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!

One hour feed
Tuesday 11/20/07 1000 to 1100
Includes episodes 0749, 0750, 0751, 0752, 0753


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 # 07-49 / 1565th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 12/03/2007 through
Sunday 12/09/2007

"Next Week's Geminid/Asteroid Shower
Should Be A Real Goodie!"



Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. On Thursday evening December 13th from 9 p.m. to midnight and on Friday the 14th from midnight to dawn we will be treated to the only known asteroid shower. Officially known as the Geminid meteor shower, in reality it is an asteroid shower because it is the only meteor shower, which comes from asteroid debris and not comet debris. Plus ta da! Next week the asteroid responsible for this shower 3200 Phaethon, will make its closest approach to Earth since its discovery in 1983. Wow!

O.K., we've got our skies set up for next Thursday evening December 13th about 9 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 the two brightest stars of Gemini the twins for which this Geminid meteor/asteroid shower is named because all the meteors will appear to originate from Gemini. Plus this year there will be a super bright light in Gemini which is rouge gold Mars which is now brighter than any star in the sky and which won't be this bright again until the year 2016! Plus it will be officially at opposition on Christmas Eve. Wow again!

Now the time to start watching the Geminids will be around 9:30 to 10 o'clock because then the Moon will have set so there will be no moonlight to wipe out the faintest meteors. And as always you should be as far away from city lights as possible. You may see a few dozen 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 debris, 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. What we see is a brief streak of light as the speck of space debris burns up and plunges to its fiery death.

Now a few times every year our Earth regularly plows into massive concentrations of space debris which we call meteor streams, but which are really great rivers of comet dust. You see comets orbit 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 debris rivers we experience a meteor shower. The best one usually occurs in August and is called the Perseid meteor shower. But the second best is often December's Geminid meteor shower, which, as I mentioned earlier, is different than all the others because its debris comes from an asteroid not a comet! If you watch from around 9:30 to midnight you'll notice that Gemini, Mars and Orion will all move higher and higher reaching their highest point around 2 a.m. after which you'll have to face west as Gemini slowly descends. Happy asteroid shower and keep looking up!

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Star Gazer Minute

#07-49 M

12/03/2007 thru 12/09/2007

"Next Week's Geminid/Asteroid Shower
Should Be A Real Goodie!"

Horkheimer: From 9 to midnight Thursday the 13th and midnight to dawn Friday the 14th we'll be treated to the Geminid meteor/asteroid shower. If you're far from city lights you may see a few dozen per hour. Face east and you'll see Orion and the two brightest stars of Gemini plus Mars at its brightest until the year 2016. They'll slowly rise until they're at their highest around 2 a.m. and then slowly descend toward 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 a river of asteroid debris. So happy asteroid shower and keep looking up!

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Please give us your comments. (Click Here)

 

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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!

One hour feed
Tuesday 11/20/07 1000 to 1100
Includes episodes 0749, 0750, 0751, 0752, 0753


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 #07-50 /1566th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 12/10/2007 through Sunday 12/16/2007

"The Moon At Perigee, The Moon At Its Highest,
Mars At Its Best And The Winter Solstice"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. And have we ever got some goodies for you to kick off Christmas week. So mark these three dates on your calendar: December 22nd, 23rd and 24th. On December 22nd not only will an almost full Moon be at its very closest for the month but the 22nd is also the day of the winter solstice, the first day of winter. On the next day the 23rd the Moon is officially full and thus has the name Moon before Yule and will be the highest riding full Moon of any full Moon until December 26th of the year 2023. On top of which on December 24th the red planet Mars will be at its brightest and officially at opposition and up all night riding across the sky alongside both a full Moon and good old St. Nick. Let me show you.

Saturday December 22nd gets off with a bang because at 1:08 a.m. Eastern Standard Time or your local equivalent winter officially begins in the northern hemisphere because that is the precise moment of the winter solstice at which time the Sun will be at its farthest point south of the celestial equator which means that if you go out and watch the Sun rise on Saturday morning it will rise at the farthest point south of east for the entire year and will set at sunset at its farthest point south of west for the entire year. But that's not all that's happening on Saturday because 3 hours and 52 minutes later at 5 a.m. Eastern Standard Time you may want to go outside and look west at the Moon because at precisely that moment it will officially be at perigee which means that it will be at its closest to the Earth for the entire month, only 224,119 miles away which is 28,223 miles closer than it was when it was at apogee on Dec. 6. So don't be surprised if it looks a little bit bigger than usual.

