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!

7/20/2000 9:30 - 10:00 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 / 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 # 00-32 /1183rd Show
To Be Aired : Monday 8/7/2000 through Sunday 8/13/2000

"The One Hour Perseid Comet Litter

Meteor Shower!"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers and once again it is time for the annual Perseid Comet Litter Meteor Shower which this year will be visible for only an hour to an hour and a half before sunrise this Saturday morning August 12th. Why so short a time? When last year's Perseid meteor shower was visible almost all night long? Simple, last year we had no moon whatsoever so the skies were good and dark. But this year bright moonlight floods the sky all of the night of the 11th and most of the morning of the 12th. In fact, the moon doesn't set until about 90 minutes before morning twilight, the 12th, so it really won't be dark enough until then to see a lot of Perseids? Let me show you:

Simply go outside about 90 minutes before morning twilight this Saturday. Rule No. 1, make sure it's clear out. Rule No. 2, get as far away from city lights as possible because even though you may see a handful of the brightest meteors from city locations, nevertheless city lights like bright moonlight flood the sky with so much sky glow that most meteors will be hidden from view. Rule No.3, observe while lying on the ground on a blanket or in a lawn chair. Rule No. 4, simply lie back and constantly scan the entire sky with just the naked eye... no binoculars, no telescopes. And if you have plenty of patience you should see a few Perseids, which have been seen every year at this time for at least 2,000 years. But, you may ask, what exactly causes the Perseid Meteor Shower?

Well, although all meteors look like and are incorrectly called shooting stars, in reality meteors are nothing more than tiny pieces of comet debris which slam into our earth's atmosphere at such high speeds, over 40 miles per second, that the friction which they create with our earth's atmosphere causes them to burn up and makes the gases in the atmosphere which surround each piece glow as they plunge toward earth. And although we can see a few meteors almost every night of the year, every so often, just like clockwork, our earth plows directly into great rivers of comet debris in space and we experience a lot more meteors than usual. We call such events meteor showers and every year in August our earth slams into one of these great rivers of comet debris created by a comet named Swift-Tuttle. So why don't we call this the Swift-Tuttle Meteor Shower?

Simple, people have been observing this meteor shower for a couple thousand years and we've only discovered the comet connection in the past couple of hundred years. The Perseids are called the Perseids because the meteors all look as if they're coming from the ancient constellation Perseus. So get thee outside an hour and a half before morning twilight this Saturday morning and every time you see a Perseid streak across the sky remind yourself that what you're actually seeing is a tiny piece of comet Swift-Tuttle plunging to its fiery death which is one more good reason to Keep Looking Up!

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

 


Star Gazer Minute

#00-32 M

8/7/2000 thru 8/13/2000

"The One-Hour-Only

Perseid Meteor Shower"

 

Horkheimer: Every year during the first week of August our earth plows into a great river of debris left floating in space by Comet Swift-Tuttle and when those tiny pieces of comet litter slam into our earth's atmosphere at speeds of 40 miles per second they burn up and flash across the sky and create what we call the annual Perseid Meteor Shower, so called because they appear to come from the constellation Perseus. This year will be a short shower however because the moon will be up almost all night wiping out most of the meteors. So go out 90 minutes before dawn Saturday the 12th, lie back in a lawn chair and if you're far from city lights you should see a few bright ones. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

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!

7/20/2000 9:30 - 10:00 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 / 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 #00-33 /1184th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 8/14/2000 through Sunday 8/20/2000

"Using The Moon To Find

Four Planets In Late Summer Skies"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. You know, since summer isn't over yet and most children haven't returned to school, the next two weeks will be a great time to use the moon for planet finding, not only in early evening, but late at night and just before sunrise. Let me show you. O.K., we've got our skies set up for early Tuesday morning, August 22nd about an hour after midnight, 1 a.m., looking east where you will see an almost last quarter moon, 2 bright planets and a bright star. The object closest to the moon is the 6th planet out from the sun, the beautiful ringed planet, 75 thousand mile wide Saturn and down to Saturn's left, much brighter, closer and bigger, the 5th and king of the planets, 88 thousand mile wide Jupiter, and just popping up over the horizon the bright red star which marks the fierce eye of Taurus the Bull, 30 million mile wide Aldebaran, a star so huge that we could fit 470 trillion earths inside it. or 36 million Jupiters. Yet it is so far away Jupiter appears to out shine it. In fact, while Jupiter will be only 471 million miles away the night of the 22nd, Aldebaran will be almost 1 million times farther away, 390 trillion miles! Wow!

