STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION



STAR GAZER is seen nationally on most PBS stations. There is a five minute and a one minute version available each week. If it is not currently on your PBS station we suggest you contact your local PBS programming director and let them know it is available free to all PBS stations. You may take STAR GAZER off satellite for personal use, classroom use, astronomy club use, etc. without written permission.

Satellite feed info:

GE 3 - PBS Transponder 512 - Digital Only!

3/24/2000 10:30 - 11:00 am Eastern time (4 shows)


Star Gazer is also available from

NASA CORE

A videotape of the current month is available from NASA CORE for $16.00

plus $6.00 shipping (within the U.S). Please send a VISA, MasterCard,

check, money order or an official school purchase order to the address

below:

 

NASA Central Operation of Resources for Educators

Lorain County JVS NASA CORE

15181 Route 58 South

Oberlin, OH 44074

440/775-1400

FAX 440/775-1460

nasaco@leeca.org

http://core.nasa.gov

 

Notice : These are working drafts of the scripts for STAR GAZER.
Changes may well be made as production requires.


STAR GAZER

Episode # 00-14

1165th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 4/3/2000 through

Sunday 4/9/2000

"The Great Mars/Jupiter/Saturn

Sky Show Reaches Its Climax!"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers and as all you regular star gazers know, since the beginning of this year we've been watching the 3 outer planets as they come slowly closer and closer toward each other until finally this month they are reaching their climax and getting ready for the grand finale. Let me show: O.K., once again, on New Year's night, January 1st, 2000, 7 p.m. your local time if you looked west you would have seen Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn lined up in a row but spread out far apart from each other.

Then as week after week and month after month went by they steadily and slowly approached each other, until this week on Wednesday and Thursday evening Mars finally catches up with Jupiter in an extremely close meeting. Then like a good little planet should it will slowly move on for its rendezvous with with Saturn which means you still have time to watch Mars as it slowly pulls away from the king of the planets and moves toward the beautiful ringed planet. Indeed, if you go out next Tuesday night, April 11th about an hour after sunset and look west you'll see Mars mid-way between Jupiter and Saturn, forming a beautiful broad triangle.

Then if you go out each successive night you'll see Mars slowly inch closer and closer to the 7th planet until next weekend Mars will rendezvous with Saturn. In fact on Saturday night April 15th Jupiter and Saturn will actually have moved a little bit closer together so that, as Robert Victor says, on that night they will form the most compact trio of 3 planets for the entire year! Don't miss this! But when, you might ask be asking, will Saturn and Jupiter meet? Well, if you've been planet watching since the beginning of the year you've been noticing that Jupiter and Saturn have been steadily moving closer and closer toward the western horizon so I'm sad to say that in just a couple of weeks they will be extremely difficult to see because they'll be so close to the sun. In fact, by the end of April they'll be gone from evening skies.

But, Ta Da! they will eventually meet on the other side of the sun just before sunrise on May 31. So mark May 31 as the day when Saturn and Jupiter will finally have their rendezvous! At any rate, while you're out there this week and next watching 4,000 mile wide Mars, 88,000 wile wide Jupiter and 75,000 mile wide Saturn move closer and closer toward each other, please remember that although they look extremely close to each other from here on planet Earth, they're actually separated by incredibly great distances.Indeed, this week and next Mars is only 217 million miles away from us, whereas Jupiter is 544 million miles away. But Saturn is a whopping 928 million miles distant. Yes indeed, when it comes to the heavens, appearances are deceiving which is one of the reasons why planet watching is so incredibly fascinating. And you can see them up close through telescopes free at most science museums and planetariums this Saturday, April 8th which is National Astronomy Day! So until next time, remember to Keep Looking Up!

For graphics for this script (Click) Here


Star Gazer Minute

#00-14 M

4/3/2000 thru 4/9/2000

"The Great Mars/Jupiter/Saturn

Sky Show Reaches Its Climax!"

 

Horkheimer: Since January 1st we've been watching Mars, Jupiter and Saturn move closer and closer together week after week, until this week Mars finally catches up with Jupiter in an extremely close meeting, and then slowly moves on for its rendezvous with Saturn the weekend of the 15th when the 3 will also form the most compact trio of the bright outer planets for the year. But when will Jupiter and Saturn meet? Well, not in evening skies I'm afraid, but just before sunrise on the other side of the sun, Memorial Day. So get thee out and watch Mars as it moves from Jupiter to Saturn this week and next. And mark Memorial Day as the meeting of the 2 brightest planets. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

For graphics for this script (Click) Here


Don't miss the cartoon version of

'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of

 

 


* This week's Sky At A Glance and Planet Roundup from Sky & Telescope.
This week's Sky At A Glance displays current week only.

