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. 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!

11/26/99 10:30 - 11:30 am Eastern time (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:

 

Lorain County JVS - NASA CORE

15181 Route 58 South

Oberlin, OH 44074

440/775-1400

FAX 440/775-1460

nasaco@leeca.esu.k12.oh.us

http://spacelink.nasa.gov/CORE

 

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


STAR GAZER

Episode # 99-49

1148th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 12/6/99 through

Sunday 12/12/99

"The Geminid Meteor Shower,

Plus The Moon and Mars

and A Planet Named George"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers and just a quick reminder that one of the best meteor showers of the year, the Geminid Meteor Shower, will be visible for your viewing pleasure from 11 P.M. Monday, December 13th until dawn Tuesday, December 14th. But to see it well, you must be somewhere where it's good and dark out, far from city lights. Bundle up on a lawn chair and see how many you can count in an hour. And for those of you who don't want to stay out late we've got something for you in early evening.

O.K., We've got our skies set up for this Sunday evening just after sunset, looking southwest where you will see an exquisite crescent moon huddled right up next to the 4th planet, the red planet, 4 thousand mile wide Mars. And for those of you with binoculars or a small telescope you'll also be able to see a planet few people rarely ever see, the planet named George. Now as you look at Mars through a pair of binoculars, in addition to seeing several stars, you'll also see what looks like a tiny greenish-blue star right next to a noticeably brighter star named Theta Capricorni. And that little object is a planet 4 times the diameter of our earth and 8 times the diameter of Mars, a 33 thousand mile wide planet almost 2 billion miles away which was discovered only 200 years ago in 1781 at the time of the American Revolution, and named by its discoverer for the very king who was one of the causes of the American Revolution, King George the Third of England.

Indeed, when Englishman Sir William Herschel discovered this planet he named it 'Georgium Sidus' which translated means 'George's Star'. But other astronomers at the time didn't like the idea of politicizing the heavens so they quickly renamed it Herschel, after its discoverer, a name which you can still find in many astronomy books of the last century. But then a big brou-ha-ha ensued and two other astronomers claimed that they had seen it before Herschel although they admitted they didn't know what the heck it was. Which all resulted in a cosmic tempest in a teapot which finally ended with the planet being renamed again for the Greek god of the sky, Uranus which astronomers said was much more in keeping with the mythological names of the other planets.

So if you've never seen the planet George, renamed Herschel, then renamed Uranus, now is your chance. Simply aim your binoculars at Mars this Sunday night and look for a bluish-green speck close by. And if you can't find it Sunday Uranus will be even closer to Mars on Monday and at its closest on Tuesday. And while you're looking at it keep in mind that, unlike the other planets, Uranus is a weird world that went tilt and travels around the Sun on its side so that during part of its 84 year orbit its north pole is aimed directly at the Sun and at other times its south pole is aimed at it. Now aren't you glad we live here on planet number 3? Whatever, grab your binoculars and take a look at planet number 7. It's fun if you Keep Looking Up!

For graphics for this script (Click) Here


Star Gazer Minute

#99-49 M

12/6/99 thru 12/12/99

"The Moon and Mars and

A Planet Named George"

 

Horkheimer: Greetings. If you look southwest Sunday night you will see an exquisite moon huddled up next to the 4 thousand mile wide red planet Mars, and through a pair of binoculars you'll also be able to see the planet named George. It will look like a tiny greenish-blue star, but in reality it is 8 times the diameter of mars, 33 thousand miles wide and 2 billion miles away. It travels around the sun tilted on its side so that sometimes its north pole is aimed at the sun and at other times its south pole. It was named for King George the 3rd during the American Revolution which created such a stink it was renamed for its discoverer, Sir William Herschel, then finally given the name we know today, Uranus, the 7th planet. I'm Jack Horkheimer: Keep Looking Up!


For graphics for this script (Click) Here


Don't miss the cartoon version of

'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of

 

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* 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. 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!

11/26/99 10:30 - 11:30 am Eastern time (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:

 

Lorain County JVS - NASA CORE

15181 Route 58 South

Oberlin, OH 44074

440/775-1400

FAX 440/775-1460

nasaco@leeca.esu.k12.oh.us

http://spacelink.nasa.gov/CORE





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


 

STAR GAZER

Episode #99-50


1149th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 12/13/99 through Sunday 12/19/99

"The Astonishing Lunar Illumination

of December 22nd, 1999!

The Brightest First Night

of Winter in 133 Years! "

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers and as the Old Farmer's Almanac puts it, next week we will experience the "Astonishing Lunar Illumination" of December 22, 1999. Indeed next Wednesday will be the brightest first night of winter in 133 years because three things are all going to happen next Wednesday that will make this final full moon of the millennium a night to remember... three things which have not occurred together since 1866, the year after the Civil War ended.

