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 11/18/05 - 1030-1100 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.

NEW FOR STAR GAZER!
"Star Gazer" is now available for
Video Podcasting as well as RealPlayer streaming video.

 Click Here  Click Here

STAR GAZER 5 MINUTE

Episode # 05-49 / 1461st Show
To Be Aired : Monday 12/05/2005 through
Sunday 12/11/2005

"The Closest Planet To The Sun Is At Its Best
The Second Week of December"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. Yes indeed, in addition to brilliant Venus which is at its greatest brilliancy this week and Mars, Saturn and Jupiter, which are also very eye catching, the first planet out from the Sun Mercury puts on its last performance for the year the second week of December. Let me show you.

But first look southwest just after dark and you'll be dazzled by planet #2 from the Sun, 8,000 mile wide Venus which is at its brightest this week and which is always mistaken for the Christmas star whenever it appears in early evening skies at Christmas time. Around 8 p.m. look southeast and you'll see planet #4 rouge gold 4,000 mile wide Mars, still extremely bright even though it is almost 20 million miles farther away than when it was at its closest on October 29th. At 10 p.m. look just north of east and not nearly as bright but much more beautiful through a small telescope, you'll see planet #6, 75,000 mile wide Saturn. And about one hour before dawn look southeast and you'll see planet #5, 88,000 mile wide Jupiter.

But to find planet #1 the most elusive of them all, because it pops in and out of morning and evening skies several times through out the year and never gets very high above the horizon, look below Jupiter just above the southeast horizon all next week about 45 minutes before sunrise for a bright pinkish light and bingo! you will have spotted Mercury, the tiniest planet of them all except for Pluto, 3,000 mile wide, Mercury, 1,000 miles wider than our Moon and 1,000 miles smaller than Mars. It's called the pink iron planet because its core actually has more iron than all the iron on Earth. Its pink color is due to the fact that it never appears very high above the horizon so we always look at it through dustier layers of our earth's atmosphere, which gives it this false coloration.

And if you look at it through a small telescope you will see that like Venus it goes through various phases. Venus is steadily shrinking phasewise all month long and will look like a thin crescent moon by New Year's, but tiny Mercury looks like a gibbous phase of the moon. Now because Mercury is the first planet out from the Sun it is also the fastest. We all know that it takes 365 and 1/4 days for our Earth to make one trip around the Sun but Mercury, named for the swift messenger of the gods, makes one trip every 88 days so a year on Mercury is 88 Earth days long. Wow!

Back in 1974 we flew by it for the first time in a spacecraft and saw it close up for the first time. And amazingly it looks very much like our heavily cratered Moon. So there you have it planet number 1 at its best next week and planets number 6, 5, 4 and 2 also visible. And of course we could always throw in planet number 3, which is the one you're standing on right now. 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
Noven Pharmaceuticals
Committed to expanding the universe of transdermal drug delivery for the benefit of patients and partners.


NEW FOR STAR GAZER!
"Star Gazer" is now available for
Video Podcasting as well as RealPlayer streaming video.

 Click Here  Click Here

Star Gazer Minute

#05-49 M

12/05/2005 thru 12/11/2005

"The Closest Planet To The Sun Is At Its Best
The Second Week of December"

Horkheimer: Venus is at greatest brilliancy this week and Mercury is at its best next week. Look southwest just after dark and you'll be dazzled by planet number 2, 8,000 mile wide Venus which is at its brightest this week and which is always mistaken for the Christmas star whenever it appears in early evening in December. Look southeast next week 45 minutes before sunrise for planet number 1, 3,000 mile wide Mercury. Its pink color is due to the fact that it never appears very high above the horizon so we always look at it through dusty layers of our Earth's atmosphere. Through a small telescope it looks like a gibbous moon while Venus looks like a shrinking crescent. Mercury in the morning and Venus at night. 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
Noven Pharmaceuticals
Committed to expanding the universe of transdermal drug delivery for the benefit of patients and partners.


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 11/18/05 - 1030-1100 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.



NEW FOR STAR GAZER!
"Star Gazer" is now available for
Video Podcasting as well as RealPlayer streaming video.

 Click Here  Click Here

STAR GAZER

Episode #05-50 /1462nd Show
To Be Aired : Monday 12/12/2005 through Sunday 12/18/2005

"Why Is The Winter Solstice Called The Winter Solstice
And What's It All About Anyway?"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings, fellow star gazers. On Wednesday Dec. 21st at precisely 1:35 p.m. eastern standard time the winter solstice, that is the first day of winter, officially begins for the northern hemisphere. But if you're like most people the concept of the winter solstice can be a bit confusing. So let me explain what the winter solstice is really all about. But to do that we're going to have to go back in time all the way to the first day of spring.