Starry Night Deluxe was used to produce this episode of Star Gazer








STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION



STAR GAZER is seen nationally on most PBS stations. There is a five minute and a one minute version available each week. If it is not currently on your PBS station we suggest you contact your local PBS programming director and let them know it is available free to all PBS stations. You may take STAR GAZER off satellite for personal use, classroom use, astronomy club use, etc. without written permission.

Satellite feed info:

GE 3 - PBS Transponder 512 - Digital Only!

3/24/2000 10:30 - 11:00 am Eastern time (4 shows)


 

Star Gazer is also available from

NASA CORE

A videotape of the current month is available from NASA CORE for $16.00

plus $6.00 shipping (within the U.S). Please send a VISA, MasterCard,

check, money order or an official school purchase order to the address

below:

 

NASA Central Operation of Resources for Educators

Lorain County JVS NASA CORE

15181 Route 58 South

Oberlin, OH 44074

440/775-1400

FAX 440/775-1460

nasaco@leeca.org

http://core.nasa.gov





Notice : These are working drafts of the scripts for STAR GAZER.
Changes may well be made as production requires.


 

STAR GAZER

Episode #00-15


1166th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 4/10/2000 through Sunday 4/16/2000

"Using The Big Dipper

To Find Two Wonderful Stars"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers and you know, early spring is always a good time to play the old Big Dipper - Arcturus - Spica game which is simply an easy way to find two wonderful stars in spring skies. Let me show you: O.K., we've got our skies set up for any night in April between the hours of 8 and 10 looking due north where, every April in early evening, you will see the Big Dipper almost directly above and just to the right of the North Star, its cup pointed down in such a way that if it were filled full of water, the water would be pouring out directly onto the ground below, which gives a little celestial flavor to that old saying "April Showers Bring May Flowers" because every April in early evening the celestial water dipper of the heavens is indeed pouring its water on the earth below.

Now aside from the water pouring aspect of the Dipper at this season, we can use its handle as a finder to find two stars which are absolutely wonderful. Simply draw an imaginary line through the handle of the Big Dipper and extend it in the same curve, or arc, as the handle of the Dipper, and we'll arc to the bright star Arcturus. Then if we extend that curve, that arc, from Arcturus we can speed on directly to the brightest star of Virgo the Virgin, the star Spica. Once again, using the handle and its curve we leave the outpouring Big Dipper and arc to Arcturus, and from Arcturus we speed on to Spica. And once you've found these two stars you'll know why I call them wonderful. Now while Arcturus is relatively close, only 35 light years away, Spica is almost 8 times farther away, 260 light years beyond.

But while Spica is 8 times as wide as our sun, Arcturus is a staggering 21 times as wide. Size however, isn't everything because even though Arcturus is much, much larger than Spica, it is a much, much cooler star. Its surface temperature is only 9 thousand degrees. Spica, on the other hand, has a surface temperature of 46 thousand degrees which actually makes Spica 20 times brighter than much bigger Arcturus. The reason it doesn't look as bright to us is because it's so much farther away.

But the really mind boggling thing about these two spring stars is their incredible speed in relation to our planet. You see, while more distant Spica is flying away from earth at a speed of 2,000 miles per hour. Arcturus on the contrary is racing toward Earth at the incredible speed of 12,000 miles per hour, so fast that Arcturus will eventually pass us in several thousand years. In fact, in just a few hundred thousand years Arcturus will no longer be visible to the naked eye. Wow! So before it's too late, find the Big Dipper, arc to Arcturus and speed on to Spica. Two huge wonderful stars, one running away from us and the other heading toward us and as easy to find as falling off the Big Dipper if you remember to Keep Looking Up!

For graphics for this script (Click) Here


Star Gazer Minute

#00-15 M

4/10/2000 thru 4/16/2000

"Using The Big Dipper

To Find Two Wonderful Stars"

 

Horkheimer: Want to learn an old star gazing trick to find two of the most wonderful stars of spring? Simply find the Big Dipper, then shoot an arrow through its handle and you'll come to Arcturus which is 21 times the diameter of our sun. Then continue that curved arrow and you'll come to Spica which is 8 times as wide as our sun. The really fascinating thing, however, is that while Spica is flying away from earth at a speed of 2,000 miles per hour, Arcturus is actually racing toward earth at the incredible speed of 12,000 miles per hour, so fast that Arcturus will eventually pass us and disappear from sight, in a few hundred years. So arc to Arcturus then speed on to Spica. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

For graphics for this script (Click) Here

 


Don't miss the cartoon version of

'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of

 




 
* This week's Sky At A Glance and Planet Roundup from Sky & Telescope.

