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

7/26/99 10:30 - 11:30 am Eastern time (5 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:

 

Lorain County JVS - NASA CORE

15181 Route 58 South

Oberlin, OH 44074

440/775-1400

FAX 440/775-1460

nasaco@leeca.esu.k12.oh.us

http://spacelink.nasa.gov/CORE

 

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


STAR GAZER

Episode # 99-31

1130th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 8/2/99 through

Sunday 8/8/99

"Don't Miss Next Week's Perseid Meteor Shower Because This Year Conditions Are Ideal For It"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings, fellow star gazers and yes indeed, next Thursday night August 12th from just after it gets dark out until dawn Friday morning the 13th conditions will be ideal for observing the annual Perseid meteor shower which is usually one of the best meteor showers of the year. Now by ideal conditions , I mean that this year there'll be no Moon light whatsoever to interfere with the shower because whenever there's a bright Moon in the sky, 90% of the meteors are hidden from view. So if you follow a few simple observing rules you should see a very nice show. Let me show you.

O.K., Simply go outside late next Thursday night until dawn friday morning, after midnight you'll usually see more meteors. Rule #1 : "Make sure it's clear out" because if it's clouded over or raining you won't see one single meteor. Rule #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 Moonlight, flood the sky with so much sky glow that nowadays 75% of all meteors in a meteor shower are hidden from view by urban sky glow. Rule #3 : "Observe while lying on the ground on a blanket or in a lawnchair". Rule #4 : "Stay outside for at least a couple of hours, preferably after midnight and have plenty of patience." If you follow these rules, you should see several meteors per hour. Simply lay back and constantly scan the sky and usually when you least expect it a meteor or even two will zip across the sky.

Now although some astronomy periodicals will tell you that you may see 60 meteors per hour which would boil down to about one a minute, meteors really don't operate on a time schedule. You may see ten of them in two minutes and then have to wait for 20 minutes to see more. But that's the fun of it, because each meteor is a total surprise. Now although meteors look like and are often called "shooting stars" nothing could be farther from the truth. You see meteors are nothing more than tiny pieces of comet debris, comet litter which slam into the Earth's atmosphere at such high speeds, over 135 thousand miles per hour that friction with the Earth's atmosphere causes them to burn up and makes the gases in the Earth's upper atmosphere which surround the speck glow as the speck plunges toward Earth.

Now although we can see a few meteors almost every night of the year, every so often, just like clock work our Earth slams right into great clouds of comet debris in space. And one of these clouds of comet debris, left floating in space by a comet named Swift-Tuttle lies directly in the path of our Earth's orbit. And every year in early August our Earth slams right into that cloud of comet litter. And when that happens we say we are experiencing the Perseid meteor shower, so named because the meteors all look as if they're coming from the constellation Perseus. So get thee outside late next Thursday evening and early Friday morning. And every time you see a meteor streak across the sky remind yourself that what you're actually seeing is a tiny piece of a comet plunging to its fiery death, which is one more good reason to Keep Looking Up!

For graphics for this script (Click) Here


Star Gazer Minute

#99-31 M

8/2/99 thru 8/8/99

"Getting Ready For Next Week's

Perseid Meteor Shower"

 

Horkheimer: Greetings, fellow stargazers, if you'd like to see pieces of an old comet streak across the night sky then go outside next Thursday the 12th from 10 p.m. through dawn Friday the 13th. And if you're far away from city lights you may see dozens of pieces of comet debris streak across the heavens. You see every year in August our Earth plows into a great cloud of comet litter and as these tiny pieces plunge through Earth's atmosphere at speeds over 135,000 miles per hour they burn up and leave glowing streaks which are called meteors or shooting stars, in this case, the Perseid Meteor Shower, which is usually the best of the year. I'm Jack Horkheimer reminding you to Keep Looking Up!