Now the first event next Wednesday is the Winter Solstice, the first day of Winter, which occurs precisely at 2:44 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. The second is a full moon occurring on the Winter Solstice, an event which happens only once every 19 years. And number three, Wednesday night the moon will be closer to earth than at any time during the entire year, only 222 thousand miles away which is 31 thousand miles closer than when it was at its farthest, which means that this full moon will appear 14% larger. Indeed not since 1866 have we had a full moon on the winter solstice when the moon was at its closest for the entire year. Plus, because December's full moon rides higher across the sky than any other, it will shed its light over a much greater area and because our earth is several million miles closer to the sun at the winter solstice than in summer, the sunlight which strikes the moon will be 7% stronger.

As the Almanac says, "if next Wednesday night is calm and cloudless with the full moon beaming down on a blanket of snow it will be irresistibly attractive, and electrical illumination, even your car's headlights may seem superfluous." Wow! Indeed, next Wednesday night we will be bedazzled by moonlight. Now if you want to see this moon's effect on the landscape around you at its best, I urge you to go outside at midnight when it reaches its highest overhead because then the lighting effect on the landscape will be truly magical. In fact, it wouldn't be a bad night to have a midnight moon party. And if you want to have some real fun go out once an hour after moonrise and as the moon slowly climbs up the eastern sky see how your shadow, cast by this brilliant lunar light grows shorter and shorter until at midnight it almost disappears. Oh how I envy anyone lucky enough to have a blanket of snow covering the ground that night.

And you know although we at this very end of the 20th century do not live our lives in tune with the phases of the moon and changing of the seasons as much as our ancestors did, it is sometimes really good for us to see and experience the earth and the cosmos the way thousands of generations have before us. So get thee outside Wednesday night for a confluence of events that has not happened for 133 years. Bask in a rare illumination and dance in the moonlight. Feel the wonder of the cosmos. and Keep Looking Up!

For graphics for this script (Click) Here


Star Gazer Minute

#99-50 M

12/13/99 thru 12/19/99

"The Brightest First Night

of Winter in 133 Years!"

 

 

Horkheimer: Greetings. Next Wednesday will be the brightest first night of winter in 133 years because three things will happen together which have not happened together since 1866. You see next Wednesday the full moon will happen on the winter solstice and will be at its closest for the entire year, only 222 thousand miles away, making it appear 14% larger and so bright that electric lights will seem superfluous and at midnight when it's almost overhead its eerie bedazzling light will make any landscape magical, but especially if there's snow. So get thee outside Wednesday night ... bask in a rare illumination. And dance in the moonlight. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!



For graphics for this script (Click) Here


Don't miss the cartoon version of

'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of

 

To Subscribe

(only $26.95 for 9 issues)

contact

'ODYSSEY'

30 Grove Street

Suite C

Peterborough, NH 03458

or Click Here




 
* 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. 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!

11/26/99 10:30 - 11:30 am Eastern time (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:

 

Lorain County JVS - NASA CORE

15181 Route 58 South

Oberlin, OH 44074

440/775-1400

FAX 440/775-1460

nasaco@leeca.esu.k12.oh.us

http://spacelink.nasa.gov/CORE




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



STAR GAZER

Episode # 99-51


1150th Show


To Be Aired : Monday 12/20/99 through Sunday 12/26/99

"The Winter Solstice and

Why The Shortest Day of the Year

Doesn't Feel Like The Shortest"
 

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. This week is the week of the winter solstice, the first day of winter for the northern hemisphere which occurs precisely at 2:44 a.m. eastern standard time Wednesday December 22nd, and which coincidentally is also the night of the closest, biggest and brightest full moon of this year. Now although we were taught from early childhood that the first day of winter is the shortest day of the year, to most people it doesn't feel like the shortest.

Why? Let me explain: O.K. we've got our skies set up for March on the first day of spring 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. Now on the 1st day of every spring the sun rises exactly due east and sets due west, after which day by day it rises and sets just a little bit farther to the north until the first 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 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 seems to reverse its direction and rises and sets just a little bit farther south each day. And each successive day, daylight grows a little bit shorter and night grows a little bit longer until the first day of autumn, the Autumnal Equinox, when once again the hours of daylight are equal to the hours of night. Then the sun continues its journey rising and setting a little bit farther south each day until the day of the Winter Solstice when the sun reaches its farthest point southward and once again appears to stand still. And we 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 for most people it doesn't feel like it, and this feeling can be explained astronomically.

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 comes a little bit later each day as we move closer to the winter solstice.So although the days are actually getting shorter it's because the sun is rising later each morning, and since most people judge the length of a day by sunset and not sunrise that's why the days at the beginning of December feel shorter then the shortest day of the year.It's simply a matter of human perception. Of course, after the winter solstice the sun will appear to reverse its direction once again and slowly rise and set a little farther northward each successive day and daylight will get a little bit longer day by day as the sun moves on toward yet another spring. Until next time Keep Looking Up!

