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 908
Wednesday January 20, 2010,1130-1200/SD06
Includes episodes 1005, 1006, 1007, 1008


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 # 10-05 / 1678th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 2/1/2010 through
Sunday 2/7/2010

"Three Of My Favorite Stars Which May Become
Your Three Favorite Stars"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. Every two or three years I like to tell you about three of my favorite stars because they are so easy to find in winter's skies. And because once you learn their names i think you'll love to say them just as much as I do. In fact they are almost cosmic music to my ears. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for all this month of February in early evening and if you face south you'll be able to find these three without any difficulty. Simply look for three stars which appear to be equally spaced and lined up in a row. Super easy to find because they are the only three such equally spaced stars in a row visible to the naked eye. Now for thousands of years in many cultures these three stars have been seen either as the waist or belt of a great sky giant, usually male but sometimes, female. Two bright stars above these three mark the giant's shoulders and the two bright stars below mark the giant's knees. And although this cosmic giant has been called many names throughout history, the name we use today is "Orion" who was a giant warrior hunter in ancient Greek and Roman mythology.

Orion's three belt stars have fascinated me since I was a young man for two reasons: one, because they are the only equally spaced stars in a row you can see with the naked eye and two, for some reason I just love the sound of their names, Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka. Now according to some sources Alnilam comes from the Arabic which means "a string of pearls" which also refers to all three stars. Alnitak means "girdle" and Mintaka means "belt". But no matter what they mean I just love to pronounce their names because they sound so poetic, don't you think? In fact, the 19th century poet Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote "Those three stars of the airy giant's zone that glitter burnished by the frosty dark." but in addition to their poetic beauty their science is equally wonderful and compared to our Sun they'll take your breath away.

You see while our Sun is about a million miles in diameter, Mintaka is 20 times our Sun's diameter and Alnitak is even larger, 25 times as wide as our Sun. But Alnilam, sandwiched between them, blows them both away at a whopping 30 times the width of our own Sun. Wow! And if that's not enough to impress you then think about how far away these three are.

Now we measure distance to stars in terms of the speed of light because they are so far away the term miles is almost useless. Light travels 186,000 miles per second. So we say that our Sun is 8 1/3 light minutes away because it takes 8 1/3 minutes for light to reach is from our Sun. So we actually see our Sun as it existed 8 1/3 minutes ago. The belt stars of Orion however are much farther away, about 1000 light years from Earth, which means that it takes about 1000 years for their light to reach us. So when we look at Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka we are seeing them not as they exist now but as they existed 1000 years ago around the year 1000 a.d. wow! Alnitak, Alnilam, Mintaka, once you've found them you'll never forget them. Three good reasons to 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

#10-05 M

2/1/2010 thru 2/7/2010

"Three Of My Favorite Stars Which May Become
Your Three Favorite Stars"

Horkheimer: Every winter I like to show you how to find my three favorite stars because once you learn their names I think you'll love the sound of them just as much as I do. Every February in early evening face south and you'll see three equally spaced stars in a row. They mark the belt of Orion. And I just love the sound of their names; Alnitak, Alnilam, Mintaka. All three make our Sun look puny by comparison. Even the smallest, Mintaka is 20 times the diameter of our own million mile wide Sun; Alnitak is 25 times as wide and Alnilam 30 times as wide. And at a distance of 1000 light years away we see them not as they exist now but as they existed 1000 years ago. Wow! Alnitak, Alnilam, Mintaka! Isn't it fun to say their names? 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 908
Wednesday January 20, 2010,1130-1200/SD06
Includes episodes 1005, 1006, 1007, 1008


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 #10-06 /1679th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 2/08/2010 through Sunday 2/14/2010

"Two Bright Red Cosmic Lights For Your Valentine
This Valentine's Day Night, Sunday February 14th 2010"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. If you want to give your sweetheart something very special and out of this world this Valentine's Day we have two bright red objects in the cosmos gift wrapped and ready to present absolutely free.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for 8 to 9 p.m. this Valentine's Day night, Sunday February 14th facing east where half way up the sky you'll see a very bright yellow gold light which many people say has a reddish rouge tint to it. It has been known throughout history as the red planet and it is, of course, Mars. At the end of January Mars was at its closest to Earth and at its brightest for all of 2010 and 2011. And although it is now slowly moving away from us each night it is nevertheless extremely bright and quite easy to find. So Mars is your first cosmic red gift for your Valentine.

For your second gift simply turn to your right and look due south and you will see another very bright even redder object shining high above the horizon. It is in fact the brightest red star we can see with the naked eye. And just coincidentally it reaches its highest point above the horizon every Valentine's Day night between the hours of 8 and 9 p.m. It is one of Orion the Hunter's shoulder stars. And its name is Betelgeuse which most people pronounce "beetle juice". So now you have red cosmic gift #2 for your Valentine.

