This episode's vocabulary
- Light pollution (noun) - the glow from street and domestic lighting that obscures the night sky and hinders the observation of faint stars.
- Glance (verb) - to give a quick short look.
- Built-up (adj.) - A built-up area is one where there are a lot of buildings.
- Starscape (noun) - a view of the stars visible in (a particular part of) the sky.
- Make out (phrasal verb) - if you make something out, you manage with difficulty to see or hear it.
- Constellation (noun) - any of the groups of stars in the sky that seem from earth to form a pattern and have been given names.
- Cloud cover (noun) - the state of the sky when it is covered with cloud.
- Terra firma (noun) - dry land, when compared with the sea or air.
- Recapture (verb) - if something recaptures a previous emotion or style, it makes you experience that emotion again or it repeats that style.
- Nebula (noun) - a cloud of gas or dust in space, appearing either bright or dark.
- The bulk of sth. - most of something.
Questions and Answers
M: Rory, let's talk about the sky and stars. Do you like to watch the sky?
R: No, as much as I used to. There's a lot of light pollution in my hometown and in Moscow as a matter of fact. But when I do go home and there's a clear night on the beach, it's fun to have a glance upwards.
M: What's the sky like at night in your hometown?
R: Oh, like I said, there's a lot of light pollution in the more built-up areas. So you can get a good view of the starscape the further away you are, like in the village where I live, for example.
M: Can you see the moon and stars where you live?
R: Well, you can in Dundee, you can even make out the constellations in the Northern Hemisphere if you look hard enough, and everything comes into focus. And the moon is also quite bright most of the time, unless there's lots of cloud cover. This is less so in Moscow, you can only usually see the brightest stars in the sky, if ever.
M: Do you like to watch stars?
R: I liked it more when I was a child. Now my feet and eyes are sort of more rooted on terra firma. I think I should probably start doing it again and try and recapture the magic actually.
M: Have you ever taken a course about stars?
R: Not an official one. But I remember my dad telling me how to locate various constellations like Orion's Belt in the nearby nebula.
M: Is it important to study stars?
R: Well, probably not as much as it used to be for the bulk of people. I suppose, if you're an astronomer or an astrologist or an astrophysicist, then it's probably important. Everything else people can find out on the internet now.
M: What's your favorite star?
R: I used to like looking up to find Orion's belt, which is actually three stars. It's just for fun, though. And it's interesting how they line up like that, from our perspective. I think further out in the universe, they aren't actually arranged in a straight line that way.
M: Thank you, Rory, for your "starry" answers.
R: Hopefully, I was giving a starring performance.
M: Yeah, we'll give you five stars.
R: Out of five.
M: Yeah, so the topic is the sky and stars. So stars, not like TV stars or celebrities but stars in the sky. So, and here you should use topic specific vocabulary. For example, talking about the sky, we say there's lots of light pollution. Light pollution. It's not heavy pollution, light meaning like light, I an't see, it's dark. So usually you can't see stars in big cities because of light pollution. Rory wake up.
R: And you can see this, there's sort of like a glow that gets caught in the clouds and if that's happening, then you can tell there's light pollution.
M: Right. But sometimes it's fun to cast a glance upwards.
R: Yes, that just means to look upwards for a short period of time.
M: To cast a glance. Okay, so you can say like oh, to look at the sky but to be super cool and Rory level native speaker like, it's fun to cast a glance upwards.
R: Educated native speaker.
M: Oh sorry.
R: Allegedly, allegedly, allegedly, allegedly.
M: Are you sir already? Should I call you sir? Rory Fergus Duncan Good. Duncan.
R: I remember your name and you never remember mine.
M: I have two names. Oh, three.
R: Three. I don't know you're отчество.
M: Oh, there we go. So you don't know my name. Is that what you say? You don't know. When's my birthday? He doesn't know when my birthday is. That's it.
R: You don't even know my name. I'm sorry. You don't even know my name and you never even came to my birthday party, so.
M: I was in Pyatigorsk. Dont start this over and over again. I'm going to your farewell party. Right, we're talking about sky and stars by the way, dear listener. Hello. Welcome back to our podcast. So to cast a glance, a glance is like a quick look. To give a glance or to be super cool. You say cost a glance upwards.
R: Well, if you cast something it's slightly longer than just like looking. So these two things are in opposition to each other.
M: And upwards - up into the sky. The view of the starscape
R: Yeah, very how the landscape, how things look on the land. And you have a starscape how things look in the sky.
M: How logical is that? Starscape?
R: I wonder if you have a seascape as well.
