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!

Friday 7/19/02 - 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 # 02-32 / 1287th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 8/5/2002 through
Sunday 8/11/2002

"Venus Meets the Moon and
The Night Of St. Lawrence's Tears"


Horkheimer: Greetings greetings, fellow star gazers. Mark this Sun-day August 11 as the night when a crescent moon cozies up to the brightest planet Venus and mark Monday night the 12th for the return of "St. Lawrence's Tears".

O.K., we've got our skies set up for Sunday night August 11th about 40 minutes after sunset facing west/southwest where you will see the brightest planet of them all, 8,000 mile wide Venus paired up with an absolutely exquisite waxing crescent moon complete with earthshine. Don't miss this because it will be absolutely beautiful. The next night Monday the 12th the moon will have gotten a little bit fatter and will be up to the right of Spica, the brightest star of Virgo.

But the best will be yet to come on Monday night because from midnight to dawn most of the northern hemisphere will experience a phenomenon seen annually for hundreds of years and which has an interesting legend associated with it. Indeed over 1,700 years ago on August 10th, 258 a.d. a young man named Lawrence was martyred. And that night as his followers carried his body away they saw dozens of streaks of light falling from the heavens which they interpreted to be the tears of their dead friend. And every year since, almost to the date the skies weep again on "The Night of St. Lawrence's Tears".

Today of course we know that these 'tears' are really meteors from the annual Perseid Meteor Shower and which this year should be very good because there'll be no moonlight to wipe out the fainter meteors because the crescent moon Monday night will have set well before midnight, the traditional time to begin meteor watching. You see at local midnight the Earth is turning toward the apparent source of the meteors, the constellation Perseus. Now although meteors look like shooting stars, nothing could be farther from the truth. Indeed meteors are simply tiny specks of comet debris slamming into our earth's atmosphere.

You see every time a comet visits our sun it leaves tons of debris in its wake. Eventually this debris gets spread out all along the comet's path, its orbit. And if our Earth plows directly into this path of comet litter tiny pieces of this debris slam into our Earth's atmosphere. And as they streak through the atmosphere traveling many miles per second, they heat up the gasses in the atmosphere around them and these gasses get so hot that they glow and look like streaks of light. And we call these pieces of streaking comet debris meteors or incorrectly, falling stars or the tears of an ancient saint.

St. Lawrence's Tears, the Perseids, are the debris of comet Swift-Tuttle, a comet which visits our Sun every 130 years and whose debris filled orbit we plow through every August. Usually the best meteor shower of the year, to see it you have to follow certain rules. #1 You must have a clear dark sky where you can see a lot of stars which means that you should be far away from city lights. #2 Lay back on a blanket or lawn chair and slowly and steadily scan the skies for at least a couple of hours, preferably from midnight to sunrise. And ta da! #3 If you have lots of patience you may see several dozen Perseids this upcoming Monday night and Tuesday morning, "The Night of St. Lawrence's Tears". 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

#02-32M

8/05/2002 thru 8/11/2002

"The Night of St. Lawrence's Tears"


Horkheimer: Mark Monday night August 12th as "The Night Of St. Lawrence's Tears". From midnight to dawn you'll see what the followers of St. Lawrence saw on the night of August 10th, 258 a.d. as they carried his martyred body away and streaks of light fell from the heavens which they in-terpreted to be his tears. And every year since almost to the date we see these tears again which are really meteors from the annual Per-seid Meteor Shower. You see every August our Earth plows directly into a path of comet debris left in the wake of Comet Swift-Tuttle and as these pieces slam through Earth's atmosphere they heat up the gasses around them and glow and if you're far from city lights you may see several dozen this year from midnight to dawn. 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!

Friday 7/19/02 - 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 #02-33 /1288th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 8/12/2002 through Sunday 8/18/2002

"The Great Mars Approach Begins!
As Mars Prepares For Its Closest Meeting
With Earth In 60,000 Years! "

Horkheimer: Greetings greetings, fellow star gazers and yes you heard right. This week Mars begins its race toward Earth, an incredible race which will culminate one year from now on August 27, 2003 when Mars will be closer than it's been since the year 57,537 B.C. which is 59, 540 years ago which in round figures means that on August 27th, 2003 Mars will be closer to us than it's been in almost 60,000 years. Let me show you.

O.K., if we could fly way out into space this week and look down at our solar system at just our Sun, Earth and Mars we would see that Mars is in line with the Sun and our Earth. In fact, last week on Saturday August 10th Mars was officially at conjunction with the Sun, which means that it was on the other side of the Sun and precisely lined up with both the Sun and our Earth, which if you think about it, means that it can't be seen from Earth because it is so close to the Sun visually.

