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!

Thursday 3/20/03 - 0930-1000 Eastern Time 4 Shows

Half Hour Feed - 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 / 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 # 03-14 / 1322nd Show
To Be Aired : Monday 4/07/2003 through
Sunday 4/13/2003

"The Closest And Brightest Full Moon Of 2003
And Mercury At Its Best For The Year On The Same Night!"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers and mark next Wednesday, April 16th, as the night when you'll see both the biggest and brightest and closest full Moon of the entire year. And planet #1, Mercury at its best for the entire year. Let me show you. O.K, we've got our skies set up for next Wednesday April 16th about 45 minutes after sunset facing west where you'll see several familiar objects. Orion the Hunter easily identified by the three equally spaced stars which make up his belt, plus two bright stars which are his shoulders and two bright stars which are his knees. And off to his right the 6th planet out from the Sun whose rings are tilted at their best for viewing in thirty years, 75,000 mile wide Saturn which is snuggled right up next to one of the two stars that mark the tips of the horns of Taurus the Bull whose bright red eye star Aldebaran glows red in the twilight. And down to its right the tiny cluster of stars which rides Taurus' shoulder, The Seven Sisters, the Pleiades and below them the tiny pink planet made almost entirely out of iron, the planet closest to the Sun, Mercury named for the swift messenger of the gods because it changes its position so swiftly in the night sky; so swiftly that if you don't catch it this week or next it will disappear as it rapidly falls back toward the Sun and is lost in its glare.

Now Mercury is called the most elusive of all the naked eye planets precisely because like a moth to a flame it spends most of its time so close to the Sun we can't see it. You see because Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun, it zips around the Sun much faster than our Earth does which is planet #3. At a distance of only 36 million miles from the Sun compared to our Earth's 93 million, Mercury makes one trip around the Sun once every 88 days compared to our Earth which makes one trip every 365 days. Which means that Mercury alternately flips east and west of the Sun as seen from Earth which results in its making several brief appearances a year alternating between the morning sky just before sunrise and the evening sky just after sunset. And next week's appearance is its best evening appearance for the entire year when Mercury reaches its farthest separation east of the Sun as seen from Earth on Wednesday the 16th. So catch the pink iron planet now.

And then after you've found it look toward the east and you'll see a spectacular full Moon rising. And in case you think it looks bigger and brighter than usual you're absolutely right because next Wednesday night we'll be treated to the closest full Moon of the year when it will be only 222,000 miles away from us which is 30,000 miles closer than the farthest full Moon of this year on December 8th. In fact next Wednesdays full Moon will be over 13% bigger and 20% brighter! So mark next Wednesday April 16th as M and M night. M for Mercury at its best and m for the closest, biggest, brightest full Moon of 2003. Who could ask for anything more? I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

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"Jack Horkheimer : Star Gazer" is underwritten by a grant from Meade Instruments, the world's largest manufacturer of telescopes for amateur astronomers. Meade telescopes automatically locate 1000's of celestial wonders at the push of a button. It's astronomy made simple.


Star Gazer Minute

#03-14M

4/07/2003 thru 4/13/2003

"The Biggest Full Moon Of The Year
And Mercury At Its Best"

Horkheimer: On Wednesday April 16th you'll see both the closest and biggest full Moon of the entire year and Mercury at its best. Just after sunset and below The Seven Sisters look for tiny pink planet # 1 Mercury at its highest for the year. Then face east and you'll see the closest, biggest and brightest full Moon of the year, only 222,000 miles away which is 30,000 miles closer than the farthest full moon of December. In fact next Wednesdays full Moon will be over 13 % bigger and 20% brighter. April 16th is M and M night. M for Mercury at its best and M for a Moon so big it'll knock your socks off. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!


How did you like this episode?
Please give us your comments. (Click Here)

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

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"Jack Horkheimer : Star Gazer" is underwritten by a grant from Meade Instruments, the world's largest manufacturer of telescopes for amateur astronomers. Meade telescopes automatically locate 1000's of celestial wonders at the push of a button. It's astronomy made simple.


