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. Visit http://www.pbs.org/stationfinder/index.html for help in locating your local PBS station. 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!

Half Hour Feed STAH 802
Friday July 18, 2008, 1100-1130
Includes episodes 0831, 0832, 0833, 0834


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 5 MINUTE

Episode # 08-31 / 1600th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 8/04/2008 through
Sunday 8/10/2008

"Don't Miss Next Week's Night Of
St. Lawrence's Tears / Perseid Meteor Shower"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. Over 1700 years ago on August 10th, 258 A.D. a young Roman Christian named Lawrence was martyred by the emperor Valerian by being roasted alive on a grid iron. Later that night as his mourners carried his body away dozens of streaks of light fell from the sky, which prompted his friends to believe that even the heavens were weeping for him. And every year since, almost to the date, the skies weep again on what some still call "The Night Of St. Lawrence's Tears" which is next Tuesday August 12th.

Today of course we know that these tears are really meteors from the annual Perseid meteor shower. And this year it should be pretty good because the Moon will set around 1:30 a.m. so there will be no bright moon light to wipe out the faintest meteors during the best viewing time which will be between 1:30 a.m. and dawn on Tuesday the 12th. To see them get as far away from city lights as possible and have clear and very dark skies. Then simply lay back on a lawn chair or sleeping bag facing northeast. To see the most meteors you should stay up until dawn. No binoculars or telescopes are needed. Simply slowly scan the skies back and forth and up and down and you should see a couple dozen Perseid meteors or tears of St. Lawrence per hour.

Now although meteors are often called and look like shooting stars they are not. In fact meteors are simply tiny specks of comet debris slamming into our Earth's atmosphere at high speed. You see every time a comet visits our Sun it sheds tons of debris in its wake, and eventually this debris gets spread out all along the comet's path, its orbit. Then whenever our Earth plows directly into any path of comet litter, tiny pieces of this debris slam into our Earth's atmosphere at incredibly high speed. In fact the Perseid meteors hit our Earth's atmosphere about 50 to 60 miles above our Earth's surface at a speed of 37 miles per second which is 133, 000 miles per hour. Wow!

And the resulting friction heats up the gasses in the atmosphere causing them to glow, kind of the way the gas in a neon tube glows. And it is these streaks of light, which we call meteors. We do not actually see the pieces of comet debris themselves, only the gas lit paths along which they travel. Usually the best meteor shower of the year is every August when our Earth travels right through a huge stream of comet debris left in the orbit of an ancient comet named Swift-Tuttle. And the resulting meteors appear to come from the constellation Perseus thus the name Perseid meteor shower.

So this year on the morning of Tuesday August 12th grab yourself a lawn chair, head far away from city lights and watch the heavens weep once again on the night or in this case morning of St. Lawrence's tears. And the next time you're in Rome you may want to visit the church of San Lorenzo where it is said you can see the very gridiron upon which St. Lawrence supposedly met his grisly end. Keep looking up!

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Star Gazer Minute

#08-31 M

8/04/2008 thru 8/10/2008

"Don't Miss Next Week's Night Of
St. Lawrence's Tears / Perseid Meteor Shower"

Horkheimer: Mark Tuesday morning August 12th as the night of St. Lawrence's tears. From 1:30 a.m. to dawn you'll see what the followers of St. Lawrence saw on the night of August 10th, 258 A.D. because as they carried his martyred body away streaks of light fell from the sky which they interpreted to be tears from heaven. And every August since we see these tears again which are really meteors from the annual Perseid meteor shower. You see every August our Earth plows directly into a path of comet debris left in the wake of an ancient comet. And as these pieces slam through Earth's atmosphere at speeds up to 133, 000 miles per hour they heat up the gasses around them and glow. If you're far from city lights you should see a few dozen from 1:30 a.m. 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


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. Visit http://www.pbs.org/stationfinder/index.html for help in locating your local PBS station. 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!

Half Hour Feed STAH 802
Friday July 18, 2008, 1100-1130
Includes episodes 0831, 0832, 0833, 0834


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 #08-32 /1601st Show
To Be Aired : Monday 8/11/2008 through Sunday 8/17/2008

"See If You Can See All Eight Planets This Week"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. This week I'd like you to accept the eight planet challenge, which simply means that I challenge you to see all eight planets this week. Remember, Pluto got the boot! Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for the middle of this week Thursday August 14th at dusk which means there will still be a lot of light out, approximately 30 minutes after sunset facing west where if you have a clear flat horizon, you should see planet number two the super brilliant 8,000 mile wide Earth-sized Venus. And just down to its right a much dimmer light although much bigger planet, number six, the 75,000 mile wide ringed beauty Saturn. And just below it the smallest planet of them all, planet number one, dinky 3,000 mile wide Mercury. But I gotta tell you, they are so close to the horizon that it will definitely be a challenge to see them. So I suggest using a pair of binoculars, which will give you a better chance. So that's three planets which you may or may not see this week.