But it gets even better because on Sunday Dec. 23rd if you go outside just after sunset and look east you will see an exquisite full Moon followed by the rouge gold planet Mars which right now is at its closest and brightest until 2016. And both Mars and the Moon will travel across the sky all night long side by side reaching their highest point between midnight and 1 a.m. And when I say highest point I mean highest because this full Moon will take the highest path of any full Moon across the sky until the year 2023. And Mars will take its highest path across the sky until the year 2040! Don't miss this please and if you have a small telescope take a look at Mars and the Moon any time of the night for even more fun. But if that's not enough on the next night Christmas eve, Dec. 24th Mars is officially at opposition which means that it is directly opposite the Sun as seen from Earth and is in the sky all the hours the Sun is not and at its very peak for viewing until the year 2016. Wow! So there you have it, on the 22nd celebrate the first day of winter and the closest Moon of the month, on the 23rd watch the highest riding full Moon and Mars glide across the sky together all night long and on Christmas eve Mars is at opposition! Happy holiday skywatching and keep looking up!

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Star Gazer Minute

#07-50 M

12/10/2007 thru 12/16/2007

"The Moon At Perigee, The Moon At Its Highest,
Mars At Its Best And The Winter Solstice"

Horkheimer: Saturday the 22nd, Sunday the 23rd and Monday Christmas Eve the 24th are super cosmic goodie nights. Saturday is the first day of winter, the winter solstice, and you can see the Sun rise and set at its farthest southern point on the horizon plus the Moon on Saturday will look bigger because it's the closest moon of the month. On Sunday the full Moon and super bright Mars ride across the sky together all night long. In fact the Moon will take its highest path of any full Moon until the year 2023 and Mars will take its highest path until the year 2040. And on Christmas Eve Mars is officially at opposition and at its very peak for viewing until 2016. Happy holiday viewing and keep looking up!


Please give us your comments. (Click Here)


For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here


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!

One hour feed
Tuesday 11/20/07 1000 to 1100
Includes episodes 0749, 0750, 0751, 0752, 0753


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 # 07-51 / 1567th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 12/17/2007 through Sunday 12/23/2007

"What Do Santa Claus, The Moon And Mars Have In Common?"

 

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. And in case you are wondering exactly what Santa Claus, the Moon and Mars do have in common the short answer is all three will be up all night from Sunset Christmas Eve to Sunrise Christmas morning. In fact old Saint Nick will be able to fly all night long guided by the light of the highest riding full Moon until the year 2023 accompanied by Mars at its highest until 2040! Plus Mars will be at its closest and brightest until the year 2016! And if that's not enough, Mars will also be officially at opposition on Christmas Eve which means that it will be at its very best for this close encounter! Let me explain.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for this Sunday December 23rd one hour after sunset facing east where you will see a brilliant full Moon, called the Moon before Yule, and right below it the 4th planet out from the Sun, half the size of our Earth, 4,000 mile wide rouge gold Mars which will not be this close or this bright for another 8 1/2 years. In fact Mars will be brighter than any star in the sky. Plus if you go out every hour you will see that Mars and the full Moon will stay beside each other all night long climbing the sky until they reach their very highest point around midnight after which they will slowly descend toward the west and will set in the west as the Sun rises in the east. So they'll both be in the sky all night long from sunset to sunrise.

Now 24 hours later on Christmas Eve Mars will be officially at opposition which means that it will be directly opposite the Sun as seen from Earth and thus will be in the sky all the hours that the Sun is not. So wherever you happen to be on Christmas Eve if you look to the east just after sunset you will be able to watch Mars rise higher and higher above the eastern horizon followed by the Moon. And they'll travel across the sky together in this formation all night long. So dear old Santa will have two celestial companions to light up the night, a super bright Moon and a super bright Mars.

But just how close is Mars this Christmas Eve? Well about 14 months ago September 30th 2006 Mars was 242 and 1/2 million miles away. But by January 1st of this year Mars was only 221 million miles away, and we've been chasing it ever since. On June 1st it was only 150 million miles away, by December 1st only 57 1/2 million miles away but on Christmas Eve ta da! It will be only 55 million miles away and so bright it will knock your socks off. So if you get a telescope for Christmas make sure that one of the first things you look at through it is good old rouge gold Mars. And if it's not cloudy out Christmas Eve I guarantee you will see both Mars and the Moon. And I think I can safely say that this year Mars' red light will completely outshine Rudolph's! Keep looking up!


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Star Gazer Minute

#07-51 M

12/17/2007 thru 12/23/2007

"What Do Santa Claus, The Moon And Mars Have In Common?"