For graphics for this script (Click) Here


Don't miss the cartoon version of

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* 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

7/26/99 10:30 - 11:30 am Eastern time (5 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:

 

Lorain County JVS - NASA CORE

15181 Route 58 South

Oberlin, OH 44074

440/775-1400

FAX 440/775-1460

nasaco@leeca.esu.k12.oh.us

http://spacelink.nasa.gov/CORE





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


 

STAR GAZER

Episode #99-32


1131st Show

To Be Aired : Monday 8/9/99 through Sunday 8/15/99

"Mercury and The Gemini Twins

and The Heliacal Rising of The Dog Star"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings, fellow star gazers and just a quick reminder for those of you watching this show early in the week, that you can see what should be a better than usual Perseid meteor shower this Thursday night after dark through Friday morning at dawn, if it's clear out and you get far away from city lights. Now the best viewing is usually after midnight, because that's when our side of the Earth rides directly into the meteor stream. And if you're still out just before sunrise you can also see some very nifty things. Let me show you.

O.K., We've got our skies set up for this weekend Saturday August 14th and if you look just a little bit to the south of east you'll see winter's famous constellation Orion the Hunter making a pre-seasonal preview, easy to recognize by the three equally spaced stars in a row which make up his belt. Now if you shoot an arrow through his belt straight down to the horizon you should see the brightest star visible to the naked eye, Sirius the dog star, rise just as the Sun rises. You see every year, in early August, Sirius, the dog star, makes its reappearance over the horizon just as the Sun rises. Astronomers call this the heliacal rising of Sirius, the word 'heliacal' refers to the Sun from the Greek word for the Sun 'helios'. Now thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt this heliacal rising of the dog star was very important.

In fact, astronomer priests all over ancient Egypt would go out every morning and wait for the first day they could see the dog star rising just as the Sun rose. Because way back then this always occurred at approximately the same time that the waters of the Nile rose and flooded the lands along the river thus making them suitable for planting crops. In fact, there were great sticks with markings on them lined up all along the Nile to constantly measure the height of the river because if the Nile didn't rise every year at the right time crops couldn't be planted and famine would occur and did, which most of us have read about in the Old Testament. And just coincidentally, it was discovered that when the brightest star in the heavens rose with the Sun, the Nile would start to rise a few days later.

So this heliacal rising of Sirius was a sign from the gods to the ancient Egyptians and was extremely important to them. Even today pieces of the myths surrounding the heliacal rising of the dog star remain in our culture because as the ancient Romans observed, whenever the dog star rises with the Sun, the dog days of summer will soon follow, days when the heat is so intense that dogs were said to go mad in the streets of Rome. In fact, even today you'll hear people talking about the dog days of summer which still occur in August about the time of the heliacal rising of Sirius.

But there's something else you can see this weekend and next week, about an hour before sunrise. Look just a little bit to the north of east where you will see the two brightest stars of Gemini, Castor and Pollux. Then draw a line down through them and you'll spot the elusive pink planet Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun which will be at its best for viewing this weekend through the end of next week. And if you'd like to see the little dog star simply look due east between Mercury and Sirius for Procyon, the eye of Orion's little dog. What a great time for sky gazing if you remember to Keep Looking Up

For graphics for this script (Click) Here


Star Gazer Minute

#99-32 M

8/9/99 thru 8/15/99

"The Dog Days Of Summer!"

 

Horkheimer: Greetings, have you ever wondered where that phrase, "The Dog Days of Summer", came from? Well, back in ancient Egypt, astronomer priests began their calendar on the day when 'the dog star', Sirius rose with the Sun. Then the ancient Romans later discovered that when 'the dog star' rose with the Sun the hottest days of summer occurred and dogs went mad from the heat in Roman streets, thus the phrase, "Dog Days of Summer". Check it out for yourself. Go out next week. Look east just before sunrise, shoot an arrow through Orion's belt towards the ground and you should see the brightest star of them all, Sirius 'the dog star', rise with Sun just as the ancient Egyptians and Romans did. I'm Jack Horkheimer reminding you to Keep Looking Up!

