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!

Friday 11/19/04 - 1800-1830 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 5 MINUTE

To see a web video version of this script

Click Here for RealPlayer

Episode # 04-49 / 1409th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 12/6/2004 through
Sunday 12/12/2004

"How To Watch Next Week's Geminid
Asteroid Meteor Shower"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. Next Monday night December 13th from sunset to dawn Tuesday we will be able to see the only known asteroid/meteor shower. Officially it's called the Geminid meteor shower but I like to think of it as the Geminid asteroid shower because it's different than all other meteor showers. We see it every December and it's always one of the best of the year but this year it should be even better because there'll be no bright moonlight to wipe out the faintest meteors. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for next Monday evening December 13th about 8 p.m. Your local time facing east where you'll see some of the brightest stars of winter, the seven bright stars of Orion and just to his left Castor and Pollux the two brightest stars of Gemini the twins. And this is where the Geminid meteor-asteroid shower gets its name because all the meteors appear to come from Gemini. You'll also notice that this year Castor and Pollux are joined by the exquisite ringed planet Saturn. So what can we expect to see of the Geminid meteor shower this year? Well, because there's no bright moonlight, if you're far away from city lights, you may see 40-50 meteors per hour. And by meteors I mean streaks of light flashing across the sky which most people incorrectly call shooting stars.

Now a meteor is nothing more than a tiny speck of space dust which slams into our Earth's atmosphere so fast that its friction heats up the gasses in our Earth's atmosphere and causes them to glow like the gasses in a neon tube and what we see is a brief flashing streak of light as the tiny speck burns up and plunges to its fiery death. Now a few times every 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 and debris. You see comets orbit around our sun just like the planets and every time a comet comes close to our sun it sheds some of its material. Eventually this comet debris gets spread all along its orbit and whenever our Earth plows into one of these space rivers of comet debris we see many more meteors than usual and we call such an event a meteor shower.

The best one usually occurs in August and is called the Perseid meteor shower. The second best is often December's Geminid meteor shower which we now know is different than all other meteor showers because its debris does not come from a comet but from an asteroid named 3200 Phaethon which makes the Geminid meteor shower the only known asteroid shower. This shower is also different from the others because unlike the other showers which are really good only after midnight the Geminids are also good before midnight. So we suggest you do your watching from 8 o'clock Monday night 'til dawn Tuesday morning. Gemini will be overhead around midnight and in the west around dawn. But look all over the sky to see its meteors. Happy asteroid showering and 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

To see a web video version of this script

Click Here for RealPlayer

#04-49 M

12/06/2004 thru 12/12/2004

"How To Watch Next Week's Geminid
Asteroid Meteor Shower"

Horkheimer: On Monday night the 13th from sunset to dawn Tuesday we'll see the Geminid asteroid meteor shower which should be very good because there'll be no bright moon light to wipe out the faintest meteors. After dark face east where you'll see Orion and the two brightest stars of Gemini and Saturn and if you're far from city lights you may see 40 to 50 meteors per hour. At midnight Gemini will be overhead and at dawn in the west. Unlike all other meteor showers, which occur whenever our Earth rides into space rivers of comet debris the Geminid meteor shower occurs every December when we ride into the debris of an asteroid named 3200 Phaethon. So happy asteroid showering, and Keep Looking Up!

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

Friday 11/19/04 - 1800-1830 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

To see a web video version of this script

Click Here for RealPlayer

Episode #04-50 /1410th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 12/13/2004 through Sunday 12/19/2004

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


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. Next Tuesday December 21st is the winter solstice, the so called first day of winter because at 7:42 a.m. Eastern Standard Time the Sun will reach its farthest point south of the celestial equator. And although most of us were taught that the winter solstice the first day of winter is the shortest day of the year, to many people it doesn't feel like the shortest day of the year. 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. The Sun also rises exactly due east and sets due west on the equinox. After which it rises and sets each successive day just a little bit farther to the north of east 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 most of us were taught that the first day of summer is the longest day of the year meaning the day of longest daylight.