And although Betelgeuse and Mars will look about the same in brightness there their similarity ends. In fact they are about as different as you can get. And you can really impress your Valentine when you tell her or him what they're all about. Mars is not very big cosmically speaking, only half the size of our 8,000 mile wide Earth, 4,000 miles wide. But Betelgeuse is about as big a red Valentine as you'll ever find. In fact if we compare Betelgeuse with Mars and our Sun you'll understand just how big.

Indeed Mars is absolutely dinky compared to our Sun. In fact we could fit over 8.7 million Mars inside it. Betelgeuse however is so huge we could fit over 160 million of our Suns inside it! And that's when Betelgeuse is at its smallest size, because Betelgeuse changes its size regularly like a gigantic slowly pulsating heart. It beats however only once every six years. When Betelgeuse contracts to its smallest size, it is about 500 times the width of our Sun. But when it expands to its largest size it is almost 900 times as wide. Or if you think of it this way, if we could place Betelgeuse where our Sun is when Betelgeuse is at its smallest it would stretch out past the orbits of Mercury, Venus, Earth, all the way to Mars. But when it's at its largest it would reach all the way to Jupiter, wow!

So there you have it, in the south the red star Betelgeuse at its highest above the horizon and in the east the red gold planet Mars half way up the heavens. And perhaps that gold color will inspire you to give your Valentine a bit of the same. Is this a romantic cosmos or what? Happy Valentine's Day night 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

 
 
 
 

Star Gazer Minute

#10-06 M

2/08/2010 thru 2/14/2010

"Two Bright Red Cosmic Lights For Your Valentine
This Valentine's Day Night, Sunday February 14th 2010"

Horkheimer: This year give your Valentine two bright red cosmic objects. Between 8 and 9 p.m. This Valentine's Day night face east and you'll see a bright reddish gold light which is the red planet Mars and your Valentine's gift #1. Then face south and you'll see an even brighter and redder object, which is the brightest red star we can see. And which just coincidentally reaches its highest point every Valentine's night between the hours of 8 and 9 p.m. It is Orion's red shoulder star Betelgeuse and it is Valentine gift number two. But apart from their redness the similarity ends because Mars is a 4000 mile wide planet while Betelgeuse is so huge we could fit over 8 1/2 million Mars inside it. Wow! Impress your mate with a cosmic date. 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 908
Wednesday January 20, 2010,1130-1200/SD06
Includes episodes 1005, 1006, 1007, 1008


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 # 10-07 / 1680th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 2/15/2010 through Sunday 2/21/2010

"Orion The Hunter's Two Wonderful Dogs, Canis Major
And Canis Minor"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. You know it seems that almost everyone's favorite winter constellation is Orion the Hunter. But his two faithful hunting companions, Canis Major and Canis Minor, should not be overlooked because their brightest stars are quite wonderful. Canis Major is Latin for the bigger dog and Canis Minor is Latin for the smaller dog. And this month is perfect for observing this cosmic dog show.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for any night the next few weeks between 7 and 9 p.m. your local time facing due south where the most obvious constellation will be Orion the Hunter. Three bright stars in a row mark his belt, two bright stars mark his shoulders and two bright stars mark his knees. And to find his two faithful hunting dogs all you have to remember is that they follow him across the sky. To find his first dog use the belt trick. Simply shoot an imaginary arrow down through Orion's belt and that arrow will land smack dab on Sirius which marks the eye of Orion's bigger dog and which is also the brightest star we can see with the naked eye.

Now many people draw a stick figure of a dog here in different ways but the one we're showing is my personal favorite. Sirius is mentioned in practically every culture that ever kept records. Even in ancient Egypt it was called the dog star and whenever it was seen rising just before the Sun in early morning it was used as a cosmic sign that the Nile river would soon flood and make the land of Egypt fertile for planting. And if you've ever heard of the hot dog days of summer many of our ancestors believed that Sirius the dog star was responsible for them.

Today we know that Sirius is among the very closest of all the stars, only 8.6 light years away which means that the light we see actually left Sirius 8.6 years ago which is really close. So its closeness has something to do with why it appears so bright although we have to add the fact that it is almost twice as wide as our Sun and because it is so much hotter and is 23 times brighter! Additionally it has a special companion star called a white dwarf. Special because even though it has the same mass as our Sun it is only two Earths wide, which makes its material so dense that a teaspoon of it would weigh several tons here on Earth. Wow!

