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!

Tuesday 11/20/01 - 0930 - 1000 Eastern Time


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 # 01-49 / 1252nd Show
To Be Aired : Monday 12/03/2001 through Sunday 12/09/2001

"The Only Known Asteroid Shower
Visits Earth Next Week!
and How To Watch It"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow stargazers and just a reminder that this week the ringed planet Saturn is at its closest and brightest for the entire year and that next week you'll be able to see the only known asteroid shower at its very best. O.K., we've got our skies set up for this week and next about an hour after sunset, facing east where close to the horizon you'll see the 6th planet from the sun, the ringed beauty, Saturn, which this week is at its closest and brightest to Earth for the entire year because it is at opposition. And if you have a small telescope and use 75 to 100 power, you will see its fabulous rings which are now at their best viewing since the 70's.

And if you do your Saturn watching Thursday the 13th from after sunset to sunrise Friday the 14th you will have a good chance of seeing the Phaethon asteroid shower which will look like a very good meteor shower. In fact, the Phaethon asteroid shower is officially named the Geminid meteor shower. Why? Let me explain:

O.K., Whenever you see a so-called shooting star astronomers call it a meteor which is nothing more than a tiny speck of space dust slamming into earth's atmosphere so fast that its friction heats up the gasses in our earth's atmosphere and makes them glow in a streak of light as the speck of space dust plunges to its fiery death. And a few times each year our Earth regularly plows into massive concentrations of this space dust which we call meteor streams. But meteor streams are really great rivers of comet dust. You see, comets orbit around the sun just like the planets and every time a comet comes close to the sun it sheds much of its material. And eventually that comet debris gets spread all along its orbit. And after hundreds of years there are places in its orbit where there are greater concentrations of comet 'meteor' dust. And whenever our Earth plows through that part of the orbit we say that we are riding into a meteor stream with the result that we see many more meteors than usual. And we call that a meteor shower.

So meteor showers should really be called comet-dust showers. And next week we will be plowing through the Geminid meteor stream, and will experience what we call the Geminid meteor shower which this year will be one of the best meteor showers of the year because there'll be no moonlight whatsoever to wipe out the meteors from view. But observations have shown that the Geminid meteor shower is unique because we believe its dust is not from a comet but from an asteroid named 3200 Phaethon. And every December our Earth rides right into 3200 Phaethon's dust stream. So if you want to see the only known asteroid shower and at its best go out next Thursday night after dark, scan the skies back and forth all night long and if you're far from city lights you may see the best space-dust shower of the year. After all, wasn't it Shakespeare who said, "a meteor shower by any other name looks the same"? 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

#01-49 M

12/03/2001 thru 12/09/2001

"Next Week's Asteroid Shower"

Horkheimer: Next Thursday night and Friday morning you'll be able to see the only known asteroid shower visit our Earth.Get far away from city lights and slowly scan the sky for several hours from sunset to sunrise. And because there'll be no moonlight to interfere you should see many more asteroids than usual. Officially this asteroid shower is called the Geminid meteor shower. But meteor showers occur when our Earth plows into a stream of comet dust; and the dust we encounter in the Geminid meteor shower is now known to come not from a comet, but from an asteroid named 3200 Phaethon. So perhaps we should rename the Geminid meteor shower the Geminid 'asteroid' shower. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

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

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

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


Don't miss the cartoon version of

'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of


* This week's Sky At A Glance and Planet Roundup from Sky & Telescope.
This week's Sky At A Glance displays current week only.

Starry Night Deluxe was used to produce this episode of Star Gazer







STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION



STAR GAZER is seen nationally on most PBS stations. There is a five minute and a one minute version available each week. If it is not currently on your PBS station we suggest you contact your local PBS programming director and let them know it is available free to all PBS stations. You may take STAR GAZER off satellite for personal use, classroom use, astronomy club use, etc. without written permission.

Satellite feed info:

GE 3 - PBS Transponder 512 - Digital Only!

Tuesday 11/20/01 - 0930 - 1000 Eastern Time


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 #01-50 /1253rd Show
To Be Aired : Monday 12/10/2001 through Sunday 12/16/2001

"Three Exquisite Star Clusters
and How To Find Them"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers and it's that time of year when in early evening you can see 3 exquisite clusters of stars, one of which almost everyone is familiar with, and 2 others which astronomers call twin clusters because you can see them side by side. Let me show you. O.K., we've got our skies set up for this week and next between 7 and 9 P.M. when there won't be a lot of moonlight to interfere with seeing the clusters. Look high up above the eastern horizon and you'll see what looks like an exquisite tiny little dipper shaped cluster of stars which many people immediately recognize as The Pleiades, the Seven Sisters. Although most people can see only 6 stars, if you've got really good eyes and super dark skies you may see 7, but with a pair of binoculars you will see several dozen.