For graphics for this script (Click) Here


Don't miss the cartoon version of

'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of

 

To Subscribe

(only $26.95 for 9 issues)

contact

'ODYSSEY'

30 Grove Street

Suite C

Peterborough, NH 03458

or Click Here




 
* 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

7/26/99 10:30 - 11:30 am Eastern time (5 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:

 

Lorain County JVS - NASA CORE

15181 Route 58 South

Oberlin, OH 44074

440/775-1400

FAX 440/775-1460

nasaco@leeca.esu.k12.oh.us

http://spacelink.nasa.gov/CORE




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



STAR GAZER

Episode # 99-33


1132nd Show


To Be Aired : Monday 8/16/99 through Sunday 8/22/99

"How To Use Mars To Find

The Two Most Tongue Twisting Stars

In The Cosmos"
 

Horkheimer: Greetings greetings, fellow star gazers. And this week and next you can use the planet Mars to find two stars whose names everyone just loves to pronounce. Let me show you. O.K., We've got our skies set up for any night for the next couple of weeks, just after it gets dark out. And if you look south you will see the giant fish hook shaped constellation Scorpius the Scorpion. Now for the next two weeks up and to the right of the top of the fish hook of Scorpius you'll see bright rouge-gold 4,000 mile wide Mars. And just off to its right two semi bright stars with some of the strangest sounding names in the heavens. The one closest to mars is Zubenelgenubi which in Arabic means "The Southern Claw". And right above it is Zubeneschamali which means " The Northern Claw".

And a couple thousand years ago they were a part of the constellation Scorpius and were indeed his claws; but Julius Caesar and his cronies came along and chopped them off and turned them into Libra the Scales, the symbol of Roman justice. Which to my way of thinking was a pretty unjust thing to do to poor old Scorpius. At any rate, these two stars are wonderful and although they appear visually to be the same brightness from Earth they are actually very, very different. For instance, Zubenelgenubi is about 65 light years away from our planet earth and shines 25 times brighter than our own sun, and it is approaching us at the incredible speed of 6 miles per second.

And upon closer examination we also find that Zubenelgenubi is not just one, not even two, but three stars, two of which are so close together they orbit each other once every 20 days. On the other hand, or other claw I should say, Zubeneschamali, "The Northern Claw", is over twice as far away as Zubenelgenubi, 140 light years distant. So the reason it appears as bright to us as Zubenelgenubi is because it is actually 6 times brighter than Zubenelgenubi which further means that it is over 150 times brighter than our Sun. And it is speeding toward us 4 times faster than Zubenelgenubi at a rate of 21 miles per second. Zubeneschamali is also the center of a centuries old debate.

You see, over 2 thousand years ago it was listed as the brightest of all the stars of the Scorpion, even brighter than Antares. A few centuries later, however, the great astronomer Ptolemy described Antares as equal to Zubeneschamali in brightness. But today Antares appears 5 times brighter. Has Zubeneschamali dimmed over the past 2 thousand years? Or, conversely, has Antares gotten much, much brighter? No one knows for sure. At any rate, use Mars this week and next to find these two wonderful tongue twisters. It's as easy as saying Zubenelgenubi and Zubeneschamali if you just remember to Keep Looking Up!

For graphics for this script (Click) Here

 


Star Gazer Minute

#99-33 M

8/16/99 thru 8/22/99

"Zubenelgenubi and Zubenschamali"

 

Horkheimer: Greetings, if you'd like to find the two most tongue twisting stars in the heavens, look south after dark, for the fish hook shaped constellation Scorpius the Scorpion and up to its right the red planet Mars. Then to Mar's right the star Zubenelgenubi which in Arabic means "The Southern Claw" and right above it, Zubeneschamali, "The Northern Claw". Now long ago these two stars were the scorpion's claws but then Julius Caesar chopped them off and turned them into lLbra, the symbol of Roman justice, which to my way of thinking was a pretty unjust thing to do to poor old Scorpius. Even so, if claws in name only, it's still fun to say Zubenelgenubi and Zubeneschamali. I'm Jack Horkheimer reminding you to Keep Looking Up!

For graphics for this script (Click) Here


Don't miss the cartoon version of

'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of

 

To Subscribe

(only $26.95 for 9 issues)

contact

'ODYSSEY'

30 Grove Street

Suite C

Peterborough, NH 03458

or Click Here


* 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

7/26/99 10:30 - 11:30 am Eastern time (5 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:

 

Lorain County JVS - NASA CORE

15181 Route 58 South

Oberlin, OH 44074

440/775-1400

FAX 440/775-1460

nasaco@leeca.esu.k12.oh.us

http://spacelink.nasa.gov/CORE



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


 

 

STAR GAZER

Episode #99-34


1133rd Show



To Be Aired : Monday 8/23/99 through Sunday 8/29/99

"The Two Marvelous Star Clusters

That Ride Above The Scorpion's Tail!"

