February 2022 Stargazing Guide

Posted on Friday, February 4th, 2022


Video opens with Mr. Orbax standing in front of a screen with an image of the night sky with stars lighting up the sky. 
-[Orbax]: Greetings junior scientists, scientists and citizens of this great big weird, wild and wonderful world in which we live. 
The stars in the sky image behind Orbax rotates clockwise in the background. 
-[Orbax]: As always I'm your humble science communicator, the great Orbax, coming to you here from the Department of Physics at the University of Guelph 
-[Orbax]: and I'd like to welcome you to our February 2022 Stargazing Guide!  
The words “FEBRUARY 2022 STARGAZING GUIDE” appear at the bottom of the screen in pink.
-[Orbax]: As we continue along our voyage around the sun we recognize that cold temperatures abound throughout February.
The background image changes to the world rotating beside the sun. 
-[Orbax]: For those who love the cold this provides crisp air and clear skies for stargazing and for those who prefer warmer weather rest assured the daylight hours are getting longer and soon enough the snow will melt.
The background changes to a stary night sky over mountains with shooting stars. 
-[Orbax]: But let's take a moment to enjoy those longer nights and use this chance to look up!  
Background changes to an image of the milky way, and Orbax shrinks and disappears as he says, “look up”. 
-[Orbax]: For the last few months we've talked about Jupiter and Saturn but in February we talk about Venus! 
Orbax re-appears and as he says Jupiter, Saturn and Venus, an image of the planets appears. 
-[Orbax]: On February 9th in the southeast sky Venus will be its brightest just as the sun is rising so look for it low along the horizon. 
As Orbax says “On February 9th” the text “FEB 9” appears in the bottom right corner of the screen. Orbax is in the bottom left corner talking while the background is a video of the sun rising over mountains. 
-[Orbax]: Alongside Venus you’ll be able to catch our good friend Mars, the planet of robots! 
The background video changes to the mars rover on mars moving around. 
-[Orbax]: And on the morning of February 12th Mars and Venus will be rising side by side.  
As Orbax says “February 12th” text pops up in the left corner saying “FEB 12”. The background is images of the galaxy and planets. 
-[Orbax]: Look at the southeast, hold your hand at arm's length and they should be about four fingers apart. 
Orbax holds his hand out and puts up four fingers, the background remains images of the galaxy. 
-[Orbax]: Venus will be very bright and Mars will appear a little bit red so they should be easy  
to spot. 
The background depicts a bright Venus in the sky and a red Mars. 
-[Orbax]: On the morning of February 27th, Mars and Venus will be in conjunction with  
the crescent of the waning moon at the hour before sunrise. 
As Orbax says “February 27th” “FEB 27” text appears in the bottom right corner of the screen. The background remains the galaxy. 
-[Orbax]: Conjunction simply means they will appear as close together in the sky as we will see this year as viewed from the earth. 
The text ‘CONJUNCTION” appears at the top of the screen in bold white letters. 
-[Orbax]: If you're interested in astrophotography this could be your opportunity to get a space-errific photo! Yeah, space-errific is a word.
Background changes back to galaxy image with Orbax in the front. 
-[Orbax]: Our full moon this month is on February 16th 
Image of a moon chart appears, titled February 2022. The chart shows the new moon is completely dark, the first quarter moon is half dark and half bright, the full moon is completely bright and the third quarter moon is half dark and half bright. 
-[Orbax]: and is known as the snow moon, the storm move or, translated from the Algonquin, the snow hunger moon.
As Orbax says “snow moon” the text “SNOW MOON” pops up in big white letters
-[Orbax]: Constellations are regions of stars in the night sky that sort of fit together like a patchwork quilt. They're not just the bright stars that link to form shapes. 
Orbax is in the middle of the screen speaking and the background is the night sky with lots of stars.
-[Orbax]: These recognizable shapes are often called constellations when in fact they're asterisms and we talked about asterisms last month when we discussed Orion’s belt. 
Orbax is in the middle speaking while the background is lit up by stars in the night sky all being connected by lines, forming constellations 
-[Orbax]: Orion continues to dominate the southwest sky throughout the winter but Orion is more than just a three-star belt. 
The background changes to be an image of the constellation, Orion.
-[Orbax]: See if you can identify these other iconic stars within Orion: Betelgeuse, Bellatrix, Rigel and Saiph.  
The captions pop up on screen as he says Betelgeuse, Bellatrix, Rigel and Saiph
-[Orbax]: Another constellation that's easy to spot in  February by finding its asterism is Cassiopeia.  