In reality, however, The Pleiades is really a group of about 250 stars, each of which is much, much larger than our own sun and burning much, much hotter. And cosmically speaking they're not very distant, only 400 light years away which means that we see The Pleiades not as they exist now but as they actually existed 400 years ago before Galileo ever trained a telescope on them and discovered them to be a family of dozens of suns. So although we've always called The Pleiades the Seven Sisters, next time you look at them remember that in reality through a pair of binoculars you'll see several dozen and through a good telescope about 250.

Now although not as well known, because they're much dimmer, there are 2 other exquisite star clusters in the same neighborhood.To find them simply look due north between 7 and 9 for 5 stars which, if we could draw lines between them would trace out the letter "m", the constellation Cassiopeia, the queen. Then if you look just to the right of Cassiopeia, and if it's good and dark out, you'll see 2 faint fuzzy q-tip like objects. And if it's really dark out you will notice that they are embedded in the Milky Way. These 2 dim fuzzy balls are called the Double Cluster of Perseus because they are at the very end of the constellation Perseus.

And although they're much dimmer than The Pleiades, it's only because they're so much farther away. In fact, while The Pleiades are only 400 light years away, the twin clusters of Perseus are 7,000 light years away which means that we see them not as they exist now, but as they existed 7,000 years ago. And these clusters too, like The Pleiades, consist of super hot, and much bigger than our sun, stars with about 300 stars per cluster. And if they could be brought as close to earth as The Pleiades they'd be even bigger and brighter in our skies than the famed Seven Sisters.

And might I suggest please, if you want to see something you'll never forget look at both The Pleiades and the twin clusters of Perseus through a pair of binoculars. Just imagine, 250 stars flying through space together 400 light years way in a group where we see only 6 or 7. And 2 clusters of 300 stars each, 7,000 light years away. 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

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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

#01-50 M

12/10/2001 thru 12/16/2001

"Three Exquisite Star Clusters!"

Horkheimer: This week and next is a good time to see 3 exquisite star clusters because there'll be no bright moonlight to interfere. High above the eastern horizon is the most famous cluster of all, The pleiades, the seven sisters. Although some people can see 6 or even 7 stars here, with a pair of binoculars you'll see several dozen. But in reality The Pleiades is a cluster of 250 stars each much bigger than our sun. And they're cosmically close, only 400 light years away. Look north just to the right of Cassiopeia and you'll see the dim twin clusters of Perseus which contain about 300 stars each. The reason they're so dim is because they're a whopping 7,000 light years away. Get out those binoculars now. 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!

Tuesday 11/20/01 - 0930 - 1000 Eastern Time


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 # 01-51 / 1254th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 12/17/2001 through Sunday 12/23/2001

"The First Day Of Winter
and Why The Shortest Day Of The Year
Doesn't Feel Like The Shortest"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. This Friday, the 21st, is the first day of winter, the Winter Solstice, because at 2:21 P.M. Eastern Standard Time the sun reaches its farthest point south of the celestial equator. And although we were taught from childhood that the first day of winter is the shortest day of the year, to most people it doesn't feel like the shortest. Why? Let me explain.

O.K., We've got our skies set up for the first day of spring in March which astronomers call the vernal equinox, vernal meaning green and equinox meaning equal night. Which simply means that on that day the hours of daylight are equal to the hours of night. And on the first day of spring the sun rises exactly due east and sets due west after which each successive day it rises and sets just a little bit farther to the north until the first day of summer, the summer solstice, when the sun reaches its northernmost point along the horizon and actually seems to stand still for a couple of days.

In fact, the word solstice means 'sun stands still'. And as any school child will tell you, the first day of summer is the longest day of the year, meaning the day of longest daylight. Now after the solstice the sun seems to reverse its direction and rises and sets just a little bit farther south each successive day and each successive day daylight grows a little bit shorter until the first day of autumn, the autumnal equinox, when once again the sun rises due east and sets due west and the hours of daylight are equal to the hours of night. Then the sun continues its journey, rising and setting a little bit farther south each day and daylight continues to get shorter and nights longer until the first day of winter, the winter solstice, when the sun reaches its farthest point south and once again appears to 'solstice', to stand still. And we experience the shortest day of the year, meaning the day of least sunlight and most night.

But experience is a strange word because even though the first day of winter is the shortest day of the year, nevertheless it doesn't feel like it to most people. And this feeling can be explained. You see, more people experience sunsets than sunrises and at mid-northern latitudes the earliest sunsets occur during the first week of December. Sunset actually occurs a little bit later each day as we move closer to the winter solstice. So although the days really are getting shorter it's because the sun is rising later each morning. And since most people judge the length of a day by sunset and not sunrise, that's why the days at the beginning of December usually feel shorter than the shortest day of the year. It's simply a matter of human perception.