And indeed because Mars is behind the Sun right now, it can not be seen from Earth the entire month of August. But even if we could see it, it would appear very dim because it is also at its farthest from Earth in 15 years. In fact, on Wednesday the 14th it is a whopping 248 million miles away, the farthest it's been since 1987. But it will soon be past conjunction and start moving closer and closer to earth each day for its super close approach next August when it will reach opposition and will be on a straight line with the Sun and our Earth but directly opposite Earth from the Sun, Mars' closest opposition in 60,000 years.

And you can watch it grow brighter and brighter as it comes closer and closer, wow! In fact, by New Year's Day, 2003 Mars will have come 58 million miles closer and will be 1 1/4 times brighter. On February 1st it will be only 166 million miles away and 1.5 times brighter. On March 1st, 142 million miles away and 2 times brighter. On April 1st, 116 million miles away and 3 times brighter. On May 1st, 92 million miles away and 5 times brighter. On June 1st, 70 million miles away and 9 times brighter. On July 1st, 52 million miles away and 17.5 times brighter. On August 1st only 39 million miles away and 40 times brighter and finally, ta da! on the night of its closest approach, August 27 Mars will be a mere 34 million 649 thousand miles away and will be a whopping 69 times brighter than it is this week! In fact it will be so bright it will absolutely knock your socks off.

So this week as you're out viewing the lovely 8,000 mile wide planet Venus, which is the brightest planet in our solar system and still incredibly bright in the west just after dark, remind yourself that in only one years' time the tiny 4,000 mile wide red planet Mars will, for a brief time, be the second brightest planet in the solar system. And we'll keep you posted all along the way. 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

#02-33 M

8/12/2002 thru 8/18/2002

"Mars Prepares For Its Closest Meeting
With Earth In 60,000 Years"


Horkheimer: This week Mars begins its race toward Earth which will end one year from now on August 27th, 2003 when it will be closer to Earth than it's been in almost 60,000 years. If we could look down on our Sun, Earth and Mars this week we would see that it is over 248 million miles away. But each month it will get closer and closer and brighter and brighter. By New Year's Day it will be only 190 million miles away and 1 1/4 times brighter. And each month it will close in and rapidly brighten. 5 times brighter on May 1st, 9 times brighter on June 1st, 17 times brighter on July 1st and on August 27th a mere 34 million miles away and 69 times brighter than it is this week. Wow! 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!

Friday 7/19/02 - 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 # 02-34 / 1289th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 8/19/2002 through Sunday 8/25/2002

"An Ancient Archer Aims His Arrow
At the Heart Of the Scorpion
And At The Heart Of The Galaxy"

Horkheimer: Greetings greetings, fellow star gazers. If you go out any moonless night, any August and September you will see an ancient constellation pointing the way to the hearts of two cosmic wonders. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for 9 to 10 p.m. this upcoming last week of August and first week of September when there'll be no moonlight to interfere with our stargazing. And if you go outside and look due south you will see almost everyone's two favorite star patterns of summer. The constellation which looks like the capital letter 'j' or a fish hook, Scorpius, the scorpion and directly behind it several bright stars which if connected by lines make a very nice tea pot. Now Scorpius is officially called a constellation but the teapot is not. It is called an asterism, which means that it is a small pattern of stars within a constellation.

And the constellation to which the teapot belongs is Sagittarius, a very large pattern of stars named thousands of years ago for a mythical creature called a centaur, a creature which was half man and half horse. Now this particular centaur was named Sagittarius and was known to be a great hunter and a master with the bow and arrow, a centaur archer. His bow is marked by 2 stars of the teapot's lid and the star at the bottom of the spout. The arrow goes from the top star in the handle through the farther star of the lid, with the tip of the arrow marked by the star at the tip of the spout. And if you use your imagination you can see that this arrow is aimed at the red star which marks the heart of the Scorpion, Antares, which is 700 times as wide as our Sun.

And on clear moonless nights far from city lights you'll also notice that the tip of Sagittarius' arrow is embedded in the middle of the widest and densest part of the great ribbon of light called the Milky Way. In fact if you're really far from city lights you'll be able to see the Milky Way stretched all the way from the southern horizon up to the zenith and back down to the northeast horizon.

Plus if you look more closely at Sagittarius and Scorpius you will see that all of the teapot and the bottom half of Scorpius are embedded in the Milky Way. Now some of our ancient ancestors actually suspected that the Milky Way was really the collective light of millions of stars so far away that all their light fuzzed together in a blur. But it wasn't until the in-vention of the telescope 400 years ago that this was confirmed.