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!

Thursday 3/20/03 - 0930-1000 Eastern Time 4 Shows

Half Hour Feed - 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 / 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 #03-15 /1323rd Show
To Be Aired : Monday 4/14/2003 through Sunday 4/20/2003

"Five Fine Planets And
A Star That Exploded In 1054 A.D!"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow planet gazers and would you believe, right now you can see all five of the naked eye planets. Let me show you. O.K., we've got our skies set up for next week Monday the 21st just after it gets dark out facing west. And if you have a flat unobstructed horizon you will see the first planet out from the sun, tiny 3,000 mile wide Mercury still at its best for evening viewing for the entire year. It will look very pink and will be very close to the horizon. But after next week it will be almost impossible to find. So see it now.

Up above Mercury are our old friends The Pleiades, The Seven Sisters. And up to their left Taurus the Bull with his red eye Aldebaran which will equal pink Mercury in brightness. And above Aldebaran my favorite planet, the one that still has its rings tilted at their best for viewing in 30 years, 75,000 mile wide Saturn. And just to the side of it through a small telescope you'll see an object called The Crab Nebula because in time exposure photographs it resembles a crab. In fact however, it is the giant debris field of a great star that tore itself to shreds in a gigantic supernova explosion which was actually seen and recorded in China almost a thousand years ago in July of 1054. The Crab is also famous because in 1968 astronomers found at its center the first visible object to be identified as a pulsar, a rapidly spinning neutron star which is the stellar corpse of the once great star that exploded. A stellar corpse whose material is so densely packed that a teaspoon of its substance would weigh several tons on Earth.

And if you are fortunate enough to see both The Crab Nebula and Saturn through a telescope next week keep in mind that Saturn is so close that it takes its light only 79 minutes to reach our Earth whereas The Crab is so far away it takes its light 6,500 years to reach us. Wow! Now you can not fail to notice the bright stars of Orion the Hunter off to the side of Saturn and above Saturn the twin stars of Gemini, Castor and Pollux. But just above Castor and Pollux you'll also see 88,000 mile wide Jupiter. And if you haven't seen it through a telescope please do so now.

Three planets in early evening, Mercury, Saturn and Jupiter. So where are the other two? Well to see them you'll have to get up about 45 minutes before sunrise. And if you do it next Wednesday the 23rd you'll see an exquisite last quarter Moon parked directly underneath 4,000 mile wide Mars which is rapidly brightening every single day and which is now almost 400% brighter than it was on January 1st. Look down and to Mars' left, almost due east, and you'll see the brightest planet of them all, 8,000 mile wide Venus, and on Sunday the 27th an exquisite crescent Moon will be parked just to the right of it making a cosmic picture that will be absolutely breathtaking. Mars and the Moon on Wednesday, Venus and the Moon on Sunday. Plus Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn in early evening attended by the fabulous Crab Nebula. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

How did you like this episode?
Please give us your comments. (Click Here)

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

 

"Jack Horkheimer : Star Gazer" is underwritten by a grant from Meade Instruments, the world's largest manufacturer of telescopes for amateur astronomers. Meade telescopes automatically locate 1000's of celestial wonders at the push of a button. It's astronomy made simple.



Star Gazer Minute

#03-15 M

4/14/2003 thru 4/20/2003

"Five Planets And The Crab Nebula"

Horkheimer: Right now we can see all five naked eye planets plus a stellar corpse. Just after dark face west and you'll see 3,000 mile wide Mercury, The 7 Sisters, Aldebaran, and 75,000 mile wide Saturn parked right next to The Crab nNebula which is a giant debris field of a great star that tore itself to shreds in a supernova explosion which was actually seen in 1054. And above Orion and Castor and Pollux, 88,000 mile wide Jupiter. Look east before sunrise on the 23rd for our Moon parked underneath 4,000 mile wide Mars which is now almost 400 % brighter than it was January 1st. And on the 27th a fabulous crescent Moon will be parked right next to 8,000 mile wide Venus. Keep Looking Up!


