December 2021 Stargazing Guide

Posted on Wednesday, December 8th, 2021


Video opens with Mr. Orbax standing in front of a screen with a picture of the sky and stars.
Orbax speaks very enthusiastically.
-[Orbax]: Greetings junior scientists, scientists and citizens of this big weird wild and wonderful world in which we live.
-[Orbax]: As always I am your humble science communicator the great Orbax, coming to you here from the Department of Physics at the University of Guelph I'd like to welcome you to December's Star Gazing Guide.
On the bottom of the screen text shows up saying “DECEMBER 2021 STARGAZING GUIDE”
-[Orbax]: As winter sets in it's sometimes difficult to get a good clear view of the night sky but that doesn't mean that there still isn't plenty happening up there! If you manage to avoid the usual December cloud cover there are some incredible constellations visible.
Background shows constellations Orion and Taurus.
-[Orbax]: Starting in the east, Orion continues his celestial battle with Taurus the bull throughout early winter. Within Taurus you should be able to see the Pleiades star cluster.
Background changes to image of the night sky with a cluster of stars circled and an arrow pointing to them. 
-[Orbax]: First observed through a telescope by Galileo Galilei, this star cluster contains over 800 stars but most of those are too dim to be seen with the unaided eye.
Backround image zooms into the star cluster becoming brighter.
-[Orbax]: But it does contain nine very bright stars which you should be able to see.
Bright starts names are indicated on background image from left to right; PLEIONE, ATLAS, ALCYONE, MAIA, STEROPE, TAYGETA, CALEANO, ELECTRA.
-[Orbax]: So, get out there and see if you can count them all!
Background changes to cloudy sky.
-[Orbax]: There are a few planets from within our very own solar system that are visible this month. The largest planet in our solar system Jupiter,
Image of Jupiter appears of the left of Orbax.
-[Orbax]: along with the ringed titan Saturn,
Image of Saturn appears of the right of Orbax.
-[Orbax]: should continue to shine brightly as they have throughout the autumn.
Planet images disappear.
-[Orbax]: As a matter of fact, if you happen to have a telescope
Background changes to a large image of Saturn.
-[Orbax]: you should actually be able to see the rings around Saturn as well as Titan,
Titan appears in the background overlayed on Saturn.
-[Orbax]: the largest of Saturn's 82 moons.
Video fades back to Orbax in front of a cloud night sky.
-[Orbax]: If you look towards the southwest horizon you should be able to catch Venus
Venus disgram appears on screen between Orbax's hands.
-[Orbax]: before it sets in the early evening.
Background changes to a darkblue night sky with some bright bodies indicated; JUPITER, SATURN, MOON and VENUS along with SW and W directions.
-[Orbax]: Actually all three of these planets should be visible in the early evening throughout December so get out there junior scientists and take a look up!
Orbax shrinks and disappears, then screen fades to black.

Orbax reappears in front of a night sky background. 
-[Orbax]: You want meteor showers well December's got 'em.
Diagram of constellations appears in background, indicating from top down; POLLUX, CASTOR (GERMINIDS RADIANT), PROCYON, CAPELLA, BETELGEUSE, SIRIUS, ALDEBARAN, RIGEL and W and NW indicators.
-[Orbax]: Look up towards the constellation Gemini. The Geminid Meteor Shower will be taking place between December 4th and 20th
DEC 4TH - 20TH appears in large white letters across the top of the screen, then disappears.
-[Orbax]: culminating on the night between December 13th and 14th
Background of constellations fades into starry night sky background and DEC13/14 appears in large white letters across the top of the screen, then disappears.
-[Orbax]: when you should be able to see 150 meteors an hour!
Background transitions to a diagram of the planets' orbits around the sun, indicating Earth.
-[Orbax]: Unlike most meteor showers, the Geminids originate from an asteroid and not from a comet.
Background transitions back to starry night sky. 
-[Orbax]: If you miss the Geminids take a look up towards the Little Dipper.
Overlay of Ursa Minor appears to the left of Orbax, then disappears. 
-[Orbax]: The Ursids will peak on the night between the 21st and the 22nd
Large white text "DEC 21/22" appears at the top of the screen, then disappears.
-[Orbax]: with a less impressive, but by no means shabby, 10 meteors an hour.
Background transitions to a diagram indicating the Phases of the Moon with text, " December 2021, New Moon, First Quarter, Full Moon 18, Third Quarter 26."
-[Orbax]: This month's full moon takes place on December 18th.
Background transitions to an aerial view of a snowy forest in blue tones. 
-[Orbax]: December's full moon is called the Cold Moon for, well, pretty obvious reasons for those of us here in North America. Occasionally it's called the Wolf Moon and the old timey anglo-saxon name for it is the Moon before Yule.
Screen transitions to a black and white illustration of pagan ritual.
Background transitions back to an aerial view of a snowy forest in blue tones. 
-[Orbax]: December 21st marks the start of winter for half of the earth during something that we call the winter solstice.
Large white text appears at upper right of screen, "WINTER SOLSTICE," then disappears.
-[Orbax]: Now you've probably heard that term thrown around a lot but what does it actually mean?
Screen fades to black and then Orbax appears on the right side of a a black ground with a green arrowpointing up and down on the left of the screen. 
-[Orbax]:We say that the earth has an axis that it rotates about.
A diagram of the Earth appears on the arrow and a horizontal line appears over the earth.
-[Orbax]: It's like an imaginary line that joins the north and the south poles. Every full rotation is one day and that takes 24 hours.
Diagram of the Earth disappears and Orbax is left on a black ground. 
-[Orbax]: Now this axis isn't perfectly perpendicular to the plane of our orbit around the sun.
Orbax indicated a 90 degree angle with his arms. Diagram of Earth partly in shadow, tipped on its axis appears on the left of the screen beside Orbax.
-[Orbax]: It's actually tipped at 23.5 degrees.
Background transitions to diagram of the Earth orbiting the sun; indicating June (Northern Summer) and December (Northern Winter).
-[Orbax]: The winter solstice marks the day that the North Pole is its furthest possible distance away from the sun.
Background transitions to animation of the Earth orbiting the sun.
-[Orbax]: We experience our shortest day of the year, in terms of daylight hours it still takes 24 hours to do one full rotation,
Background transitions to an animation of the north in darkness.
-[Orbax]: and in fact the arctic circle experiences no daylight at all! Just 24 hours of darkness!
Background transitions to a diagram indicating the Earth at both the Summer and Winter Solstice points in orbit.
-[Orbax]: After the 21st the days start getting longer until we reach the summer solstice in June
Background transitions to black and white time lapse video of the Earth. 
-[Orbax]: when we tip the other way and bathe the northern hemisphere in the most sunlight that it gets all year.
Background transitions back to an aerial view of a snowy forest in blue tones. 
-[Orbax]: As we move deeper into the winter months it'll get pretty cold but when you're out there in your mittens and your jacket just remember that it's not as cold as outer space which on average is - 270 degrees celsius! That's so cold that if it got any colder atoms would actually stop vibrating!
Orbax disappears and video transitions to a purply-bue starry sky. Orbax reappears on this background.
-[Orbax]: Thanks for listening and don't forget to have a science-tastic day!
Orbax shrinks to lower leftof screen and image of Dr. Glynis Perrett appears with her name and title," Dr. Glynis Perrett, Planetary Geochemist" and Royal City Science logo. 
-[Orbax]: Special thanks to Royal City Science's own planetary geochemist Dr. Glynis Perett for her help preparing our stargazing guide.

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