And the really amazing thing about the Milky Way was not discovered until early in the 20th century when it was proven that our Sun is just one star in a family of over 200 billion stars all flying through space together in a group we call a galaxy. And although some astronomers believed that our Sun was located at the center of the galaxy, it was later discovered that we are actually about 2/3 of the way out from the center, the center being the thickest and densest part of the galaxy. And when we look at Sagittarius and Scorpius, the reason the Milky Way is thickest and widest here is be-cause the center of our galaxy lies in this direction. Indeed the tip of the ancient archer's arrow is pointed directly at it. How wonderful! 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

#02-34 M

8/18/2002 thru 8/25/2002

"An Ancient Archer Aims His Arrow
At The Heart Of the Scorpion
And At The Heart Of The Galaxy"

Horkheimer: On any moonless night in August and September you can see an ancient archer pointing the way to the center of our galaxy. Look south for the capital letter 'j', of Scorpius, and directly behind it the teapot portion of Sagittarius. Sagittarius was a mythical creature, half man and half horse, a master archer whose bow and arrow are marked by the front half of the teapot. The tip of his arrow points directly at both Antares, the red heart star of Scorpius and also at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy which is the family of 200 billion stars to which we and our Sun belong. In fact you'll notice that the Milky Way is widest in Sagittarius and Scorpius. And that's because the great bulging central hub of our galaxy is in this direction. 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!

Friday 7/19/02 - 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 #02-35 /1290th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 8/26/2002 through Sunday 9/1/2002

"The Summer Triangle Blazes Overhead
For The Labor Day Weekend"

Horkheimer: Greetings greetings, fellow star gazers. This Labor Day weekend we've got 3 very bright stars shining overhead in a wonderful triangle . 3 stars which will cap-ture not only your at-tention but your imagination. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for 9 p.m. your local time Labor Day weekend. And if you look almost overhead you'll see 3 extremely bright stars which if we could con-nect with imaginary lines would make a wonderful triangle which astronomers call the Summer Triangle. Each star is the brightest star of a separate constellation. The brightest of the 3 is Vega and it will be almost directly overhead. But even though it is the brightest of the 3, it belongs to the smallest constellation, Lyra the Harp which sports 4 stars which make an exquisite parallelogram.

Vega is the 5th brightest star visible to the naked eye in the night sky and has the distinction of being the first star ever to be photographed way back on July 16th in the year 1850 at Harvard Observatory. And it is the star toward which our Sun and all its planets, including our Earth, are moving. Vega, however, is a bit different than our Sun. It is 2 1/2 times the diameter of our million mile wide Sun and its blue white color tells us that it is much hotter than our Sun which is a relatively cool yellow-orange. In fact, Vega is 58 times brighter. And we see it not as it exists this Labor Day weekend but as it existed 27 years ago because Vega is 27 light years away which means that it's taken 27 years for its light to reach us.

The second brightest star of the triangle is Altair in the constellation Aquila the Eagle. It is almost twice as close to us as Vega, only 16 light years away which means that we see the light that left it 16 years ago. So why isn't it as bright as Vega? Simple it's much smaller than Vega, only 1 1/2 times the diameter of our Sun and only 9 times brighter.

Finally we come to the dimmest of the 3, Deneb which marks the tail of a big constellation called Cygnus the Swan. But don't let its lack of brightness fool you because it blows Vega and Altair away. You see the reason it appears dimmer is because it is 1600 light years away which means it takes 1600 years for light to travel from Deneb to Earth which means we see it not as it exists this Labor Day weekend but as it actually existed 1600 years ago around the year 400 a.d. Wow! In fact Deneb is 100 times farther away than Altair and 60 times farther away than Vega, which means that for Deneb to appear even as bright as it does it must be a humongously large and fiercely bright star. And such is the case. In fact Deneb is 116 times as wide as our Sun and is 60,000 times brighter. Double wow!

So there you have it, the 3 brightest stars of the summer triangle in order of their apparent brightness: Vega, Altair and Deneb shining brightly and almost overhead this Labor Day weekend and every Labor Day weekend. So why not make this brilliant triangle of stars a Labor Day tradition? Look for it almost overhead every Labor Day weekend from now on. After all how many really nifty Labor Day traditions are there? Have a good one. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

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

#02-35 M

8/26/2002 thru 9/1/2002

"The Summer Triangle Blazes Overhead
For The Labor Day Weekeend"

Horkheimer: Want to start a Labor Day tradition that's out of this world? Then look almost overhead at 9 p.m. and you'll see 3 very bright stars which if connected by lines make up the Summer Triangle. Vega , the brightest of the 3 in Lyra the Harp is 2 1/2 times the width of our Sun, 58 times brighter and 27 light years away. Altair the second brightest in Aquila the Eagle is only 16 light years away and 1 1/2 times the diameter of and 9 times brighter than our Sun. Deneb, the apparent dimmest of the 3 in Cygnus the Swan is dim only because it is 1600 light years away. In fact, it's a whopping 116 times our Sun's width and 60,000 times brighter! The Summer Triangle will be overhead every Labor Day weekend. So why not make it a tradition? 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]