Not to be out done however, the brightest star of Orion's other dog Procyon, although not quite as bright to the naked eye as Sirius, is even bigger, 2.3 times our Sun's diameter. But because it is not as hot a star as Sirius it shines only 6 times brighter than our Sun. It too, like Sirius, is close, only 2 and a half light years farther away than Sirius, 11.3 light years distant. And strangely and coincidentally, like Sirius, it also has a white dwarf companion star almost identical to Sirius' white dwarf. So there you have it, the two brightest stars of Orion's faithful companions, each with their own little pup, which to my way of thinking is really something to howl about. 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

 
 
 
 

Star Gazer Minute

#10-07 M

2/15/2010 thru 2/21/2010

"Orion The Hunter's Two Wonderful Dogs, Canis Major
And Canis Minor"

Horkheimer: Everyone loves Orion the Hunter but his two dogs hide hidden wonders. In early evening face south then shoot an arrow through Orion's belt and you'll land on Sirius the eye of Orion's bigger dog, the brightest star we can see with the naked eye. It's almost twice as wide as our Sun but 23 times brighter and has a hidden companion called a white dwarf star whose material is so dense a teaspoon of it would weigh several tons on Earth. Procyon, the eye of Orion's other dog, is 2 1/3 times our Sun's size and 6 times brighter. And strangely it too has a white dwarf. So get thee out to see Orion's two cosmic canine companions. And I think you'll agree they're something to howl about. 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 908
Wednesday January 20, 2010,1130-1200/SD06
Includes episodes 1005, 1006, 1007, 1008


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 # 10-08 / 1681st Show

To Be Aired : Monday 2/22/2010 through Sunday 2/28/2010

"How To Find The Gemini Twins And
Their Sensational Siblings"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. Right now the constellation Gemini the Twins is at its best for viewing in early evening. And while most people have heard of the two brightest stars of Gemini, Castor and Pollux, not many people are aware that these twin brothers have a magnificent assortment of hidden siblings. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for the first two weeks of march, 8 to 9 p.m., your local time, facing due south where a third of the way up from the horizon you'll see the brightest star in the heavens Sirius which marks the eye of Orion's bigger dog. And just up to Sirius' right the bright stars which mark Orion himself. But up much higher and to Orion's left you will encounter two more bright stars, which are named for the famous twin brothers in Greek mythology, Castor and Pollux. Pollux, the brighter of the two, is closer to the horizon and if you look closely, has a slightly orangeish tint to it. Castor, on the other hand, although a tiny bit dimmer, is white.

Now for over two thousand years these two stars were considered the patrons of sailors and seafaring peoples and have been long associated with the phenomenon called "St. Elmo's fire". But as ancient as these twin stars are modern science has revealed that there is much more to them hidden from the naked eye. Indeed, upon closer examination we find that the brighter twin Pollux is a humongous star much bigger than its brother and is in fact almost eleven times the diameter of our own million mile wide Sun. Dimmer Castor however, is not to be outdone by his brother because he hides magnificent secrets. In fact with telescopes and other instruments castor has revealed himself to be more than just one star. Indeed way back during the time of the American revolution astronomers discovered that when they looked at Castor through a telescope it had a companion. Thus Castor became the first true binary star ever discovered.

But later as telescopes improved and other astronomical instruments were invented astronomers were astonished to find out that Castor and his hidden brother each had a companion star which made Castor a quadruple star. And then, surprise of surprises, several years later two more smaller siblings were found which gave Castor the distinction of being not just a quadruple star but a sextuplet star, three pairs of stars all moving about each other in an extremely intricate and magnificent cosmic ballet, with four of the stars being bigger than our own Sun. Wow! Whoever said, "appearances are deceiving", wasn't just kidding.

So go outside during the first two weeks of March, 8 to 9 p.m., look due south and after you've found the brightest star Sirius and above him all the bright stars of Orion , look above him and you'll see the most famous twins in the cosmos which modern science has revealed to be seven sensational siblings. Is this universe weird or what? I'm Jack Horkheimer, keep looking up!

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

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here


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

Check Out WPBT's Version

 
 
 
 

Star Gazer Minute

#10-08 M

2/22/2010 thru 2/28/2010

"How To Find The Gemini Twins And
Their Sensational Siblings"

Horkheimer: Everyone has heard about Gemini the Twins, but have you ever heard about their five siblings? Between 8 and 9 p.m. face south and above the brightest star we can see Sirius and the super bright stars of Orion you'll see the two brightest stars of Gemini, white Castor and orangeish Pollux. Brighter Pollux is 11 times wider than our own million mile wide Sun but dimmer Castor is the more fascinating twin. During the American Revolution early telescopes showed it to be a double star but more modern telescopes reveal that it is not just two stars but three pairs of stars, six stars all together orbiting each other in an intricate cosmic ballet. So the twin stars of Gemini are actually seven sensational siblings. 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


[SmilinJack]Return to the [STAR GAZER Main Page]