 

Horkheimer: What do Santa Claus, Mars and the Moon have in common? All three will ride across the sky all night long Christmas Eve. Face east just after sunset and you'll see a beautiful full Moon and just below it rouge gold Mars at its brightest until 2016. In fact on Christmas Eve Mars is officially at opposition and at its very best for viewing. This is the highest riding full Moon until the year 2023 and highest riding Mars until the year 2040. Watch them as they slowly climb the heavens until they're at their very highest around midnight, then watch them slowly descend until dawn Christmas morn. Santa won't need Rudolph this year, Mars' red light will guide him through the night! Keep looking up!


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

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here


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!

One hour feed
Tuesday 11/20/07 1000 to 1100
Includes episodes 0749, 0750, 0751, 0752, 0753


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 # 07-52 / 1568th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 12/24/2007 through Sunday 12/30/2007

"Ring In The New Year With Star Gazer's Special
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 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 Monday 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 1999 a year and a half before the new millennium began. So as you ring in 2008 you'll be looking at a star as it actually existed at the very end of the 20th century. Step outside at midnight this Monday night and make your New Year bright with cosmic light. Keep looking up!


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Star Gazer Minute

#07-52 M

12/24/2007 thru 12/30/2007

"Ring In The New Year With Star Gazer's Special
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. Blue-white Sirius is much hotter than our Sun and almost twice as big and since it is 8 1/2 light years away, 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 1999. So as you ring in 2008 you'll be looking at a star as it actually existed at the very end of the 20th century. Wow! 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

 


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!

One hour feed
Tuesday 11/20/07 1000 to 1100
Includes episodes 0749, 0750, 0751, 0752, 0753


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 # 07-53 / 1569th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 12/31/2007 through Sunday 1/6/2008

"The Wonderful Cosmic Red Triangle
Of January 2008"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. And are we ever gonna kick off 2008 with flying colors! Well at least one color, the color red. Because all through January in early evening three super bright red objects make a great triangle in the heavens giving you an opportunity to explore their beauty, their variations of the color red and their somewhat awesome realities. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for any night the first two weeks of January around 8 p.m. facing east where the brightest thing you'll see is the planet which only a week ago on Christmas Eve was officially at opposition and at its closest and brightest until the year 2016, a planet only half the size of our Earth, the planet named for the roman god of war because of its sometimes bloody red color, our old friend Mars. Now although we call Mars the red planet its color and its brightness varies drastically depending on its distance and other factors. Much of its surface as seen by our space craft appears to be a rusty red due to all the iron oxides in its soil. But from Earth it frequently appears to be a rouge gold color, rather brassy looking with a tint of red like the color of a campfire.

It is the brightest point in our triangle and the second brightest is down to its right. It's also an old friend, the red star Betelgeuse which marks one of the shoulders of Orion the Hunter. Directly above it and the dimmest of the three is the red star Aldebaran, which marks the eye of Taurus the bull, and it too is a slightly different shade of red than either Betelgeuse or Mars. And all three together this January mark the points of a great triangle I simply call the red triangle which gives us a rare opportunity to not only explore the cosmic variations of the color red, but to also compare the nature of these very different objects. As I said, Mars is a 4,000 mile wide planet but Aldebaran is a star.

Now our Sun is a star too and it is about a million miles in diameter. But Aldebaran puts our Sun to shame because it is 40 times as wide, quite impressive for a star! Even so it's not as impressive as Betelgeuse because it puts Aldebaran to shame. Indeed Betelgeuse is a variable star, which changes its size, expanding and contracting on a regular basis. When it is at its smallest it is over 500 times as wide as our Sun, but when it is at its biggest, it's over 900 times as wide. Wow! The only reason Mars appears the brightest is because it's so close only 5 light minutes away, which means it takes only 5 minutes for its light to reach us. Aldebaran on the other hand is 65 light years away, which means it takes 65 years for its light to reach us. Betelgeuse however is so incredibly distant we see the light that left it over 500 years ago! So get thee out any clear night this January 2008, face east and look for the great red triangle which gives a whole new meaning to the color red. Keep looking up!


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Star Gazer Minute

#07-53 M

12/31/2007 thru 1/6/2008

"The Wonderful Cosmic Red Triangle
Of January 2008"

Horkheimer: This January three super bright red objects make a triangle in the heavens and you can see it in early evening. Face east around 8 p.m. and you'll see rouge gold Mars, which is now at its brightest and closest until 2016. To its right Betelgeuse the red shoulder star of Orion and above it Aldebaran the red eye star of Taurus the bull. The brightest Mars is the smallest only 4,000 miles wide while Aldebaran is 40 times as wide as our million mile wide Sun! Betelgeuse however blows them both away, changing its size from 500 times our sun's width to over 900 times as wide. Wow! Compare their colors this January and be blown away by their awesome reality! Keep looking up!


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

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

 


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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