This week's Sky At A Glance displays current week only.


Starry Night Deluxe was used to produce this episode of Star Gazer






STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION




STAR GAZER is seen nationally on most PBS stations. There is a five minute and a one minute version available each week. If it is not currently on your PBS station we suggest you contact your local PBS programming director and let them know it is available free to all PBS stations. You may take STAR GAZER off satellite for personal use, classroom use, astronomy club use, etc. without written permission.

Satellite feed info:

GE 3 - PBS Transponder 512 - Digital Only!

3/24/2000 10:30 - 11:00 am Eastern time (4 shows)


Star Gazer is also available from

NASA CORE

A videotape of the current month is available from NASA CORE for $16.00

plus $6.00 shipping (within the U.S). Please send a VISA, MasterCard,

check, money order or an official school purchase order to the address

below:

NASA Central Operation of Resources for Educators

Lorain County JVS NASA CORE

15181 Route 58 South

Oberlin, OH 44074

440/775-1400

FAX 440/775-1460

nasaco@leeca.org

http://core.nasa.gov




Notice : These are working drafts of the scripts for STAR GAZER.
Changes may well be made as production requires.



STAR GAZER

Episode # 00-16


1167th Show


To Be Aired : Monday 4/17/2000 through Sunday 4/23/2000

"How To Time Travel

Through The Big Dipper"
 

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers and you know, every spring you should make an effort to go out and find the most famous and best loved star pattern of all, the Big Dipper, because every spring in early evening it can be found riding at its highest above the North Star. To find it simply go out any April or May evening after it gets dark out, look due north and there you'll see it high above the horizon. Now since I was a kid I've always been fascinated with the concept of space travel. And you know whenever we look at the stars we're literally looking back in time because the stars are so far away that the light we see coming from them now actually left them a long time ago.

In fact, the stars are so incredibly far away that we have to measure their distance with a special term, a measure of distance which we call a 'light year', which is simply the the number of miles light travels in one year, which is approximately 6 trillion miles, which further means that if there were a star 6 trillion miles away from us we would be looking at the star not as it exists now, but as it existed a year ago. Well, many years ago I decided to look up the distance to each star in the Big Dipper so I'd know how far back in time I was seeing each star and here's what I found : The closest star, at the bend of the handle, Mizar, is 60 light years away which means that when we look at Mizar we see it as it actually existed 60 years ago. The star next to it and one of the cup stars are each 62 light years away. And the star where the handle attaches is 65 light years distant. We see the two remaining cup stars as they existed 75 years ago. But if you've got really good eyes you can see that the star in the bend of the handle is really two stars, and that dimmer star is 80 light years away.

Well, as I said, I tried to memorize these distances but somehow they slipped out of my brain like water out of a dipper until one night it dawned on me that with the exception of the star at the end of the handle, all the Dipper stars are between 60 and 80 light years away, 20 years of time, roughly equivalent to the final years of a person's lifetime. And as I looked up it struck me as being almost poetic that these stars, which are the very first stars most of us learn about as children, we don't really 'see' until we reach the last years of our lives. You see, although they were shining brightly on the night we were born, we have to wait a lifetime to see them as they existed way back then.

So next time you look up at the Big Dipper remind yourself, if you're still young, that some day you will see these stars as they actually existed when you first appeared on this planet, and if you're not so young, delight in the fact that you are looking back at some of the few things that appear exactly as they were in those sunlit days and star-filled nights of youth. And what about the star at the end of the handle of The Dipper? Well that's the exception. It's 110 light years away... which gives us all a star to grow on. So happy star gazing and Keep Looking Up!

For graphics for this script (Click) Here

 


Star Gazer Minute

#00-16 M

4/17/2000 thru 4/23/2000

"Time Travel Through The Big Dipper"

 

Horkheimer: Did you know that when you look at the stars you are actually time traveling? You see the stars are so incredibly far away that their light takes many years to reach us. We see each star as it existed at a certain point in time, depending upon how far away it is. In fact, when we look at the Big Dipper we see most of its stars as they existed 60 to 80 years ago because each star is between 60 and 80 light years away which strikes me as being almost poetic that these stars which are the first stars most of us learn about as children we don't really see until the last years of our lives. So if you're between 60 and 80 when you look at the Big Dipper you are seeing these stars as they actually existed when you were young. Isn't that wonderful? I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

For graphics for this script (Click) Here

 


Don't miss the cartoon version of

'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of

 


* This week's Sky At A Glance and Planet Roundup from Sky & Telescope.
This week's Sky At A Glance displays current week only.