M: Yes. Seascape.
R: Do you have a seascape?
M: Absolutely. Seascape. Yeah, Aivazovsky. Seascape. Yeah. So the word for you, dear listener, to talk about stars is constellations. Repeat after me. Constellations. What are they? These constellations.
R: Constellations are patterns of stars in the night sky.
M: Yep. So for example, an example of a constellation could be this small bear and a big bear, no?
R: Did you mean Ursa Major and Ursa Minor?
M: Yeah. We call them bears.
R: Yes, I know. I've seen Star maps in Russian. And I love the names. It's like Small bear and Big bear.
M: Yeah, so like a group of stars, specific group of stars with fancy names. Yeah. constellations. And you can say like, you can even make out the constellations in the Northern Hemisphere who make out constellations like see the constellations in the sky?
R: Yep. No, it's you have to. It's not like see, though, to make something out is to focus on it and work out where the pattern is, it's not like you can, because I look at you and I can see you. But if there was a fog, I'd have to make you out because it's difficult to see you at first.
M: Yeah, yeah. And because of this light pollution, because of all the lights, we have in major cities. It's difficult sometimes to make out the stars. Can you say make out the stars?
M: Like what are they? Is there a sky up there? No. Light pollution. We say the moon, the sun, the moon. And actually the sun is a star.
R: It is.
M: Yes. Hello, George. If you are listening to this episode, I've learned it from you, George. Hello. From my student George listening to this episode.
R: You didn't know the sun was a star?
M: I didn't think about it. Maybe I knew it. But I just forgot it. I'm like Sherlock Holmes.
R: Well, the funny thing is the moon is also a moon. But there's lots of different moons in the solar system.
M: What? The moon is also a moon?
R: The moon is the only moon that's called moon. All of the other moons in the solar system have names except for ours. I said there's only one moon. No, there are many moons. Saturn has like 26 of them or something.
M: You' re joking.
R: You didn't know that other planets have moons? Mars has two.
M: Really? Oh, I lm ilke Sherlock Holmes.
M: Dear listener, I'm not into space. I don't care how many moons there are in the universe.
R: Do you know what the names of the moons are on Mars?
M: No, I know, Mars. I know Jupiter. I know Venus.
R: Jupiter's got like thirty of them as well.
M: Wow. Dear listener, did you know that? Okay, right.
R: Did you not know that?
M: I don't. So thank you very much for educating me. Cloud cover. It's a nice one. There's a lot of cloud cover.
R: There is, especially if on a day like today when when the sky is only gray because it's covered in clouds. If something is covered in clouds, then there is lots of cloud cover.
M: Or you can say that the sky is overcast.
R: Or it's cloudy.
M: Yeah. The brightest stars in the sky. The brightest stars in the sky. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
R: Can we talk about the next phase.
M: You know. Rory uses a lot of Latin words because Rory is an educated native speaker. That's why he is supposed to use Latin in his IELTS speaking.
R: I don't talk like that.
M: No, Rory speaking speaking like that. Okay, now my feet and eyes are more rooted on terra firma.
R: Terra firma is just a way of talking. It's like, it means solid ground.
M: Okay, terra firma.
R: It means solid ground.
M: Latin. It's like I'm alma mater
R: Although to be honest with you, you probably have the same words in Russian as well. Well, you might have similar words, to describe the same idea. Solid ground is, it can be a physical place. So it's like where you stand, the ground is unshakable, but it can also describe, you know, where the, where the geography is known or where the geography is clear. Or it can just mean, it can be like in philosophy, your argument is unshakable as well. So the whole idea is that you're not looking into space where things are less clear. You're looking at things closer to you, closer to home, that you understand more easily and this is what I do with my time now, because I'm not a child anymore. I have things to do like pay taxes, or avoid paying taxes.
M: Yeah, Rory is a serious man now. And his feet and eyes are more rooted on terra firma. We can locate various constellations and features like Orion's belt, the nearby Nebula. These are all topic specific vocabulary about stars, super specific and super topical.
R: So Orion's belt is a line of three stars in the night sky. And a nebula is a giant cloud of gas, and dust, and debris. It's not like a cloud in the night sky. The nebula are actually like bigger than the solar system. They're huge. That's why you can see them from space. You can see them from Earth. If you look very carefully, I think it's between the second and third star just down in Orion's belt. You see the nebula.
M: So Orion's belt, Nebula and also the Milky Way, you can talk about the Milky Way. Yum, yum.
