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!

Half Hour Feed STAH 906
Friday November 20, 2009, 1130-1200/SD06
Includes episodes 0949, 0950, 0951, 0952


Star Gazer is also available from NASA CORE. A videotape of the current month is available from NASA CORE (Contact us for current price)

NASA Central Operation of Resources for Educators (CORE)
Lorain County JVS-CORE
15181 Route 58 South
Oberlin, OH 44074

Phone: (440) 775-1400
Fax: (440) 775-1460
E-mail: NASA_order@lcjvs.net
http://www.nasa.gov/education/core

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

"Star Gazer" is available with iTunes,
for downloading with Quicktime
and we're now on YouTube

 

 
 

STAR GAZER 5 MINUTE

Episode # 09-49 / 1670th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 12/07/2009 through
Sunday 12/13/2009

"DON'T MISS THE BEST METEOR SHOWER OF THE YEAR
NEXT WEEK! AND HOW TO FIND NEPTUNE USING
JUPITER AS A FINDER"


Horkheimer: greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. Boy oh boy have we ever got two cosmic goodies for you. On Sunday night December 13th and early Monday morning December 14th you will have an opportunity to see the best meteor shower of the entire year, the Geminids. So named because they appear to come from the constellation Gemini the Twins. Plus the following weekend the 19th, 20th and 21st Jupiter will be so close to Neptune that all you have to do to fine Neptune is find Jupiter. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for this Sunday night about 10 p.m. facing east where you'll see winter's most famous constellation Orion the Hunter, renowned for the three equally spaced stars, lined up in a row, which mark his belt. If you shoot an arrow down through those stars you'll land on the brightest star we can see Sirius, which marks the eye of Orion's bigger dog. And close to Sirius is the bright star Procyon which marks the eye of Orion's smaller dog. Plus just to his left two not quite as bright stars Castor and Pollux, the two brightest stars of the Gemini twins. And it is from this constellation that the Geminid meteor shower will appear to originate. And this year it should be super good because there will be no moonlight whatsoever to wipe out even the faintest meteors. In fact when it is at its peak some may actually see up to 75 meteors per hour.

Now the Geminid shower is one of those rare showers, which is frequently good before midnight as well as after. But this year I'd suggest you watch from about 10 o'clock in the evening until dawn Monday if you can. It will be better if you get far away from city lights, lie back in a lawn chair or sleeping bag and slowly scan the sky, no binoculars or telescope needed. And if you stay out for a couple of hours you should be able to see several dozen. As time goes by Gemini will rise higher and higher in the sky so that by 2 or 3 a.m. it will be super high above the horizon. Now although we know that almost all meteor showers occur when our Earth rides through a stream of comet debris left in the orbit of a comet, the Geminids are actually asteroid debris and appear every December when our Earth rides through the stream of debris from asteroid Phaethon 3200. So we could call the Geminids an asteroid shower.

And now for you planet aficionados who have never seen the 8th planet Neptune. Get out your small telescope on the 19th, 20th and 21st an hour after sunset, face southwest and aim your telescope directly at super bright, 88,000 mile wide Jupiter. And right beside it about half a degree away you'll see a tiny bluish green spot of light and that is 31,000 mile wide Neptune. And the reason it appears so tiny is because while Jupiter is only half a billion miles away, Neptune is six times farther, almost three billion miles away. Wow! So there you have it your best chance to find Neptune and a super duper asteroid shower. Keep looking up!