Starry Night Deluxe was used to produce this episode of Star Gazer






STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION




STAR GAZER is seen nationally on most PBS stations. There is a five minute and a one minute version available each week. If it is not currently on your PBS station we suggest you contact your local PBS programming director and let them know it is available free to all PBS stations. You may take STAR GAZER off satellite for personal use, classroom use, astronomy club use, etc. without written permission.

Satellite feed info:

GE 3 - PBS Transponder 512 - Digital Only!

3/24/2000 10:30 - 11:00 am Eastern time (4 shows)


Star Gazer is also available from NASA CORE

A videotape of the current month is available from NASA CORE for $16.00

plus $6.00 shipping (within the U.S). Please send a VISA, MasterCard,

check, money order or an official school purchase order to the address

below:

NASA Central Operation of Resources for Educators

Lorain County JVS NASA CORE

15181 Route 58 South

Oberlin, OH 44074

440/775-1400

FAX 440/775-1460

nasaco@leeca.org

http://core.nasa.gov




Notice : These are working drafts of the scripts for STAR GAZER.
Changes may well be made as production requires.


 

 

STAR GAZER

Episode #00-17


1168th Show



To Be Aired : Monday 4/24/2000 through Sunday 4/30/2000

"The Big Planetary Lineup Brou-Ha-Ha!

You Won't Even Get Your Feet Wet!"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers and unless you've been living under a rock you've probably heard rumors of the big planetary lineup next week which according to some is supposed to bring chaos and disaster to our tiny planet earth or according to others, the beginning of a glorious new era. Well, don't hold your breath for either because unlike Radio City Music Hall's Rockettes with everyone lined up precisely in a perfect row this is more like an old fashioned conga line with everyone weaving to and fro. Let me explain:

O.K., we've got our skies set up for one month ago, April 1st just after sunset, facing west when you could see the 3 closest outer planets, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn lined up in a row. Likewise, if you went out any morning an hour before sunrise during the first 3 months of this year and looked east you would have been greeted by dazzling Venus. But next week, May 3rd and 4th, if you go out before sunrise and look east the sky will be completely devoid of planets. Likewise, if you go out after sunset Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will also be conspicuously absent and no other planets will be seen. In fact, something unusual will happen this first week of May because on May 3rd and 4th no naked eye solar system objects, which includes the planets and the moon, will be visible from sunset to sunrise, something which has not occurred for 38 years. Indeed, not since February 3rd and 4th of 1962 has the sky been so devoid of visible naked eye solar system objects. So where have they gone? Let me show you:

O.K., if we could fly way out into space high above our solar system on May 3rd and 4th we would find that the 5 naked eye planets are on the other side of the sun from earth. And many people would like to have you believe that they'd be lined up in a row, just like this: first Mercury, then Venus, Mars , Jupiter and Saturn all lined up straight in a row like soldiers at attention. There's only one problem though, it's not going to happen.

In fact, this is what it will look like on May 3rd and 4th, kind of like a very poorly organized conga line. But wait, some of the soothsayers are saying the most important day is May 17th when these planets will be even closer together. And indeed, they will be within a 20 degree span. But look at where Uranus, Neptune and Pluto will be. Isn't it just a bit suspicious that 1/3 of the planets were so conveniently left out of this so-called planetary line-up? I mean, what's the big deal? Indeed, the effect this will have on the earth's oceans is a tidal increase of less than 1/300th of an inch. So don't wait for any tidal waves, you won't even get your socks wet. As P.T. Barnum once said," There's a sucker born every minute." And all I can say is: Welcome to the 21st century when hopefully more reason and skeptical thinking will emerge. And until next time, whatever you do, remember to Keep Looking Up!

For graphics for this script (Click) Here

 


Star Gazer Minute

#00-17 M

4/24/2000 thru 4/30/2000

"The Great Planetary Lineup Brou-Ha-Ha"

 

Horkheimer: On May 3rd and 4th something will happen that has not happened for 38 years. Indeed, on those two nights not one naked eye planet, not even the moon will be visible all night long because as some sooth-sayers say, they'll be lined up in a row on the other side of the sun, portending either great disaster or a golden age. Whatever, although the naked eye planets will be on the other side of the sun, they will not be lined up like Radio City Music Hall's Rockettes, in fact, they will be spread out like this, more like a poorly organized conga line. Indeed, the effect this will have on the earth's oceans is a tidal increase of less than 1/300th of an inch. So don't wait for any tidal waves. As P.T. Barnum said, " There's a sucker born every minute." I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

For graphics for this script (Click) Here

 


Don't miss the cartoon version of

'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of

 

 


* This week's Sky At A Glance and Planet Roundup from Sky & Telescope.
This week's Sky At A Glance displays current week only
Starry Night Deluxe was used to produce this episode of Star Gazer

 



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