Orbax is in the middle speaking while the background is lit up by stars in the night sky all being connected by lines, forming constellations. As he says “Cassiopeia” a caption spelling it out pops up at the bottom of the screen
-[Orbax]: In Greek mythology Cassiopeia was a queen mother to andromeda. In the second century it was actually one of the first constellations described by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy. 
A black and white image pops up of a king and a queen
-[Orbax]: Look to the northwest and see if you can spot a formation of five stars that look like a sideways 'W'. 
Orbax is in the bottom right corner talking as the background zooms in on these five stars that are linked by lines showing that it is in the shape of a W
-[Orbax]: That 'W' asterism is the backbone of the constellation Cassiopeia. 
An image of a girl sitting on a chair looking at herself in a handheld mirror is pasted over the stars.
-[Orbax]: While we're discussing asterisms I want to take a minute to show you how to find your way around the sky. Ursa major is a constellation that's visible year-round in North America. You may have heard it called the 'great bear'. There are seven very bright stars within ursa major that compose an asterism that most of us have seen or  known about since very young age.
Orbax is back in the middle speaking and in the background is an image of a bear with wings and the stars that create this constellation 
-[Orbax]: It's been called the plow or the wagon. In Inuit astronomy it's the caribou and the Ojibwe people call it the fisher but many know it as the big dipper. 
An image of the big dipper constellation appears 
-[Orbax]: The big dipper is easy to spot in the northeast sky but here’s a trick that I was taught years ago when I was a junior scientist. Not only is the big dipper an asterism but it's also a guide.  
The background zooms in on the image of the big dipper
-[Orbax]: Let me explain. Of the seven stars that make up the dipper, three comprise the handle and four comprise the scoop. 
Three red lines connect the stars making the handle and four green lines connect the stars making the scoop of the constellation
-[Orbax]: Of those four pay close attention to two in particular: Merak and Dubhe.
The words Merak and Dubhe pop up beside the stars
-[Orbax]: If we were to connect those two stars you'd have a straight line. 
A green line shows up only between the two stars 
-[Orbax]: If you were to follow that straight line to about five times its distance then you discover Polaris, the North Star! 
The green line grows to five times its size to the left and the Polaris star gets brighter and the word “POLARIS” pops up on the screen
-[Orbax]: Now Polaris is one star in the asterism of the little dipper which is in the constellation 'ursa minor', the little bear. Polaris has a unique characteristic.  
An image if a little bear pops up over the constellation Polaris
-[Orbax]: Because it lies along the line defined by the rotational axis of the earth it will always appear in the same position in the sky all year round.
A video of the earth rotating with a dotted line connecting it to the star Polaris
-[Orbax]: As a matter of fact if you were to track the stars over the course of a night you would see that those stars rotate around the north star as we rotate around the earth's axis. 
The background changes to an image of stars in the night sky with an arrow pointing at one, Polaris, then all the stars start rotating around Polaris
-[Orbax]: Here's another fun fact about Polaris! If you were to stand atop the north pole, Polaris would appear directly above you 
The background is a video of the world rotating with a green dotted line on top of the world with a pink cat sitting on it
-[Orbax]: but if you were to stand on the equator, Polaris would just appear low at the horizon line.  
The background changes to having the green line on the side of the world with the pink cat sitting on the new green line
-[Orbax]: Its altitude in the night sky corresponds to your latitude on earth! 
The background is a video of the world rotating 
-[Orbax]: For thousands of years travelers have used the north star to define their journeys and to orient themselves on our spinning sphere and now you can too! 
Background changes to a closer video of the world rotating 
-[Orbax]: Thanks for listening and have a science-tastic day
Orbax gives a thumbs up and then winks 
-[Orbax]: Special thanks to Royal City Science's own planetary geochemist Dr. Glynis Perrett  
for her help preparing our Stargazing Guide!  
Image of a women smiling appears with the caption “Dr. Glynis Perrett, Planetary Geochemist” pops up on the bottom right of the screen
-[Orbax]: We'd also like to thank the Skyview app and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.
The words “SkyView Explore the Universe” pop up in the middle of the screen and then the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada’s logo pops up at the end

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