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Please give us your comments. (Click Here)

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"Star Gazer" is available with iTunes,
for downloading with Quicktime
and we're now on YouTube

Check Out WPBT's Version

 
 
 
 

Star Gazer Minute

#09-49 M

12/07/2009 thru 12/13/2009

"DON'T MISS THE BEST METEOR SHOWER OF THE YEAR
NEXT WEEK! AND HOW TO FIND NEPTUNE USING
JUPITER AS A FINDER"

Horkheimer: Next Sunday night December 13th and early Monday morning the 14th you can see the best meteor shower of the year, the Geminids. Plus the following weekend you can find Neptune using Jupiter. On the 13th and 14th face east from 10 p.m. to dawn and if you're far from city lights, you'll see several dozen meteors from the Geminid meteor shower, so named because the meteors will appear to come from Gemini. The Geminids occur every December when our Earth rides through a stream of asteroid debris left in the orbit of asteroid Phaethon 3200. On the 19th, 20th and 21st face west and you'll see brilliant 88,000 mile wide Jupiter and through a small telescope right beside it, 31,000 mile wide Neptune. Catch the 8th planet and a super shower! 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!

Half Hour Feed STAH 906
Friday November 20, 2009, 1130-1200/SD06
Includes episodes 0949, 0950, 0951, 0952


Star Gazer is also available from NASA CORE. A videotape of the current month is available from NASA CORE (Contact us for current price)

NASA Central Operation of Resources for Educators (CORE)
Lorain County JVS-CORE
15181 Route 58 South
Oberlin, OH 44074

Phone: (440) 775-1400
Fax: (440) 775-1460
E-mail: NASA_order@lcjvs.net
http://www.nasa.gov/education/core

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


"Star Gazer" is available with iTunes,
for downloading with Quicktime
and we're now on YouTube

 

 
 

STAR GAZER

Episode #09-50 /1671st Show
To Be Aired : Monday 12/14/2009 through Sunday 12/20/2009

"Next Monday December 21st Is The Day Of
The Winter Solstice
But What's It All About Anyway?"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. Next Monday December 21st at precisely 12:47 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 rises and sets 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 once 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 days of the year, meaning the days of least sunlight and most night. So in a nutshell the winter solstice is the day the Sun reaches its southernmost rising and setting point along the horizon and the shortest days of the year occur.

Now a long time ago people were very superstitious and believed that the Sun was a deity of some sort and that if it was angry at humanity it just might continue to rise and set farther south each day until eventually there would be everlasting night and humanity would be wiped out. So many ancient cultures staged elaborate ceremonies and celebrations at the time of the winter solstice entreating the Sun god to stop his journey southward and to begin his journey northward, which of course it always does, repeating the solstice to solstice cycle over and over again. So may I suggest that you keep track of where the Sun rises and sets each day this upcoming year because i think you'll find it both fascinating and a lot of fun. Happy winter solstice and keep looking up!

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

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here


"Star Gazer" is available for downloading
with Quicktime as well as RealPlayer streaming video.

Check Out WPBT's Version

 Click Here

 Click Here

 Click Here

 Click Here

Star Gazer Minute

#09-50 M

12/14/2009 thru 12/20/2009

"Next Monday December 21st Is The Day Of
The Winter Solstice
But What's It All About Anyway?"

Horkheimer: This year the winter solstice is Monday 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. In fact 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


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!

Half Hour Feed STAH 906
Friday November 20, 2009, 1130-1200/SD06
Includes episodes 0949, 0950, 0951, 0952


Star Gazer is also available from NASA CORE. A videotape of the current month is available from NASA CORE (Contact us for current price)

NASA Central Operation of Resources for Educators (CORE)
Lorain County JVS-CORE
15181 Route 58 South
Oberlin, OH 44074

Phone: (440) 775-1400
Fax: (440) 775-1460
E-mail: NASA_order@lcjvs.net
http://www.nasa.gov/education/core

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


"Star Gazer" is available with iTunes,
for downloading with Quicktime
and we're now on YouTube

 

 
 

STAR GAZER

Episode # 09-51 / 1672nd Show

To Be Aired : Monday 12/21/2009 through Sunday 12/27/2009

"Howl In The Blue Full Moon This New Year's Eve!
And You May Win A Telescope!"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. Approximately every 19 years there is a full Moon on New Year's Eve. And since the last one occurred on December 31st 1990 it means that next week's full Moon will also occur on December 31st and I'd like you to celebrate it in a very special way because there will not be another full Moon on New Year's Eve until 2028.