For graphics for this script (Click) Here

 


Star Gazer Minute

#99-51 M

12/20/99 thru 12/26/99

"Why The Shortest Day of the Year

Doesn't Feel Like The Shortest"

 

Horkheimer: You know most everyone knows that the first day of winter, the Winter Solstice, is the shortest day of the year which this year is Wednesday December 22nd, and which this year also sports the closest, biggest and brightest full moon in 133 years. But to most people the first day of winter doesn't feel like the shortest, in fact, the first days of December feel much shorter, the reason is astronomical. You see, most people judge the length of a day by sunset and not sunrise and the earliest sunsets occur during the first week of December. So even though the first day of winter is the shortest day of the year, its later sunset makes it feel a bit longer, it's simply a matter of human perception. I'm Jack Horkheimer. Keep Looking Up!

For graphics for this script (Click) Here


Don't miss the cartoon version of

'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of

 

To Subscribe

(only $26.95 for 9 issues)

contact

'ODYSSEY'

30 Grove Street

Suite C

Peterborough, NH 03458

or Click Here


* 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. 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!

11/26/99 10:30 - 11:30 am Eastern time (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:

 

Lorain County JVS - NASA CORE

15181 Route 58 South

Oberlin, OH 44074

440/775-1400

FAX 440/775-1460

nasaco@leeca.esu.k12.oh.us

http://spacelink.nasa.gov/CORE



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


 

 

STAR GAZER

Episode #99-52


1151st Show



To Be Aired : Monday 12/27/99 through Sunday 1/2/2000

"A Star For The Millennium!

A Cosmic Way to Ring In The New Year!"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers and this week I'd like to tell you how to celebrate the millennium the cosmic way because this New Year's Eve and every New Year's Eve something almost magical happens in the heavens which can change forever the way you welcome in any new year. You see, at the stroke of midnight every New Year's Eve the brightest star in the heavens reaches its highest point above the horizon and shines like a dazzling beacon heralding in the New Year.

Let me show you: O.K., first let's take a look at the skies at 8 p.m. your local time, New Year's Eve. We're facing due south and like all good astronomers let's draw an imaginary line which divides the the eastern half of the sky from the western half, an imaginary line called the meridian which runs from the horizon due south straight up to the zenith point and then down the other side of the sky to the horizon due north. Now as the earth slowly and endlessly rotates from west to east we are nightly treated to to the grandest optical illusion in nature, that of watching the stars seem to rise in the east, slowly travel across the sky all night long and eventually set in the west. And if you watch carefully you will eventually deduce that the highest point any star reaches above the horizon in its nightly journey is when it is smack dab 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 an amazing coincidence, something which I had never read about in any astronomy book. And that coincidence is: no matter where you happen to be on New Year's Eve, as hour after hour goes by, the brightest star in the heavens, Sirius, will slowly climb up the southeastern sky and at midnight will reach its highest point and be on the meridian.

Think of it ... the brightest star visible from our planet reaches its highest point above the horizon at midnight every year on 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. But if you happen to miss this on New Year's Eve don't fret because Sirius will be in almost the same spot at midnight each night for the first week of the new year. And to top it off, if you look just to the right of Sirius you will see the most brilliant star pattern of winter, Orion the Hunter, whereas if you look to Sirius' left you will see the most brilliant star pattern of spring, Leo the Lion. How appropriate that the New Year's Eve star shines right between the stars of the old season and and the stars of the new. So might I suggest that this millennial New Year's Eve and every New Year's Eve in the 21st Century you start your New Year bright with cosmic light. Its wonderful! Just Keep Looking Up!

 

For graphics for this script (Click) Here


Star Gazer Minute

#99-52 M

12/27/99 thru 1/2/2000

"A Star For The Millennium"

 

Horkheimer: Greetings. If you'd like to do something different New Year's eve, celebrate the Millennium the cosmic way because this New Year's Eve and every New year's Eve if you look due south at midnight the brightest star in the heavens will reach its highest point above the horizon, shining like a dazzling beacon heralding in the New Year. And best of all if you miss it New Year's Eve it'll still be in almost the same spot at midnight every night during the first week of the new year. It's a wonderful almost magical cosmic coincidence, and one you can see every New Year's Eve at midnight in the 21st century.I'm Jack Horkheimer. Keep Looking Up!

For graphics for this script (Click) Here

 


Don't miss the cartoon version of

'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of

 

To Subscribe

(only $26.95 for 9 issues)

contact

'ODYSSEY'

30 Grove Street

Suite C

Peterborough, NH 03458

or Click Here


* 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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