Now after the solstice the Sun appears to reverse its direction and rises and sets just a little bit farther south each successive day. And the amount of daylight gets a little less each day. Then on the first day of autumn, the autumnal equinox, the Sun will once again rise due east and set due west and the amount of daylight will be equal to the amount of night. Then the Sun will continue its journey rising and setting a little bit farther south each day and the amount of daylight will continue to get shorter and nights longer until the first day of winter, the winter solstice, when the Sun will reach its farthest point south and once again appear to solstice, that is stand still. And we will 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 time and not sunrise this is why the days at the beginning of December usually feel shorter than the actual shortest day of the year. It's simply a matter of human perception. If however you're an early riser and 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. Are you a morning person or an evening person? What feels like the shortest day to you? Keep Looking Up!

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

To see a web video version of this script

Click Here for RealPlayer

#04-50 M

12/13/2004 thru 12/19/2004

"The Winter Solstice And 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 sunrises occur. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!


Please give us your comments. (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. 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!

Friday 11/19/04 - 1800-1830 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

To see a web video version of this script

Click Here for RealPlayer

Episode # 04-51 / 1411th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 12/20/2004 through Sunday 12/26/2004

"A Spectacular Early Morning Sky Show
For The Holidays!"


Horkheimer: greetings, greetings fellow star gazers and are we ever gonna end the year right because starting Christmas week through the end of the year we'll be treated to a pre dawn sky show with a super close meeting of the two planets closest to the Sun. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for this Friday December 24th Christmas Eve morning 45 minutes before Sunrise facing southeast where the brightest object you'll see will be the brightest planet in the solar system which is always mistaken for the Christmas star when it appears at this time of the year, planet #2 from the Sun, 8,000 mile wide Venus, and just below it, but only 3% as bright, the elusive planet which makes only brief appearances throughout the year, planet #1 out from the Sun, the tiny 3,000 mile wide pink planet Mercury. And if you've never looked at either of these through a telescope before you'll see that because they are closer to the Sun than our earth they go through phases just like our Moon and change their appearance which makes them a lot of fun to watch through small telescopes.

Now on Christmas Eve morning they'll be only 2 1/2 degrees away from each other and since a full Moon is half a degree wide, this means we could fit 5 full Moons between them. But as you regular viewers know things are always moving and changing position in the cosmos and we can see these changes if we watch from day to day. In fact 24 hours later on Saturday December 25th Christmas Day morning they will be a half a degree closer only 2 degrees apart which means 4 full Moons could fit between them. On the 26th only 1 and 3/4 degrees apart and on the 27th only 1 and 1/2 degrees or 3 full Moon widths apart. On Tuesday 1 and 1/4 degrees apart, Wednesday even closer and on the next 3 days they'll be at their very closest, December 30th, December 31st New Year's Eve morning, and January 1st New Year's Day morning, a little more than one degree or only 2 full Moon widths apart or only one index finger apart, holding your hand out at arm's length. That's close. Now you probably noticed that when we started our watch on Christmas Eve, Venus was above Mercury, only slightly above on Christmas Day and side by side on the 26th and 27th and then changed places. Once again Christmas Eve morning December 24th, Christmas Day the 25th, the 26th, the 27th, the 28th, the 29th and ta da! the three closest days the 30th, the 31st and New Year's Day.

So you've got something wonderful to see every single morning from Christmas through New Years if you get up with the chickens. But remember that this close meeting and passing of the two closest planets to the Sun is only an illusion because in reality next week Mercury will be only 93 million miles away from us while Venus will be a whopping 140 million miles beyond! So starting this holiday week end watch a super sky show ring out the old year. 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

 

"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

To see a web video version of this script

Click Here for RealPlayer

#04-51M

12/20/2004 thru 12/26/2004

"A Spectacular Early Morning Sky Show
For The Holidays!"

