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!

Reel # 611 30-minute feed
Monday 11/20/06 1000 to 1030
Includes episodes 0649, 0650, 0651, 0652

 


Star Gazer is also available from NASA CORE. A videotape of the current month is available from NASA CORE for $16.00 plus $6.00 shipping (within the U.S). Please send a VISA, MasterCard, check, money order or an official school purchase order to the address below:

NASA Central Operation of Resources for Educators

Lorain County JVS NASA CORE / 15181 Route 58 South / 440/775-1400 / FAX 440/775-1460 / nasaco@leeca.org / http://core.nasa.gov


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

STAR GAZER 5 MINUTE

Episode # 06-49 / 1513th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 12/04/2006 through
Sunday 12/10/2006

"Don't Miss This Weekend's Super Planet Meeting!
A Once In 50 Years Happening"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. And please be sure to mark this Sunday the 10th and Monday the 11th just before sunrise as the two days you'll see not only the best super planet meeting of the entire year but also the closest meeting of three naked eye planets until November 25th 2053. Wow!

O.K., we've got our skies set up for this Sunday December 10th, 45 minutes before sunrise facing east where you'll see three planets so close together that they could fit within a circle only one degree wide, which is easier to understand if you think of it this way, since a full Moon is only half a degree wide and these three planets would fit in a circle only two full Moon widths wide. And that is close! In fact, as I said we'll not see three naked eye planets this close together again for almost half a century, 47 years from now!

The brightest of the three will be the largest of the planets, 88,000 mile wide Jupiter. The second brightest will be the smallest planet since Pluto got its demotion, 3,000 mile wide Mercury. And although slightly larger but dimmer because it's much farther away than Mercury, 4,000 mile wide Mars. And believe me this is a sight you don't want to miss. I strongly recommend that if you have a pair of binoculars that you use them because you'll be totally blown away. And if you have even the cheapest telescope you'll be blown even farther away.

Now if you miss it because it's cloudy out on Sunday they'll still be almost as close the next day Monday December 11th although in just that short a time Mercury will have moved from being slightly above Jupiter to just slightly below it. Let's show you a couple times again so you can see how dramatically Mercury moves in relation to Jupiter in only 24 hours. So please mark Sunday December 10th and Monday the 11th as super close planet meeting days. Of course they're pretty close all this week as they move closer and closer and closer together. And this Saturday the 9th they will fit inside a circle only one and a half degrees or three full Moon widths wide. But Sunday is the day of their absolute closest meeting.

Now as I reminded you last week even though they will appear super close it is only an optical illusion because in reality all these planets are incredibly far away from each other. It's only our line of sight from our Earth that makes them appear so incredibly close. In fact Mercury will be 120 million miles away this Sunday, Mars 230 million miles away but Jupiter will be a whopping 600 million miles from Earth. Once again Saturday, Sunday, Monday. And remember if you miss this, you won't see another until Nov. 25th, 2053! Keep looking up!

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"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.


Star Gazer Minute

#06-49 M

12/04/2006 thru 12/10/2006

"Don't Miss This Weekend's Super Planet Meeting!
A Once In 50 Years Happening"

Horkheimer: This Sunday and Monday just before sunrise you'll see the closest meeting of three planets until November 25th, 2053! 45 minutes before sunrise face east and you'll see three planets so close they could fit within a circle only one degree wide. The brightest, 88,000 mile wide Jupiter, the second brightest, 3,000 mile wide Mercury, the dimmest, 4,000 mile wide Mars. Their closeness however is an optical illusion. They're each many million miles away from each other. If you have a pair of binoculars or a small telescope, use them please. Because you won't see this for another 47 years. 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!

Reel # 611 30-minute feed
Monday 11/20/06 1000 to 1030
Includes episodes 0649, 0650, 0651, 0652


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 #06-50 /1514th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 12/11/2006 through Sunday 12/17/2006

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


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. Thursday December 21st is the winter solstice, the so-called first day of winter because at 7:22 p.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 each successive day it rises and sets 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 day feels like the shortest day to you? Keep looking up!

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Please give us your comments. (Click Here)

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"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.


 

Star Gazer Minute

#06-50 M

12/11/2006 thru 12/17/2006

"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. Are you a sunriser or a sunsetter? 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!

