 18th, and 19th of February.

RACHEL
Be sure to read our blog for additional information. It’s at idahoskies.blogspot.com.

For Idaho Skies this is Rachel...

PAUL
...and Paul.

RACHEL
Dark skies and bright stars.

Idaho Skies Transcript for February 15th and 16th

PAUL
Welcome to Idaho Skies for February 15th and 16th. We’re your hosts, Paul...

RACHEL
...and Rachel.

PAUL
Jupiter appears as the bright star beneath the moon on the morning of the 15th.

RACHEL
But you’ll need to go outside just after midnight to see Jupiter.

PAUL
However, since the 15th is a work day, you might prefer to get up a few minutes earlier on the morning instead of staying up late.

RACHEL
The moon is nearly third quarter, meaning your binoculars will show craters along the terminator of the moon.

PAUL
And of course, Jupiter’s four major satellites will be well placed for viewing.

RACHEL
Remember that when you look at the moon and Jupiter through your binoculars, you’re seeing them as Galileo did 407 years ago.

PAUL
Craters on the moon prove it’s not made of a perfect crystalline substance.

RACHEL
And the fact that the moon’s of Jupiter orbit the planet while the planet travels through the heavens proves there can be more than one center of motion in the solar system.

PAUL
Those are some of the arguments Galileo used to prove the Copernican Hypothesis.

RACHEL
Look closely at Jupiter and you could see four moon’s in your binoculars.

PAUL
From Jupiter and going left, the moons are Io, Europa, Callisto, and Ganymede.

RACHEL
Because of its closeness to the glare of Jupiter, Io might be a little difficult to see.

PAUL
However, a small telescope or even spotting scope will have enough magnification to bring out Io.

RACHEL
Hey, what about that slightly fainter star below Jupiter?

PAUL
It’s Spica, the brightest star in Virgo the Maiden.

RACHEL
That’s Idaho Skies for the 15th and 16th of February.

PAUL
Be sure to follow us on Twitter at Idaho Skies for this week’s event reminders and sky maps.

For Idaho Skies this is Paul...

RACHEL
...and Rachel.

PAUL
Dark skies and bright stars.

Idaho Skies Transcript for February 13th and 14th

RACHEL
Welcome to Idaho Skies for February 13th and 14th. We’re your hosts, Rachel...

PAUL
...and Paul.

RACHEL
Idaho Skies celebrates Galileo’s birthday this week.

PAUL
He was born on February 15, 1564 in Pisa, Italy.

RACHEL
After graduation, he took a teaching post at University of Pisa.

PAUL
There, he wrote about some of the problems with Aristotle’s description of motion.

RACHEL
Because of his writings and his difficult personality, the university did not rehire him.

PAUL
So he accepted a position at the university of Padua teaching math and mechanics.

RACHEL
It was there in July 1609 that he heard about a Dutchman’s new invention, an optical tube capable of magnifying images.

PAUL
Galileo quickly figured out the principle involved and made his own telescope capable of a magnification of three power.

RACHEL
He turned his telescope heavenward in the fall of 1609.

PAUL
Now Galileo was a supporter the Copernican Hypothesis, or that the planets, including Earth orbited the sun.

RACHEL
And through his telescope, he found evidence supporting the Copernican Hypothesis.

PAUL
That included observations like the phases of Venus, the presence of moons orbiting Jupiter, and that the moon was pock marked with craters.

RACHEL
In 1610, Galileo published his findings.

PAUL
He wrote his book in Italian, rather than Latin so that the common person could understand what he had discovered.

RACHEL
The book’s name was The Starry Messenger.

PAUL
And it became very popular and made Galileo famous.

RACHEL
That’s Idaho Skies for the 13th and 14th of February.

PAUL
Be sure to read our blog for additional information. It’s at idahoskies.blogspot.com

For Idaho Skies this is Paul...

RACHEL
...and Rachel.

PAUL
Dark skies and bright stars.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Idaho Skies Transcript for February 10th to 12th

PAUL
Welcome to Idaho Skies for February 10th, 11th, and 12th. We’re your hosts, Paul...

RACHEL
...and Rachel.

PAUL
The moon rises in a weak eclipse on the 10th.

RACHEL
By weak eclipse, we mean a penumbral eclipse.

PAUL
A penumbral eclipse is one in which the moon only passes though the lighter outer rim of Earth’s shadow.

RACHEL
It will be dark enough to see the eclipse by 7:00 PM and the eclipse ends at 7:30.

PAUL
Therefore, stargazers won’t have much time to observe this event.

RACHEL
Binoculars will definitely be helpful in seeing the subtle shading of Earth’s shadow on the upper portion of the moon.

PAUL
Stargazers will see a bright star below and left of the moon.

RAHCEL
Which star it is?

PAUL
Why it’s Regulus, the brightest star in Leo the Lion.

RACHEL
Isn’t Regulus, like Aldebaran, is called a royal star?

PAUL
Yes it is, and there are a total of four royal stars.

RACHEL
The other two are Antares and Fomalhaut.

PAUL
The ancient Persians regarded these four stars are guardians of their respective quadrants of the sky.

RACHEL
One person responsible for bringing these stars and their function to our attention was the Persian prophet Zarathustra.

PAUL
Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

RACHEL
That’s Idaho Skies for the 10th, 11th, and 12th of February.

PAUL
Be sure to follow us on Twitter at Idaho Skies for this week’s event reminders and sky maps.

For Idaho Skies this is Paul...

RACHEL
...and Rachel.

PAUL
Dark skies and bright stars.