O.k., we've got our skies set up for the first day of spring, which is also called 'the vernal equinox', vernal meaning 'green', and equinox meaning 'equal night', which simply means that on the equinox the hours of daylight are equal to the hours of night. Now on the first day of spring, the vernal equinox, the Sun rises exactly due east and sets exactly due west. And each successive day thereafter it rises and sets just a little bit farther to the north until the summer solstice, the first day of summer, when the Sun reaches its northernmost point along the horizon and actually seems to 'stand still' and rise and set in the same place for a few 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 will appear to reverse its direction and will rise and set just a little bit farther south each successive day. And each successive day the time of daylight will grow just a little bit shorter and on the autumnal equinox, the first day of autumn, the Sun will once again rise due east and set due west and the hours of daylight will again be equal to the hours of night. Then the Sun will continue its journey southward rising and setting a little bit farther south each day and daylight will continue to get shorter and night time longer each day until the winter solstice, the first day of winter, when the Sun will reach its farthest point south and once again will appear to 'solstice' that is stand still and rise and set in the same place for a few days. And at the time of the solstice, the northern hemisphere will experience the shortest day of the year, meaning the day of least sunlight and most night.

Then a few days after the solstice the Sun will appear to retrace its steps and will rise and set just a little bit farther north on the horizon each successive day until once again we'll be back where we started on the vernal equinox, the first day of spring and the Sun will rise and set due east and west. And will then repeat the entire rising and setting cycle again and again, year after year. Now in the 21st century we really don't pay much attention to where the Sun rises and sets each day but our ancestors kept precise records of where the Sun rose and set every day because this gave them their first yearly calendar by which they were able to determine the seasons so they would know when to plant and when to harvest. In fact, recording the Sun's rising and setting positions day after day was as important to our ancestors as our wall calendars and atomic clocks are to us today. So might I suggest that just for fun beginning with this solstice, you watch the Sun's journey all this upcoming year as it rises and sets at a slightly different place each morning and night. You'll not only find it fun but absolutely fascinating. 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
Noven Pharmaceuticals
Committed to expanding the universe of transdermal drug delivery for the benefit of patients and partners.


NEW FOR STAR GAZER!
"Star Gazer" is now available for
Video Podcasting as well as RealPlayer streaming video.

 Click Here  Click Here

Star Gazer Minute

#05-50 M

12/12/2005 thru 12/18/2005

"Why Is The Winter Solstice Called The Winter Solstice
And What's It All About Anyway?"

Horkheimer: This year the winter solstice is Wednesday December 21st. But what is the winter solstice anyway? To find out let's start with the first day of spring the vernal equinox when the Sun rises and sets exactly due east and west. Thereafter each day the Sun will rise a little farther north of east until it reaches its northernmost point on the summer solstice when it will appear to stand still. Solstice means 'Sun stands still'. Then it will retrace its steps rising a little bit farther south each day until the winter solstice when the Sun will once again appear to 'solstice' stand still. The winter solstice is the day when the Sun reaches its southernmost rising and setting point along the horizon. It's that simple. Keep looking up!


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
Noven Pharmaceuticals
Committed to expanding the universe of transdermal drug delivery for the benefit of patients and partners.


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 11/18/05 - 1030-1100 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.



NEW FOR STAR GAZER!
"Star Gazer" is now available for
Video Podcasting as well as RealPlayer streaming video.

 Click Here  Click Here

STAR GAZER

Episode # 05-51 / 1463rd Show

To Be Aired : Monday 12/19/2005 through Sunday 12/25/2005

"Four Fabulous Planets For The Holidays"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. This year the cosmos is very happy to bring you free of charge four fabulous planets for your holiday viewing pleasure. In early evening you can see dazzling Venus, rouge gold Mars, and an exquisite ringed Saturn and in early morning before sunrise the king of the planets itself, Jupiter. And if you're one of the lucky ones to get a telescope as a holiday gift the viewing will be absolutely super, although as always, this foursome will look great to just the naked eye. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for the last two weeks of December about 45 minutes after sunset facing southwest where close to the horizon you'll see the planet which many people have mistaken for the Christmas star all month because it's been so dazzlingly bright, Venus; the planet often called Earth's twin sister because it's almost the same size, 8,000 miles wide. Like our Moon it goes through various phases and through a telescope it always looks rounder and closer to full when it's farther away from us. If you had watched it through a small telescope for the past several months you would have seen it grow in size as it steadily came closer to us. But even though it got bigger and bigger as it got closer its phases got smaller. It was only 25% lit on December 10th but by New Year's Eve it will be a skinny 6% lit crescent. And if you start watching this week with a small telescope you'll actually be able to watch it shrink like a waning Moon.