R: Well, we're in the Milky Way. But you won't see the Milky Way in Russia, you'll only see the Milky Way in the southern hemisphere. At least those are the only places that I've seen when I have been in southern hemisphere.
M: Rory then mentioned all the names for people who are into astronomy. Astronomer, astrologist, astrophysicist, beautiful.
R: Wait, what?
M: You said three A's, astronomer, astrologist and astrophysics.
R: I did. I thought you described astrologist as a scientist there though. Sorry, I wasn't listening. Please don't describe them as scientists. They're not, they're quacks. Astronomers and astrophysicists are scientists, astrologist just make up nonsense.
M: Yeah. astrologists talk about horoscopes.
M: What's your sign?
R: It doesn't matter because it's not real.
M: So I'm a Tauras. Rory, what do you call the activity of looking at the stars?
M: Yeah, stargazing is popular in my country. And I'm an avid stargazer. So like, I look at the stars.
R: I'm not. My friend is. He bought a massive telescope, so he can look at stars.
M: You can talk about telescope, we can say we appreciate the beauty of the sky. And magical stars, glittering stars, by the way, the glitter.
R: Or glimmering.
M: Glimmering stars, like shining. Whoo. You can also say like, all this myriads of stars, myriads of stars in this universe.
R: This is starting to sound like a poetry class.
M: Yes, Shakespeare.
R: Is it?
M: Well, poetry, you said poetry, I say Shakespeare. We're doing associations now.
R: Oh, cool.
M: Rory says poetry I say Shakespeare. Then he goes with what? Sonnets?
R: Yeah. Although sonnets are a specific kind of poem, aren't they? They are.
M: So, dear listener, we've given you pretty much topical vocabulary, topic specific vocabulary about sky and stars. But if you are not into space, like me, you can say I'm not into sky. I'm not I'm not into stars. Right. So what else can I say if I don't like the sky and the stars? If I don't care?
R: It's not my thing. I'm not a great fan of stargazing.
M: Stargazing is not really my thing.
R: But if it were, then you could give a made up answer.
M: Yeah. But it's, it's good to use some of these nice words like starscape and constellations, and it's difficult to make out stars in my city. I wish I could be an astronomer and go to space.
R: Astronomer doesn't go into space, though.
R: Astronauts go into space.
M: Oh, astronaut. But I can be an astronomer and go into space, right? Technically.
R: I don't think so. I was going to say you can be a dog walker and go into space.
M: You couldn't be a dog and go into space.
R: I don't think astronomy is served by going into space. I think most of their work takes place on the ground.
M: Oh, right, so astronomer into the telescope.
R: Yeah, that most most of the people that are astronauts are actually, I think they're about their military personnel or their engineers, because they go up to install the hardware that does all the work for them, right? Maybe there's some biologists that study the effects on plant life and things like that. But I think most of them, you know, they're not astronomers. I don't think there's much that to be gained in astronomy by going into space, which is ironic, you would think there would be but I don't think so. Maybe I'm wrong. If you're an astronomer and you're listening then feel free to correct me. But I don't think so. I think they build all of their telescopes on the ground. Space travel is really expensive. And astronomy departments don't have much money.
R: Yeah, they're not very well funded.
M: What about Elon Musk?
R: Elon Musk is a as an entrepreneur. He can go into space.
M: Rory, if you could send something into space, what will it be? What thing.
R: I don't like, no, that's littering. I wouldn't send anything, that's just trash.
R: No, we've already cluttered up this planet. And now you want to start littering all over the place in space,
M: Would you send, for example, an episode of our podcasts or our "Podcourse" on phrasal verbs into space?
R: Our "Podcourse" is probably already broadcast into space.
M: Really? For aliens to listen?
R: No, no.
M: Aliens, hello, we have phrasal verbs for you. Yay.
R: The earth sends out like radio transmissions every day. I'm pretty sure that our podcast is sent out this way as well.
M: Really? Into space? We're big, we're big. Wow. Okay.
R: It's not just us. It's all other radio transmissions on the planet.
M: Can you imagine like in five years we're going to be like, sitting on Mars in a Mars hotel going like, now we are broadcasting live from Mars Rory hotel. Martian speaking Yes, so Mars and an adjective is going to be Martian. And my name is Maria. So you can also call me Masha, which I don't like but you can have a go. So Martian. Oh.
R: So hopefully, what we've given you is a lot of vocabulary to help you reach for the stars.
M: So dear listener, remember that you are a star. And you are an IELTS star now because you're listening to us. Twinkle, twinkle, little star.
R: Shall we record the next episode. Bye!
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