Now twice a month our Earth, Moon and Sun line up in a row. When the Moon is between our Earth and the Sun we can't see the Moon at all because its sunlit side is facing away from us and we say the Moon is new. And about two weeks later the Moon will have moved to the other side of our Earth and we then see the side of the Moon that is fully lit up and we call this the full Moon. Now on average the full Moon occurs every 29 1/2days which means that usually there is only one full Moon per month. But about every two and a half years we can have a month with two full Moons, one at the very beginning of the month and one at the very end. Folklore calls this second full Moon a 'blue' Moon although it has nothing to do with the Moon's color. So since we had a full Moon on December 2nd we're also going to have one December 31st which means that the full Moon this New Year's Eve will be a 'blue' full Moon. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for next Thursday night December 31st New Year's Eve, just after sunset facing east where you will see an exquisite 'blue', no color intended, full Moon rising. And if you remember all full Moons slowly climb the sky and reach their highest point at midnight, which of course this December 31st is when 2009 ends and 2010 begins, an event celebrated with great gusto all around the world. But this year you can do something very special when the Moon reaches its highest point at midnight which you won't be able to do again for 19 years. And that is something I did with a bunch of my neighbors in Miami 19 years ago in 1990.

You see I got all my neighbors together for a New Year's Eve 'howl in'. And from midnight until 12:30 we had a "full blue Moon howl-in-the-New-Year contest". Three judges picked the best and the winners received a brand new telescope. And I think it was the most fun New Year's Eve of my life. So 19 years later I'd like to do the same thing again only on a much bigger scale because I'd like all of you to be my "neighbors" and participate in the first international "Star Gazer, Ring-In-The-New-Year, Full Blue Moon Howl-in". All you have to do is organize a group of 12 people or more, have your own howling contest from midnight 'til whenever, pick your winners, perhaps award some prizes and then take a picture or video of your group and e-mail it along with your address to jackstargazer.com. In late January we'll select a dozen groups at random and each selected group will win a beginner's telescope. Go to jackstargazer.com for all the details, so get your group together and join the Star Gazer First International "Blue Full Moon-Howl-In-The-New-Year" celebration. Happy 2010! And keep looking up!


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

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here


"Star Gazer" is available for downloading
with Quicktime as well as RealPlayer streaming video.

Check Out WPBT's Version

 Click Here

 Click Here

 Click Here

 Click Here

Star Gazer Minute

#09-51 M

12/21/2009 thru 12/27/2009

"Howl In The Blue Full Moon This New Year's Eve!
And You May Win A Telescope!"

Horkheimer: Whenever a month has two full Moons the second full Moon is called a 'Blue' Moon although it has nothing to do with its color. This December we had a full Moon on the second and we'll have one next week on New Year's Eve. And if you join our "Star Gazer Full Blue Moon howl in" you just may win a telescope. On New Year's Eve after sunset face east and the full Moon will be rising. It will slowly climb the sky and just coincidentally will reach its highest point at midnight ringing in the New Year. So we suggest that you organize a group of twelve people or more and have a Full Blue Moon howling contest at midnight. Send us a picture or video of your group and you may win one of 12 beginner's telescopes. Go to jackstargazer.com for details and make plans for your "Howl-In The New Year" party now! 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:

Half Hour Feed STAH 906
Friday November 20, 2009, 1130-1200/SD06
Includes episodes 0949, 0950, 0951, 0952


Star Gazer is also available from NASA CORE. A videotape of the current month is available from NASA CORE (Contact us for current price)

NASA Central Operation of Resources for Educators (CORE)
Lorain County JVS-CORE
15181 Route 58 South
Oberlin, OH 44074

Phone: (440) 775-1400
Fax: (440) 775-1460
E-mail: NASA_order@lcjvs.net
http://www.nasa.gov/education/core