Now the next night will be even better for viewing because at 1 a.m. Wednesday the 23rd the last quarter moon will make a perfect triangle with Jupiter and Aldebaran. Plus if you stay up almost until dawn you'll be able to watch the moon move closer and closer to Aldebaran and about an hour before sunrise they'll form an almost straight line with Jupiter. Don't miss this please. And if you've got really sharp eyesight you just may be able to see Mars just above the horizon. In fact, you'll be able to watch the waning crescent moon slowly approach Mars on Thursday the the 24th, Friday the 25th, Saturday the 26th and on Sunday the 27th, an exquisite crescent complete with earthshine will hover just above Mars. Now for the very lucky few of you who happen to have completely flat horizons and absolutely clear skies you may see a one day before new moon underneath Mars Monday the 28th, but you're really going to have to look hard to catch that one.

Once again: 1 a.m., the 22nd, 1 a.m., the 23rd, an hour before sunrise the 23rd, the 24th, the 25th, 26th,27th, and if you're lucky the 28th. Plus, for those of you who don't like midnight and early morning viewing, we do have a goodie for you just after sunset in twilight Wednesday evening August 30th when you will see, close to the western horizon, an exquisite waxing crescent moon complete with earthshine just above the brilliant returning planet Venus, a sight you absolutely won't want to miss. So there you have it, 4 planets in late August skies. What a beautiful way to herald the end of summer. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

 

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

 


Star Gazer Minute

#00-33 M

8/14/2000 thru 8/20/2000

"Two Planets And A Giant Star"

 

Horkheimer: To find the 2 largest planets and a humongous star go out any morning an hour before sunrise, look high in the southeast and you will see the 2 largest planets, 75 thousand mile wide Saturn and 88 thousand mile wide Jupiter, still as close as they'll be for almost 30 years, and below Jupiter the humongous 30 million mile wide red star Aldebaran, a star so huge we could fit 36 million Jupiters inside it. On Tuesday morning the 22nd an almost last quarter moon will be to the right of the 3, but the real show is on Wednesday the 23rd when the last quarter moon hovers between Jupiter and Aldebaran. Don't miss this. Mark Wednesday the 23rd as the day you have to get up before the chickens. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

 

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

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!

7/20/2000 9:30 - 10:00 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 / 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 # 00-34 / 1185th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 8/21/2000 through Sunday 8/27/2000

"A City Of Stars In Summer Skies"
 

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. About 250 years ago before the U.S. of A. was officially born, a Frenchman by the name of Charles Messier spent a great deal of his lifetime looking for comets, but he had a problem. He was troubled with what environmentalists today might call "false comet sky pollution". You see, when comets are far away from earth and newly discovered they look like tiny fuzzy clouds in the night sky, like dim little Q-tips. And 250 years ago, just like today, astronomers hunted for these fuzzy clouds through their telescopes and then mapped their slow movement across the sky from night to night, week to week, hoping that they would get brighter and brighter and brighter and finally become visible to the naked eye and take the shape so familiarly known to all of us as comets.

There was however one big problem for comet hunters in the 18th century because as Messier discovered several of the fuzzy Q-tip-like dim clouds he saw in his telescope never changed their position in the sky relative to the to the stars and never got any brighter or dimmer or changed size. He had no idea what these "false comets" so he decided to map them and label them on star charts so that he and future comet hunters wouldn't be fooled by them. And eventually he came up with a list of the fuzzy cloud like objects which were not comets which he called nebulae. And today they are still known as the Messier or "M" objects. And every summer number 13 on his list, M-13 is available for our viewing pleasure. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for any night the next couple of weeks about about 10 p.m. your local time and if you look directly overhead you will see the 3 bright stars of the Summer Triangle: Vega, Deneb and Altair. Then if you look toward the west you will see the brightest star of Bootes the Herdsman, Arcturus. And to find Messier's 13th "false comet", his 13th nebula, simply draw as imaginary line between Arcturus and Vega and if your skies are fairly dark, half way between Arcturus and Vega you will see that very same dim fuzzy Q-Tip shaped tiny cloud like object that Messier saw and charted in 1764, M-13, which today is the most famous object in the constellation Hercules. And if you have a hard time finding it with the naked eye then use a pair of binoculars.