If, however, you're an early riser and habitually get up with the chickens then the first days of January will feel like the shortest days of the year because that's when the days of latest sunrise occur. So I guess we can say time is relative whether you're a morning person or an evening person. Why not ask some of your friends what they feel is the shortest day to them. It's fun and it's astronomy. 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

#01-51 M

12/17/2001 thru 12/23/2001

"Why The Shortest Day Of The Year
Doesn't Feel Like
The Shortest Day Of The Year "

Horkheimer: All our lives we've been told that the first day of winter, December 21st, is the shortest day of the year, but to many people the days at the beginning of December actually feel shorter. Why? Well, today more people experience sunsets than sunrises and at mid-northern latitudes the earliest sunsets occur during the first week of December. So, because sunsets occur a little bit later each day after the first week of December, the days actually feel like they're growing longer toward the end of December. Conversely if you get up with the chickens, the first days of January will feel shorter because that's when the days of latest sunrise occur. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

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

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

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

 


Don't miss the cartoon version of
'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of




 
* This week's Sky At A Glance and Planet Roundup from Sky & Telescope.

This week's Sky At A Glance displays current week only.


Starry Night Deluxe was used to produce this episode of Star Gazer





STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION



STAR GAZER is seen nationally on most PBS stations. There is a five minute and a one minute version available each week. If it is not currently on your PBS station we suggest you contact your local PBS programming director and let them know it is available free to all PBS stations. You may take STAR GAZER off satellite for personal use, classroom use, astronomy club use, etc. without written permission.

Satellite feed info:

GE 3 - PBS Transponder 512 - Digital Only!

Tuesday 11/20/01 - 0930 - 1000 Eastern Time


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 #01-52 /1255th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 12/24/2001 through Sunday 12/30/2001

"A Full Moon and The King of The Planets
At Its Brightest and Closest
Overhead At Midnight
On New Year's Eve!"

Question : When was the last time Jupiter was at opposition on New Year's Eve / New year's Day?
Answer: 249 years ago : 1752

Question : When will Jupiter be at opposition again on New Year's Eve / New Year's Day?
Answer : 83 years from now : 2084

Horkheimer : Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers and if you'd like to celebrate New Years a little differently this year then might I suggest that you go outside at midnight and raise your glasses high overhead where you'll see the king of the planets Jupiter at opposition which means that it's at its closest and brightest for the entire year.

But first let's take a look at the skies Friday December 28th, at 7 P.M.; look east about 1/3 of the way up from the horizon to the zenith and you will see a dazzling light which is 88,000 mile wide, king of the planets, Jupiter, which is so huge that we could line up 11 of our 8,000 mile wide planet Earths across its middle. And up and to Jupiter's right and almost twice as high, the 75,000 mile wide ringed planet Saturn which will be accompanied across the sky all night long by a two-days-before full moon.

And I beg all of you who have small telescopes to take them out every clear night this week and next and look at these 2 planets because they are both about as good as they ever get for viewing through a small telescope. Saturn's rings are at their best for viewing since the 70's and you'll actually be able to watch the 4 biggest moons of Jupiter which look like tiny pin points of light, change their place in relationship to Jupiter hour after hour night after night as they continually orbit the king of the planets.

Now for extra measure, below Saturn you will see the red star which marks the eye of Taurus the bull, 30 million mile wide Aldebaran. And below Aldebaran, winter's favorite constellation, Orion the hunter, his belt marked by 3 evenly spaced stars in a row. And an hour later, the brightest star in the heavens will peek above the horizon, Sirius, the eye of Canis Major, the great dog. Now on Saturday the 29th at 8 P.M. a one day-before-full moon will be zeroing in on Jupiter. And on Sunday the 30th a dazzling full moon will be just past Jupiter. Then on Monday night at 8 P.M. New Year's Eve you will see that the almost full moon will be only 20 degrees past Jupiter and the 2 of them will begin their rise toward midnight New Year's Eve. At 9 P.M. they'll be higher, at 10 P.M. even higher, at 11 P.M. higher still and finally, ta da! at the stroke of midnight, Jupiter, at its closest and brightest for 2001 and 2002, will be almost overhead, accompanied by a dazzling full moon, bathing the landscape below in brilliant cosmic light welcoming in the New Year; after which they will slowly descend hour after hour, side by side until just before sunrise on New Year's day they will reach the western horizon.

Once again: midnight New Year's Eve, 2 brilliant celestial lights overhead, bathing our world in cosmic light and heralding in what we hope will be a much brighter and much better new year. So get thee out at midnight and raise your glass to the cosmos! 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

#01-52M

12/24/2001 thru 12/30/2001

"A Full Moon And
Jupiter At Its Brightest and Closest
Overhead At Midnight New Year's Eve"!

Question : When was the last time Jupiter was at opposition on New Year's Eve / New year's Day?
Answer: 249 years ago : 1752

Question : When will Jupiter be at opposition again on New Year's Eve / New Year's Day?
Answer : 83 years from now : 2084

Would you like to celebrate New Year's Eve in a really different way? Then go outside at midnight and raise your glass high because at the stroke of midnight the king of the planets, Jupiter will be overhead and at its closest and brightest for 2001 and 2002 and accompanied by a dazzling full moon, bathing the landscape in brilliant cosmic light. The reason Jupiter will be at its highest and closest and brightest at midnight is because New Year's Day it is officially at opposition which means that it is now at its best for viewing. So get thee out at midnight and bathe in planetary and lunar light and may the new year be brighter. 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

 



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