Horkheimer: Greetings greetings, fellow star gazers and while last week I showed you how to find Zubenelgenubi and Zubeneschamali, the two wonderful stars that ride across the heavens in front of the scorpion, this week I'd like to show you how to find two incredible clusters of stars that ride across the heavens in back of the scorpion.

O.K., We've got our skies set up for any night for the next couple of weeks just after it gets good and dark out. And if you simply look due south you will see a fish hook shaped group of stars close to the horizon, which are the brightest stars of Scorpius the Scorpion. And as I showed you last week, to the right of the top of the scorpion you'll see yellowish gold Mars and to Mars' right the two tongue twisting stars Zubenelgenubi and Zubeneschamali, the former claws of the scorpion.

But this week I'd like you to turn your attention to the stars which mark its stinger because ,just above them, if you don't have too much city light around you, you can see what looks like two tiny fuzzy clouds which astronomer Stephen O'meara says resemble the heads of lost comets. To me they look like two dim cotton balls riding above the scorpion's tail. But whatever they look like to you, unlike earthly clouds these two cosmic clouds never go away. Indeed, once you've found them, you'll be able to see them on any clear summer night, always in the same place, provided of course, you haven't got too much city light or moonlight to interfere.

These two clouds were named M-6 and M-7 by Charles Messier, an 18th century astronomer who made a list of fuzzy cloudlike objects so he wouldn't get confused when he went comet hunting. And although they really do look like decapitated comet heads, through a telescope they reveal themselves to be great gatherings of stars, great clusters of suns far, far away. The uppermost, M-6, has about 80 stars in it visible through a telescope and is 1600 light years away, which means that the light we see now is actually the light that left these stars 1600 years ago, around 400 A.D. Which is one of the reasons why M-6 is not as bright as M-7.

You see M-7 is only half as far away, 800 light years distant, which means that the light we see right now is the light that left these stars around 1200 A.D. And M-7, like M-6, is also a cluster of about 80 telescopically visible stars. Now my favorite way to view M-6 and M-7 is first to compare them with the naked eye and then through a pair of binoculars. Now the stars of M-6 appear to be a fierce blue-white and that's because they are much, much hotter stars than the stars of M-7. Indeed M-7's stars are closer in color to our own sun, kind of yellow-gold.

Of course, you regular star gazer viewers are familiar with a very famous star cluster very much like M-6 and M-7, but much closer to earth. Can you guess which star cluster I'm talking about? The 7 Sisters, the Pleiades which is the hallmark of late autumn skies and only 400 light years away. Indeed if we could bring M-6 and M-7 as close to Earth as the Pleiades they would all look pretty much the same. So get thee out to see these two magnificent families of suns riding across the sky on the tail of the scorpion. It's easy if you just remember to Keep Looking Up!

 

For graphics for this script (Click) Here


Star Gazer Minute

#99-34 M

8/23/99 thru 8/29/99

"M-6 and M-7 :Decapitated Comet Heads?"

 

Horkheimer: Greetings. In the 18th century comet hunter Charles Messier made a list of permanent fuzzy sky objects so he wouldn't get confused when he was comet hunting. And you can see two of them, Messier 6 and Messier 7, if you look south just after it gets dark out. They look like tiny clouds or decapitated comet heads riding just above the sting of Scorpius the Scorpion. While Messier had no idea what they were, we now know that they are both clusters of stars much like the Pleiades, the Seven Sisters, but much, much farther away. You can see them with the naked eye but through a pair of binoculars, wow! I'm Jack Horkheimer reminding you to Keep Looking Up!