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



"Star Gazer" is available with iTunes,
for downloading with Quicktime
and we're now on YouTube

 

 
 

STAR GAZER

Episode # 09-52 / 1673rd Show

To Be Aired : Monday 12/28/2009 through Sunday 1/3/2010

"Mars Races Toward Earth For A Close Meeting
And A "New Year's Eve Blue Full Moon Howl-In" Reminder"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. If you see this episode before New Year's Eve I'd like to remind you how you can win a telescope by joining our "Blue Full Moon New Year's Eve Howl-In". If however you see this show after New Year's Eve, I'd like to show you how to use the Moon this Sunday and Monday to find Mars which will be at its closest and brightest for all of 2010 and 2011 at the end of January.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for this New Year's Eve Thursday evening December 31st just after sunset facing east where you will see an exquisite full Moon rising. It will be the second full of Moon of December, and whenever a month has two full Moons the second one is always called a Blue Moon although it has nothing to do with the Moon's color. But here is the really nifty part. As hour after hour goes by the Moon will climb higher and higher and reach its highest point above the horizon at midnight, the moment we ring in the New Year, wherever you happen to be. And because it is a December full Moon it will be extremely high at midnight. This won't happen again for 19 years, until 2028.

So we suggest you celebrate this year a little differently. Get together a group of twelve or more people and have a "Full Blue Moon Howling Contest" between midnight and 12:30 and select the best howlers in your group. Award prizes if you like. And if you want to win a telescope for your group take a photo or video of your howlers and e-mail them to us at jackstargazer.com where you can also get all the details of this "International Full Moon Howling". We'll have a random drawing and your group may win one of twelve brand new beginner's telescopes. This will be a unique way to ring in the New Year and you can do it in your own neighborhood. I did it for my neighbors in Miami 19 years ago and it was the most fun New Year's Eve I've ever had.

And now for you planet aficionados let me just say that the tiny 4,000 mile wide red planet Mars is racing toward Earth and will get steadily brighter every single night until it reaches its brightest on Friday January 29th. And you can start your Mars watch on New Year's Eve while you are out Moon howling. Just look east for Leo the Lion who's marked by a sickle shaped group of stars followed by a triangle. Just above the sickle, Leo's head, you'll see a rouge-gold light and that is Mars, only 12 degrees away from Regulus, the star which marks Leo's heart. Watch Mars get brighter and brighter every single night. But if you're one of those who has a real hard time finding planets then go out at midnight this Sunday the 3rd and you'll see the Moon just beneath it forming a triangle with it and Regulus. And on Monday the 4th the Moon will be just past Regulus making a nice curved arc with it and Mars. And think of this: on January 1st Mars will be 69 million miles away but by January 29th it will be 7 million miles closer. Wow!

Watch it brighten every night and plan now to have your own "Blue Full Moon Howl-In New Year's Eve" party. Who knows, your group may win a new telescope. 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


"Star Gazer" is available with iTunes,
for downloading with Quicktime
and we're now on YouTube

Check Out WPBT's Version

 Click Here

 Click Here

 Click Here

 Click Here

Star Gazer Minute

#09-52 M

12/28/2009 thru 1/3/2010

"Mars Races Toward Earth For A Close Meeting
And A "New Year's Eve Blue Full Moon Howl-In" Reminder"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings. If you see this before New Year's join us in our Blue Full Moon New Year's Eve Howl-in because a full Moon will be almost overhead at midnight New Year's Eve. Go to our website for details and you may even win a telescope. Mars is racing toward us and this January it will be at its brightest and closest for all of 2010 and 2011. To find it easily look east at midnight this Sunday and you will see it just above the Moon near Leo the Lion, forming a nice triangle with Leo's brightest star Regulus. And on Monday the Moon will be just past Regulus making a curved arc with it and Mars. On January 1st Mars will be 69 million miles away but by January 29th it will be 7 million miles closer. Wow! 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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