Horkheimer: From Christmas week through new years the two planets closest to the sun will have a super close meeting. On Christmas eve 45 minutes before sunrise look southeast and you'll see planet #2, often mistaken for the Christmas star, 8,000 mile wide Venus and below it only 2 1/2 degrees or 5 full moon widths away, planet #1, 3,000 mile wide Mercury. On Christmas morning they'll be only 2 degrees apart, on the 26th, 1 3/4 degrees, the 27th,1 1/2, the 28th, 1 1/4, the 29th even closer and they'll be at their closest on the 30th, 31st and New Year's Day, only 1 degree or 2 moon widths apart which is super close! What a way to ring out the old year. Keep Looking Up!


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

Friday 11/19/04 - 1800-1830 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

To see a web video version of this script

Click Here for RealPlayer

Episode #04-52 / 1412th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 12/27/2004 through Sunday 1/2/2005

"Celebrate New Year's Eve With
The New Year's Eve Star"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. You know because there is usually no school on major holidays children and adults frequently stay up later than usual. So over the years viewers have asked me to find something special in the heavens they can see each holiday night. And years ago when I was trying to find something really special in the heavens for everyone to see on New Year's Eve I accidentally discovered something absolutely wonderful, a very special New Year's Eve star which you can see this New Year's Eve and every New Year's Eve for the rest of your life. Let me show you.

O.K. we've got our skies set up for 8 p.m. your local time this Friday December 31st New Year's Eve facing due south. And first like all good astronomers do let's draw an imaginary line which divides the eastern half of the sky from the western half, an imaginary line called the meridian which runs from the horizon due south straight up to the zenith point overhead and then down the other side of the sky to the horizon due north. Now as our Earth slowly and endlessly rotates from west to east we are treated nightly to the grandest optical illusion in nature that of watching the stars seem to rise in the east, slowly travel across the sky all night long and eventually set in the west. And if you watch the stars every single night you will eventually deduce that the highest point any star reaches above the horizon in its nightly journey is when it is on the meridian.

Now this is very important to telescope users because the higher a sky object is above the horizon the better its telescopic image will be. So several years ago when I was researching which planets would be high up off the horizon for viewing that New Year's Eve I stumbled across something which to me was and still is an amazing coincidence, something which I had never read about in any astronomy book. That coincidence is that no matter where you happen to be on New Year's Eve, as hour after hour goes by, the brightest star in the heavens Sirius will slowly climb up the southeastern sky and at midnight will reach its highest point almost on the meridian. Think of it the brightest star visible from our planet reaches its highest point above the horizon at midnight every New Year's Eve. How wonderful, how poetic almost like a cosmic reminder that this most brilliant of stellar lights is welcoming in and shining on the new year giving us all hope for a bright new beginning.

Plus as an added bonus if you happen to miss it on New Year's Eve, don't fret because Sirius will be in almost the same spot at midnight each night for the first week of the New Year. And for those who'd like to add a little science to your New Year's celebration Sirius is a blue-white star, almost twice as big as our almost million mile wide yellow Sun. And it's very close cosmically speaking only 8 1/2 light years away which means that the light which we see when we look at Sirius this New Year's Eve left it 8 1/2 years ago in June of 1995, something to think about. So step outside at midnight and make your new year bright with Sirius' cosmic light. Happy New Year and 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

To see a web video version of this script

Click Here for RealPlayer

#04-52 M

12/27/2004 thru 1/2/2005

"Celebrate New Year's Eve With
The New Year's Eve Star"

Horkheimer: Did you know that the brightest star in the heavens reaches its highest point at midnight every New Year's Eve. I call it the New Year's Eve star. In early evening New Year's Eve, the brightest star visible from Earth Sirius will be rising in the southeast, but as hour after hour goes by it will slowly climb up the southeastern sky and at midnight will reach its highest point due south. Isn't that a marvelous coincidence? Sirius is a wonderful star almost twice as big as our Sun and very close cosmically speaking, only 8 1/2 light years away. Which means that when we look at Sirius this New Year's Eve we'll see the light that left it in 1995. Make your New Year bright with cosmic light. Keep Looking Up!

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


[SmilinJack]Return to the [STAR GAZER Main Page]