One you will easily be able to see however is the planet we're visiting right now and the one on which we think we've found ice at one of its poles, the rouge gold planet, number four, 4,000 mile wide Mars. To find it just hang a left at Venus. So there's four planets you may or may not have found. Now the next planet's really easy to find because all you have to do is look south and you should see with no trouble the king of the planets, number five, 88,000 mile wide Jupiter. But to see it at its best wait until it gets good and dark out and then it will absolutely knock your socks off because it was recently at its closest to Earth and still remains super bright for viewing. So that's five planets you may or may not be able to see.

The tricky ones however are the next two because if you wait until 1 a.m. and look due south and have a pair of binoculars or small telescope you will see a tiny faint bluish-green light which is planet number eight 31,000 mile wide Neptune. Which this weekend is at it's closest and brightest for the entire year only 2.7 billion miles away. Although no matter how close it ever gets you can never see it with the naked eye and you should really use a star chart to confirm its location. Next if you look almost the same distance to the left of Neptune as Jupiter is to its right with a pair of binoculars you'll also see planet number seven, 32,000 mile wide Uranus, which is also a faint blue green.

So there you have it. Jupiter, Neptune and Uranus around 1 a.m. That's three planets. And just after sunset, Venus, Saturn, Mercury and Mars. That's four planets. Four plus three is seven. But what about the eighth? Well you don't have to look up for that, simply look down at your feet for good old planet number three, our Earth. So accept our eight planet challenge and turn yourself on to the wonderful world of planet gazing. And pity poor Pluto because after being bumped out of the planet world to the status of a dwarf planet two years ago, a few weeks ago he was bumped out of being a dwarf planet to being reclassified as a plutoid. Oh the indignity of it! Keep looking up!

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Star Gazer Minute

#08-32 M

8/11/2008 thru 8/17/2008

"See If You Can See All Eight Planets This Week"

Horkheimer: I challenge you to see all eight planets this week. Thirty minutes after sunset face west where hugging the horizon you should see brilliant 8,000 mile wide Venus, 75,000 mile wide Saturn and tiny 3,000 mile wide Mercury, a pair of binoculars will help. Up to their left the wonderful red planet we're currently visiting, 4,000 mile wide Mars. Around 1 a.m. face south and super bright 88,000 mile wide Jupiter will knock your socks off. With a pair of binoculars, to its left, you'll see blue-green 31,000 mile wide Neptune which this week is at its closest and brightest for the year and to its left 32,000 mile wide Uranus. That's seven planets in the night sky. So where's the 8th? Simply look down. It's beneath your feet. Good old planet Earth. Keep looking up!


Please give us your comments. (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. Visit http://www.pbs.org/stationfinder/index.html for help in locating your local PBS station.

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!

Half Hour Feed STAH 802
Friday July 18, 2008, 1100-1130
Includes episodes 0831, 0832, 0833, 0834


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 # 08-33 / 1602nd Show

To Be Aired : Monday 8/18/2008 through Sunday 8/24/2008

"Next Week Is The Perfect Time To See
The Milky Way In All Its Wonder"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. Everyone has heard of the Milky Way but most people who live in brightly lit up urban areas have seldom seen it. So I'm suggesting that next week when there will be no bright moonlight out that you head out far from city lights where it's good and dark out in early evening to show your kids and yourself this wonderful ribbon of light that has fascinated millions of human beings for thousands of years.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for any clear night next week far from city lights between 9 and 10 p.m. facing north where you'll see five bright stars, which if we connect with lines, trace out a squashed out capital letter "w" or "m' on its side. This is the constellation Cassiopeia named for an ancient Ethiopian queen. And if you're far from city lights next week you'll have no trouble seeing what looks like a faint milky white cloud behind Cassiopeia. But this cloud is different because if you look at it carefully you will notice that it continues up beyond Cassiopeia to overhead where you'll see three much brighter stars, two in front of the cloud and one just off to the side. Vega, Deneb and Altair. And if we connect them with lines we trace out a great triangle, which is called the Summer Triangle. And between 9 and 10 next week it will be almost directly overhead celebrating late summer.

Next turn yourselves around so that you're facing south and you'll notice that after this milky cloud arches across the top of the sky it continues, downward toward the southern horizon. And close to the southern horizon you'll notice that it gets much thicker and wider. And several bright stars, which if connected by lines make up the teapot portion of Sagittarius, are directly in front of this cloud. You'll also see several more stars, which trace out the fish hook shaped constellation Scorpius the scorpion. And his tail and stinger are also embedded within this cloud. And it is this great cloud arching across the heavens from north to south that is the fabled Milky Way.

But now that you know how to find it, do you know what it actually is? Well if you look at it closely with binoculars you will see thousands of tiny pinpoints of light, each of which is a star so far away that their combined light fuzzes together into this milky blur; thus the name the Milky Way, which many ancient peoples believed was the heavenly pathway to the afterlife.

Today we know that when we look at the Milky Way we are looking at the plane of our galaxy, the family of stars to which our Sun belongs, a family of over 200 billion stars, of which our Sun is just one. We are located about 2/3rds of the way out from the bulging center. And when we look at Sagittarius and Scorpius we are actually looking toward the bulging center, which is why the Milky Way looks wider here. Conversely when we look toward Cassiopeia we are looking out toward our galaxies thinner edge. So see this wonder of the universe yourself as it stretches from Cassiopeia up through the Summer Triangle then down through Sagittarius and Scorpius. Keep looking up!