How did you like this episode?
Please give us your comments. (Click Here)


For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

"Jack Horkheimer : Star Gazer" is underwritten by a grant from Meade Instruments, the world's largest manufacturer of telescopes for amateur astronomers. Meade telescopes automatically locate 1000's of celestial wonders at the push of a button. It's astronomy made simple.

 


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!

Thursday 3/20/03 - 0930-1000 Eastern Time 4 Shows

Half Hour Feed - 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 / 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 # 03-16 / 1324th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 4/21/2003 through Sunday 4/27/2003

"Two Wonderful Stars Of Spring:
One Racing Toward Us And
The Other Speeding Away!"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. As most of you know every April I like to call attention to the Big Dipper because of its position in early evening. And also because you can use the Dipper's handle to find two of my favorite spring stars. 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 you will see the seven stars which make up the Big Dipper almost directly above and just to the right of the north star; its cup pointed down which always reminds me of that old saying, "April showers bring May flowers." because every April the Big Dipper's cup is indeed positioned in such a way that its celestial water would be showering out of the heavens down onto our Earth below.

And as any amateur star gazer can tell you, whenever the Big Dipper is high in the heavens it's easy to use its handle to find two wonderful spring stars who are as unlike as can be. So although some of you have done this a thousand times before I'm sure there are many of you who have never heard of "Arcing to Arcturus and speeding on to Spica" because that's how you can find these two wonderful stars. Simply draw an imaginary line through the handle of the Big Dipper and extend it in the same curve or arc and arc your way to the brighter of the two stars, Arcturus. Then extend that curve, that arc, from Arcturus and speed on to our second wonderful spring star Spica, the brightest star of Virgo the Virgin. Once again using the Big Dipper's handle and its curve, arc to Arcturus, then speed on to Spica.

And now that you know how to find them, I'll tell you why they're so wonderful. Super bright Arcturus is relatively close, only 35 light years away which makes it 8 times closer than Spica which is 265 light years away. And although Spica is 8 times as wide as our million mile wide Sun, Arcturus is a whopping 21 times as wide. Which would seem to be another reason Arcturus looks so much brighter. But that's not true at all! You see, even though Arcturus is much, much larger than Spica, it is a much cooler and thus intrinsically dimmer star. In fact, its surface temperature is only 9000 degrees fahrenheit whereas Spica's surface temperature is a whopping 46,000 degrees fahrenheit. Which means that if we could put Spica and Arcturus side by side, Spica would appear 20 times brighter than arcturus. The only reason Spica 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 Earth. You see Spica is flying away from us at a speed of 2000 miles per hour while Arcturus is racing toward us at the incredible speed of 12,000 miles per hour; which is so fast that Arcturus will eventually pass us. And in just a few hundred thousand years won't even be visible to the naked eye. So before it's too late, run out and find the Big Dipper, arc to Arcturus, then speed on to Spica. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

How did you like this episode?
Please give us your comments. (Click Here)

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

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"Jack Horkheimer : Star Gazer" is underwritten by a grant from Meade Instruments, the world's largest manufacturer of telescopes for amateur astronomers. Meade telescopes automatically locate 1000's of celestial wonders at the push of a button. It's astronomy made simple.


Star Gazer Minute

#03-16 M

4/21/2003 thru 4/27/2003

"Two Wonderful Spring Stars"


Horkheimer: Every April in early evening you can use the Big Dipper's handle to find two wonderful spring stars. Look north for the Big Dipper, then shoot an arrow through its handle in the same curving arc and you'll arc to Arcturus. Continue that arc and you'll speed on to Spica. Brighter Arcturus is 8 times closer than Spica and is 3 times as wide but, strangely, Spica is intrinsically much brighter because its surface temperature is 37,000 degrees hotter than Arcturus. Which means that if Spica was as close to us as Arcturus, Spica would appear 20 times brighter. What a sight that would be! I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

How did you like this episode?
Please give us your comments. (Click Here)

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

"Jack Horkheimer : Star Gazer" is underwritten by a grant from Meade Instruments, the world's largest manufacturer of telescopes for amateur astronomers. Meade telescopes automatically locate 1000's of celestial wonders at the push of a button. It's astronomy made simple.