For graphics for this script (Click) Here

 


Don't miss the cartoon version of

'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of

 

To Subscribe

(only $26.95 for 9 issues)

contact

'ODYSSEY'

30 Grove Street

Suite C

Peterborough, NH 03458

or Click Here


* 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

7/26/99 10:30 - 11:30 am Eastern time (5 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:

 

Lorain County JVS - NASA CORE

15181 Route 58 South

Oberlin, OH 44074

440/775-1400

FAX 440/775-1460

nasaco@leeca.esu.k12.oh.us

http://spacelink.nasa.gov/CORE



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


 

 

STAR GAZER

Episode #99-35


1134th Show



To Be Aired : Monday 8/30/99 through Sunday 9/05/99

"How To Find The 'False Dawn'

Of An Ancient Persian Poet"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings, fellow star gazers, and how many of you remember that famous line, "a jug of wine, a loaf of bread and thou beside me singing in the wilderness...". Well, that romantic piece of verse has been around for almost a thousand years and was written by the persian poet Omar Khayyam in his famous book of poetry, "The Rubaiyat". But did you know that in addition to being a poet, Omar Khayyam was an astronomer? In fact, in the Rubaiyat, Omar makes a poetic allusion to a 'false dawn' which we now know to be a scientific reality. And not only can we show you when and where to find it we can also tell you something about it that Omar never suspected, we can tell you what the "false dawn" actually is, astronomically speaking. Let me show you.

O.K., If we could go way out in space and look back down on our solar system with superhuman vision, we would notice a faint almost imperceptible vast cloud extending outward from the Sun in the plane of the orbits of Mercury, Venus, Earth and slightly beyond, a humongous cloud of dust made up of trillions of particles of matter about the size of dust grains, and while one would expect such a thing would be impossible to see from Earth, nevertheless in September when the Earth's plane of its orbit is almost vertical to the horizon we can see this vast cloud the 'false dawn' of Omar Khayyam. Now the best time to see the false dawn is in September but you must be far away from city lights when there is no moonlight to hide this glow, like next week.

If you can see the Milky Way you'll have a good chance of seeing this rare phenomenon. Look for it in the east, an hour or two before sunrise, before the real dawn and look for a wedge or cone-shaped dim patch of light about the same brightness as the Milky Way that extends from the horizon almost half way up to the zenith, about 40 degrees... A dim, faintly glowing pyramid of light. Now the scientific name of this phenomenon is 'the Zodiacal Light' and is caused by sunlight scattered from all those trillions and trillions of dust particles.

Now although Omar didn't write about it we now know that his 'false dawn' has an evening counterpart, the 'false dusk' which looks pretty much the same except that it is visible one to two hours after sunset in the west in March when the Earth's plane of its orbit is also almost vertical to the horizon. And if you ever see a similar oval shaped glow directly overhead at midnight, you could just be seeing the Zodiacal Light's sister phenomenon called the Gegenschein, or counterglow. And I personally wonder whether any poet ever wrote about that.

At any rate, remember that September is the time to see the Zodiacal Light, the 'false dawn' of Omar Khayyam which is very elusive and takes almost poetic patience to perceive, but once you've found it I think you'll know why it appeared in poetry centuries before it appeared in scientific writings. So get thee outside, find the false dawn, and whatever you do in the meantime remember Keep Looking Up!

 

For graphics for this script (Click) Here


Star Gazer Minute

#99-35 M

8/30/99 thru 9/05/99

"The False Dawn"

 

Horkheimer: Greetings. Almost a thousand years ago the Persian poet Omar Khayyam wrote about a 'false dawn'. And you can see it best every September if you're far away from city lights and there is no Moon out. Look east about an hour or two before sunrise for a cone shaped dim patch of light that extends from the horizon almost halfway up to the zenith. Although Omar couldn't know it, this false dawn is a humongous cloud of cosmic dust extending from the sun, past Mercury and Venus to slightly beyond Earth. And is quite eerie to behold. Today we call it the 'zodiacal light'. I'm Jack Horkheimer reminding you to Keep Looking Up!

For graphics for this script (Click) Here

 


Don't miss the cartoon version of

'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of

 

To Subscribe

(only $26.95 for 9 issues)

contact

'ODYSSEY'

30 Grove Street

Suite C

Peterborough, NH 03458

or Click Here


* 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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