Reel # 611 30-minute feed
Monday 11/20/06 1000 to 1030
Includes episodes 0649, 0650, 0651, 0652

 


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 # 06-51 / 1515th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 12/18/2006 through Sunday 12/24/2006

"What Do The Stars And Planets Have To Do
With Santa Claus This Christmas Eve?"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. And if you don't believe in Santa Claus this episode is not for you. Because I'm going to show you how Santa will be able to find his way around the northern hemisphere this Sunday night Christmas Eve if his GPS global positioning satellite system goes on the blink. Because he'll be able to use the stars and planets as direction finders just the way he did when I was a kid before anyone even thought of GPS. So let's get started right from where Santa will start, from his home at the North Pole.

O.K., we're at the North Pole and as you may recall from elementary school, in December at the North Pole there is 24 hours of night, which means 24 hours of starlight. So if Santa looks straight up he will see directly overhead a star called the North Star or Polaris because it is located directly above the Earth's North Pole and axis of rotation which means that all the stars in the heavens slowly revolve around the North Star while the North Star remains stationary. It only changes its position in the sky depending on a person's latitude which means that as Santa travels southward the North Star will always be due north but will also descend lower and lower the farther south he travels. And it will always be the same number of degrees above the horizon as the latitude from which Santa is observing.

For instance at the North Pole which is 90 degrees latitude above the equator the North Star is 90 degrees above the horizon directly overhead. But by the time he gets to Fairbanks Alaska, which is 65 degrees above the equator, the North Star will have descended and will be 65 degrees above the horizon. As Santa heads farther south the North Star will continue to dip and by the time he hits the latitudes of San Francisco, Chicago and New York the North Star will be only 40 degrees above the horizon, the same as the latitude of each of those cities. And by the time he gets to Hawaii or south Florida Wow! only 25 degrees above the horizon.

So using the North Star Santa can not only find where north is but also how many degrees above the equator he happens to be. Plus this Christmas Eve 2006 he'll also be able to use some planets for direction finding which you yourself can see. In fact 30 minutes after sunset all across the U.S. look southwest and you'll see an exquisite 4 day old crescent Moon and below it the brightest planet of them all Venus, which is often mistaken for the Christmas star. Around midnight as you and Santa look eastward you'll see the ringed planet Saturn and then an hour before sunrise Christmas morning as Santa heads home look southeast and you'll see the king of the planets Jupiter. So don't fret if Santa's GPS goes on the fritz this Christmas eve. He'll find his way around the old fashioned way, which is a lot more fun in my opinion. Merry Christmas 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
Noven Pharmaceuticals
Committed to expanding the universe of transdermal drug delivery for the benefit of patients and partners.

 


 

Star Gazer Minute

#06-51 M

12/18/2006 thru 12/24/2006

"What Do The Stars And Planets Have To Do
With Santa Claus This Christmas Eve?"

Horkheimer: Did you know that if Santa loses his GPS he'll still be able to find his way around on Christmas Eve using the stars and planets as direction finders. He can always use the North Star to determine his latitude because the North Star will always be the same number of degrees above the horizon as the latitude from where Santa is observing. 90 degrees at the North Pole, 65 degrees in Fairbanks Alaska, 40 degrees in San Francisco, Chicago and New York and so on. But this Christmas he can also use the planets. Just after sunset Venus will be southwest, at midnight Saturn will be east and just before sunrise Jupiter will be southeast. Who needs GPS anyway? Merry Christmas 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.


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!

Reel # 611 30-minute feed
Monday 11/20/06 1000 to 1030
Includes episodes 0649, 0650, 0651, 0652


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 # 06-52 / 1516th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 12/25/2006 through Sunday 12/31/2006

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


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. Every year I encourage you to celebrate New Year's Eve the cosmic way because if you happen to go outside at the stroke of midnight every New Year's Eve 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 Sunday 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 1998. So step outside at midnight this Sunday night and make your New Year's Eve bright with cosmic light. Happy New Year and keep looking up!


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Please give us your comments. (Click Here)

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"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.


 

Star Gazer Minute

#06-52 M

12/25/2006 thru 12/31/2006

"Celebrate New Year's Eve Again 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. So 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

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"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


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