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Presenting the Sky on July 7 from North Georgia Part 1 Video Transcipt

We're looking at the night sky from here in North Georgia just a little bit after sunset tonight on July 7th, a little bit after 9:30 p.m. We're facing west, and we see a sky filled with stars. Stars form patterns on the sky that are leading us to areas called constellations. Constellations are areas of the sky with defined borders. They're kind of like states on a map. Anywhere you point on a map of the United States you point within the borders of the state and anywhere you point on the sky, you point within the borders of a constellation. These are the borders of the constellations that are up now. It's bright patterns of stars in each area that act as the landmarks so that we can find a constellation. Our first constellation is low in the sky to the west. Here, it's sort of in the bottom center of our screen. It's called Leo, the Lion. We look for Leo by looking for a backwards question mark shape of stars, that's the mane of the lion, and then there are three stars that form the Lion’s back end. I'll put up an outline so we can see the shape a little better. It sort of looks here like he's sort of diving down towards the horizon, and I'll put up a picture so we can see the shape of the lion a bit better. In Greek and Roman mythology, Leo was a lion made by the goddess Hera she created him. He had impenetrable skin and golden fur, and she put him in a cave that was nearby a town. Unfortunately Leo started going into that town and attacking people so the super strong Hercules was sent to save the people of the town and he put Leo down. Hera felt bad about this though, and she placed Leo in the sky as her way of honoring him. Hercules is also a constellation in the sky. Right now it's very high in the sky, and you can see it a little better if we face east so we're going to turn our sky from west so that we're facing east. So Hercules is near the center of our screen here. In real life, it's high in the sky facing east, and we look for Hercules by looking for four faint stars that form what's called the Keystone. I'll put up an outline, and it's sort of at the center of this outline. The four stars are meant to look like the top stone of an archway or Keystone, and it's a part of the body of Hercules. I'll put up an outline so we can see him better. In Greek and Roman mythology, he was half mortal, half God. He was super strong, and he travelled the world seeking adventures. There's an interesting object in Hercules. It's along a top edge of the Keystone for our view here. I'll put up a marker so we can see it better, at least where it is. This is a star cluster at that location along the Keystone in Hercules. It's called m13, and so this is a group of stars near each other in space. Now you won't see it very well right here, but if you're in a very dark site with no moon out you can sometimes see this cluster with the naked eye. It's better to look at it though through a pair of binoculars or a small telescope. We have telescopes here at UNG. They’re at our observatory, which is about four miles off campus. Usually they do open for the public. They are closed right now, but we are also in the process of finishing construction on a new building, which will have larger telescopes in it. We might be opening to the public next year for that. You can check the website or Facebook page for the North Georgia Astronomical Observatory if you'd like to know updates on when they might open. Now nonetheless, we can zoom in on m13 here in the planetarium and take a closer look at it, kind of like we're looking at it through a telescope. So now we have a much better view of m13. This is that star cluster which means that this is a group of stars that formed together in space, probably from one cloud of gas. They're actually near each other in space, but the cluster itself is 20,000 light-years from Earth. So a light-year is how far light travels in one year. It means the light that we see from these stars took 20,000 years to travel to us. This type of star cluster we see here is called a globular cluster. It looks like a glob of paint because the stars are very densely packed together. In fact our Sun by comparison is very isolated the closest star to our Sun is for about 4 light-years away. If you were to put the Sun in the middle of this star cluster, in that same distance around our Sun you'd find over a hundred stars. So these are much more densely packed. Let's take a look at a photograph that shows us a clearer view of the center of this cluster, those densely packed stars. We're going to be bringing up a picture taken by the Hubble Space Telescope it shows us some of the center of m13. We can start to see individual stars because this is a much higher resolution photograph. There are many stars in a globular cluster. M13, here, has well over a hundred thousand stars in it, and globular clusters can be some of the oldest objects in the universe. This one's over 10 billion, maybe 10 to 12 billion, years old. We'll zoom away from m13 and look for another constellation in the sky. Our next constellation is further to the south just along the horizon, but we can still see it in our view, here, if we look to the very right side of our screen. There is a large hook shape of stars that is the hook of Scorpius, the scorpion. Put up an outline so that we see that a little better. In Greek and Roman mythology, this was a scorpion, where the hook is the curved tail of the Scorpion. Now there are other cultures, different people around the world. They had their own constellations, which were often different, and so for people that lived in the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii and Polynesia, instead of seeing these stars as a scorpion, they saw the same stars as a fishhook. Now this fishhook wasn't just any fishhook. It was a magical fishhook owned by the demigod Maui. He used it to pull islands up out of the ocean.

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