 


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!

Thursday 3/20/03 - 0930-1000 Eastern Time 4 Shows

Half Hour Feed - 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 / 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 #03-17 / 1325th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 4/28/2003 through Sunday 5/04/2003

"The Dual Lunar Eclipses Of 2003!"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers and mark late evening May 15th and early morning May 16th on your calendar as the night of the first of the two total lunar eclipses of 2003 visible over North and South America, the second being November 9th. Let me show you. O.K., let's imagine that we're out in space looking down on our Earth, Moon and Sun. Now as most of you know, our Moon does not make its own light. Moonlight is really reflected sunlight. And one half of the Moon is lit up by the Sun at all times. Although the only time we see the half of the Moon that is completely lit up is when we have a full Moon which occurs every month whenever the Moon is directly opposite the Sun as seen from Earth.

Now usually when we have a full Moon the Moon is either above or below the plane of our Earth's orbit. But occasionally the full Moon will glide directly into our Earth's plane and will pass directly through our Earth's shadow cone which will block most of the Sun's light from reaching it. In other words our Earth's shadow will eclipse the light of the Sun. So we call such an event an eclipse. Now during an eclipse the Moon never completely disappears but always turns some weird shade of reddish-copperish-orange. And that's because the red rays of sunlight are always bent by our Earth's atmosphere into our Earth's shadow. So our shadow is always filled with a faint reddish-copperish-orange light. So during a total lunar eclipse the reddish orange color you see is actually light from all the sunrises and sunsets around the world being refracted into our Earth's shadow, then onto the Moon, and then reflected back again. And that's what you'll see Thursday night and Friday morning, May 15-16.

Now if we could look at our Earth's shadow cone more closely we would see that there are two distinct parts to it. A pale outer shadow called the penumbra and a smaller dark shadow called the umbra. The Moon will start to enter the penumbra at 9:05 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time or your local equivalent, and for the next hour it will slowly glide into it and you may see a slight dimming. But the real action begins at 10:03 when the moon starts to enter the umbra. Because as minute after minute goes by you'll actually see our Earth's curved shadow slowly creep across the moon. And as it does the Moon will gradually darken and change color. And at 11:14 p.m. total eclipse will begin and the Moon will have changed into some marvelous, unpredictable color of reddish copper orange. The deepest and most intense part of the eclipse will be at 11:40 p.m. And totality will end at 12:07 a.m. After which the whole process will reverse. And ta da! next week i'll give you tips on how to really enjoy this wonderful event and explain the mysterious moon/mars eclipse connection. In the meantime, check our website and Keep Looking Up!

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"Jack Horkheimer : Star Gazer" is underwritten by a grant from Meade Instruments, the world's largest manufacturer of telescopes for amateur astronomers. Meade telescopes automatically locate 1000's of celestial wonders at the push of a button. It's astronomy made simple.


Star Gazer Minute

#03-17 M

4/28/2003 thru 5/4/2003

"The Dual Lunar Eclipses Of 2003!"


Horkheimer: Late Thursday night May 15th and early Friday morning the 16th North America will experience the first of two total lunar eclipses for 2003. A total lunar eclipse occurs whenever the full Moon glides directly into our Earth's shadow which blocks most of the Sun's light from reaching it, because moon light is nothing more than reflected sun light. There is always however some red sun light which is bent by our Earth's atmosphere into the shadow. So during a total eclipse the Moon will always turn some strange shade of reddish-copper orange. The eclipse begins at 10:03 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time or your equivalent and ends at 1:18. Go to our website for more. Keep Looking Up!

How did you like this episode?
Please give us your comments. (Click Here)

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

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"Jack Horkheimer : Star Gazer" is underwritten by a grant from Meade Instruments, the world's largest manufacturer of telescopes for amateur astronomers. Meade telescopes automatically locate 1000's of celestial wonders at the push of a button. It's astronomy made simple.

 


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


[SmilinJack]Return to the [STAR GAZER Main Page]