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Please give us your comments. (Click Here)

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Star Gazer Minute

#08-33 M

8/18/2008 thru 8/24/2008

"Next Week Is The Perfect Time To See
The Milky Way In All Its Wonder"

Horkheimer: Next week will be great to see the Milky Way because there will be no moonlight to hide it. Get far from city lights between 9 and 10, face north and behind the constellation Cassiopeia you'll see a milky white cloud, a ribbon of light which runs up through Cassiopeia to the three bright stars of the Summer Triangle overhead and then down toward the south where it widens out behind the teapot of Sagittarius and the fish hook shape of Scorpius. This milky path across the sky is actually the combined light of billions of stars, which make up our family of stars, the Milky Way Galaxy. We're located 2/3rds of the way out from the center. When we look at Sagittarius and Scorpius we are looking toward the center, when we look at Cassiopeia we are looking towards its outer edge. Keep looking up!


How did you like this episode?
Please give us your comments. (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. Visit http://www.pbs.org/stationfinder/index.html for help in locating your local PBS station.

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!

Half Hour Feed STAH 802
Friday July 18, 2008, 1100-1130
Includes episodes 0831, 0832, 0833, 0834


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 # 08-34 / 1603rd Show

To Be Aired : Monday 8/25/2008 through Sunday 8/31/2008

"Celebrate September With A Triangle Of Planets!
And Love And War Meet"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. And what a way to begin a new month because during the first two weeks of September we'll be able to watch a triangle of planets get smaller and smaller resulting in two of the planets almost slamming into each other visually on the evenings of the 10th and the 11th. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for this Labor Day weekend facing west about 30 minutes after sunset while it's still light out. And if you have a clear really flat unobstructed horizon you'll see three lights, the brightest of which is planet number two, the most brilliant planet of them all, earth sized, 8,000 mile wide Venus. And off to its side planet number one, often called the pink planet, dinky 3,000 mile wide Mercury. And just up and to the left much dimmer, rouge gold, 4,000 mile wide Mars.

Now if you draw imaginary lines between them they will make a wonderful triangle. There's a catch however. In order to see them so close to the horizon you'll have to look while it's still light out and thus they won't look as bright as when it's dark out. The problem is that by the time it gets dark out they will have set. So look carefully for them and believe me binoculars will really help.

Now on Labor Day Monday September 1st a two day old Moon will join the triangle but you'll really need a pair of binoculars to see this. So wait until Tuesday night when the Moon is a bit bigger and much higher in the sky and hovers just below Spica the brightest star of Virgo. Of course the easiest night to find it will be Wednesday September 3rd when it will be much higher. Then as you watch from day to day you will notice that Mars and Venus will rapidly approach each other.

Indeed on Sept. 3rd Mars and Venus will be 4 and 3/4 degrees apart which means that only 9 1/2 full Moons lined up end to end could fit between them. But by Sunday the 7th only 4 1/2 full Moons could fit between them. Monday the 8th, 3 1/2 full Moons, Tuesday the 9th, 2 1/2 full Moons, Wednesday the 10th, one and a half full Moons and ta da! On Thursday the 11th, Venus and Mars will be so close, only 3/10ths of one degree apart, that less than one half a full Moon could fit between them. Wow! And this is a sight you'll really want to see through a pair of binoculars.

Of course we must remember that this incredible ballet of the planets is all an optical illusion as seen from our platform in space we call planet Earth. In fact on September 11th Mercury will be 88 million miles away from Earth whereas Venus will be 50 million miles farther away, 138 million miles distant. And although Mars will appear to be extremely close to Venus it will be a whopping 227 million miles away, almost twice as far away as Venus.

Also remember these three planets plus our Earth are the four planets closest to the Sun and also the four smallest planets. So there you have it, starting this Labor Day weekend three planets in a triangle moving closer to each other accompanied by a Moon and eventually ending in a super close meeting of the planet named for the goddess of love and the planet named for the god of war. One of the few times we can say it's fun to watch love and war meet. Keep looking up!


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Star Gazer Minute

#08-34 M

8/25/2008 thru 8/31/2008

"Celebrate September With A Triangle Of Planets!
And Love And War Meet"

Horkheimer: Celebrate September, with a triangle of planets plus watch two planets slam into each other. This Labor Day weekend face west during twilight and you'll see 8,000 mile wide Venus, 3,000 mile wide Mercury and 4,000 mile wide Mars, a perfect triangle which will get smaller every night. And joined by a Moon on September 1st, September 2nd and September 3rd. On the 3rd Mars and Venus will be only 9 1/2 full Moons apart but by the 7th only 4 1/2 full Moons apart, on the 8th, 3 1/2 full Moons, the 9th, 2 1/2 full Moons, the 10th, 1 1/2 full Moons. But then ta da! On Thursday the 11th, Venus and Mars will be so close only one half a full Moon could fit between them. Wow! Keep looking up!


Please give us your comments. (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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