Now although Charles Messier didn't live to discover the true nature of M-13, today we know it for what it really is. And through even a moderate sized amateur telescope it is absolutely mind blowing. Indeed, this fuzzy ball is a gigantic city of stars which astronomers call a globular cluster. It consists of a quarter to a half million suns all revolving about a common center of gravity. And although it looks like a tightly packed ball of stars, nothing could be farther from the truth. It's actually 150 light years wide. It only looks compact because it is so far away, 24 thousand light years. Indeed, the light we see coming from it this summer left it 24 thousand years ago. No wonder M-13 is also called the Great Hercules Cluster. Herculean indeed, and yours for the viewing if you just Keep Looking Up!

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

 


Star Gazer Minute

#00-34 M

8/21/2000 thru 8/27/2000

"A City Of Stars In Summer Skies"

 

Horkheimer: Go out around 10 p.m. the next couple of weeks, look overhead for the brightest star of the Summer Triangle, Vega. then draw a line from it to the brightest star in the west, Arcturus, and half way between these stars if you have dark skies you'll see a tiny Q-tip shaped fuzzy cloud. Binoculars will help. 250 years ago comet hunter Charles Messier put this cloud on a list as #13 of what he called 'false comets'. Today however, we know that M-13 is far grander than the grandest of comets. Indeed it is a vast ball 150 light years wide of half a million suns, all revolving about a common center of gravity and so far away that the light we see coming from it this summer left it 24 thousand years ago. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

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!

7/20/2000 9:30 - 10:00 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 / 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 #00-35 /1186th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 8/28/2000 through Sunday 9/3/2000

"Vega: The Brightest and Most Wonderful Star

Of The Summer Triangle"

Horkheimer:Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. Have you ever looked up at the night sky and wondered what direction we're headed? I mean, all the stars are flying through space at different speeds and since our sun is also a star, it too is flying through space. So what direction are we headed? Let me show you:

O.K., we've set up our skies for any clear night the next couple of weeks around 10 p.m. your local time and if you look almost straight up overhead you will see a very bright star almost at the zenith. That bright star is the fifth brightest star we can see from earth and its name is Vega. And it is the brightest of the three bright stars that make up the Summer Triangle. In fact, it is so bright and obvious when it's overhead that it has been called the arc light of summer nights. Its blue-white color tells us that it is blue-white hot which is much hotter than our own yellow-orange sun. In fact, compared to our sun's temperature of 10 thousand degrees Fahrenheit Vega burns a fierce 19 thousand degrees. Vega is also much larger than our sun for while our sun is 856 thousand miles wide, Vega is 2 million miles wide. And if we could place Vega and our sun side by side Vega would shine 58 times brighter. Talk about getting a suntan in a hurry!

But one of the really nifty things about Vega is that although it is far away from the North Star, Vega was itself the north star 14,500 years ago. You see, due to a regular wobbling motion of our earth which is sort of like a top slowing down, our earth's axis doesn't always point to the star we call our North Star. In fact, our Earth's axis traces a great circle on the sky and approximately once every 26,000 years it points to Vega. So 14,500 years ago Vega was the north star of our cave man ancestors and it will once again be the north star of our progeny 11,500 years in the future. And if you haven't guessed it already, Vega is the star in whose direction our sun and all its planets, including our earth, are headed. Indeed, our sun and earth are racing at the incredible speed of 12 miles per second towards Vega. And even though Vega is only 27 light years away, nevertheless at this speed it would take our sun almost 500 million years to reach Vega. So some night soon go out around 10 o'clock and look almost overhead and see if you can feel, in your mind's eye, our earth and all of us on it zooming through space toward Vega. And imagine at the same time that in only 11,500 years it will once again be our north star. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

 

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

 


Star Gazer Minute

#00-35 M

8/28/2000 thru 9/3/2000

"Destination Vega"

 

Horkheimer: Ever wonder where you're going ... what direction you're headed? Well I can tell you exactly where, astronomically speaking. Go out any clear night the next couple of weeks around 10 p.m., look almost straight overhead and you will see the 5th brightest star we can see from earth, the brightest star of the Summer Triangle, Vega. It's 2 1/2 times the size of our sun and shines 58 times brighter. And our sun and earth are racing toward it at the incredible speed of 12 miles per second. So the next time you're feeling lost and don't know what direction you're going, go outside, look up at Vega and at least you'll know where you're headed among the stars. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

 

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

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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