Around 6 p.m. look southeast and Mars is still gleaming a bright rouge-gold and is still almost as bright as Sirius the brightest star but it is steadily losing its brightness so catch it now while it still dazzles the eye. Only 4,000 miles wide its features will become more difficult to see as it zooms away from us. Around 9 p.m. face slightly northeast and exquisite ringed Saturn, which looks good in even the cheapest department store telescope is getting ready to take over planet viewing. And you'll be able to watch it steadily brighten week after week. 75,000 miles wide it is not as bright as Venus and Mars because it is so incredibly much farther away.

And now for our last planet face southeast about an hour before sunrise and 88,000 mile wide Jupiter will be the brightest thing in the sky. Through even the smallest telescope you can see its four largest Moons, which look like pinpoints of light which constantly change their position as they orbit the king. And on Monday December 26th an exquisite waning crescent Moon will be parked just above it making a wonderful sky duo. Likewise the next morning Tuesday December 27th an even skinnier crescent Moon will be parked just below it making yet another exquisite twosome. So there you have it the king of the planets in the morning and Venus, Mars and Saturn at night. Four planets gift wrapped for the holidays courtesy of the cosmos. 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
Noven Pharmaceuticals
Committed to expanding the universe of transdermal drug delivery for the benefit of patients and partners.

 


NEW FOR STAR GAZER!
"Star Gazer" is now available for
Video Podcasting as well as RealPlayer streaming video.

 Click Here  Click Here

Star Gazer Minute

#05-51 M

12/19/2005 thru 12/25/2005

"Four Fabulous Planets For The Holidays"

Horkheimer: We have four planets for your holiday viewing pleasure. So if someone gifts you with a telescope you'll have a lot to see. Just after sunset you'll be dazzled by Venus and you can watch its phases as it gets skinnier. In the southeast 4,000 mile wide Mars is still brilliant but catch it now because it's zooming away. At 9 p.m. 75,000 mile wide Saturn is beautiful to both the naked eye and through a small telescope. And before sunrise 88,000 mile wide Jupiter will be super bright. On the 26th and the 27th it will be joined by an exquisite crescent Moon and through a small telescope you can watch its four largest moons change position as they orbit the king. Four planets gift wrapped for the holidays. 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
Noven Pharmaceuticals
Committed to expanding the universe of transdermal drug delivery for the benefit of patients and partners.


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 11/18/05 - 1030-1100 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.



NEW FOR STAR GAZER!
"Star Gazer" is now available for
Video Podcasting as well as RealPlayer streaming video.

 Click Here  Click Here

STAR GAZER

Episode # 05-52 / 1464th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 12/26/2005 through Sunday 1/01/2006

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


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. New Year's Eve is one of those nights when a lot more people than usual stay up late. And if you happen to go outside at the stroke of midnight you will see something very special which I like to call the New Year's Eve Star. Let me show you.

O.K. we've got our skies set up for 8 p.m. your local time this Saturday December 31st New Year's Eve facing due south. And first like all good astronomers let's draw an imaginary line from the due south horizon straight up to the zenith point overhead and then down the other side of the sky to the horizon due north. This line is called the meridian and it divides the eastern half of the sky from the western half. 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 appear 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, Sirius the brightest star we can see will slowly climb up the southeastern sky hour after hour 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.

And even better if you happen to miss it on New Year's Eve because it's too cold or cloudy out, 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 think about this as you gaze up at Sirius this New Year's Eve. While our Sun is a million mile wide, relatively cool, yellow star, Sirius is a much hotter, almost twice as wide, white star. And it's 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 will actually be seeing the light that left it 8 1/2 years ago in June of 1997. Wow! So step outside at midnight and make your New Year's Eve bright with cosmic light. Happy New Year and 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
Noven Pharmaceuticals
Committed to expanding the universe of transdermal drug delivery for the benefit of patients and partners.


NEW FOR STAR GAZER!
"Star Gazer" is now available for
Video Podcasting as well as RealPlayer streaming video.

 Click Here  Click Here

Star Gazer Minute

#05-52 M

12/26/2005 thru 1/01/2006

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

Horkheimer: Do you know that Sirius the brightest star we can see reaches its highest point at midnight every New Year's Eve? I call it the New Year's Eve Star. You can watch it climb higher and higher hour after hour this and every New Year's Eve and like cosmic clock work it will reach its highest point due south at midnight. Sirius is a wonderful star, a very hot white star, almost twice as big as our relatively cool yellow star the Sun. And I think it's wonderful and poetic that this most brilliant of stellar lights reaches its highest point at midnight every New Year's Eve lighting up the new year and giving us all hope for a bright new beginning. 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

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

 

"Jack Horkheimer : Star Gazer" is underwritten by a grant from
Noven Pharmaceuticals
Committed to expanding the universe of transdermal drug delivery for the benefit of patients and partners.


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]