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!

Thursday 12/20/01 - 1730 - 1830 Eastern Time

One Hour Feed - 5 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:

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 # 02-01 / 1256th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 12/31/2001 through Sunday 1/06/2002

"Earth Closest To The Sun This Week,
Mercury At Its Best Evening Appearance,
And Jupiter At Its Closest And Brightest
For The Entire Year! "


Horkheimer: Greetings greetings, fellow star gazers and this week in addition to all the bright stars of winter we have 3 wonderful things happening with 3 planets. Planet #1, Mercury, planet #3, our own Earth and planet #5, Jupiter. Let me show you:


O.K., If we could fly out into space this week we would notice that our Earth is at perihelion, which officially means that it's at its closest to the sun for the entire year. Indeed, perihelion occurs precisely on Wednesday, January 2nd this year when we will be only 91.4 million miles away from the sun which is 3 million miles closer than when our Earth will be at aphelion, its farthest point from the sun which will occur this July 5th and 6th. In fact we are so close to the sun this week it actually appears 7% brighter than it will in July.

So why is it colder out in January than July? Simple, because our earth is tilted, the rays of sunlight are less direct and more spread out over the northern hemisphere in January than in July. The opposite is true for the southern hemisphere where the rays of sunlight are more direct in January than July. Which is good for us in the northern hemisphere because if our Earth were at its closest to the sun in July, northern hemisphere summers would be much, much hotter. Think about it.


And now let's take a look at the elusive first planet out from the sun named for the messenger of the gods, 3,000 mile wide, Mercury which during the first 3 weeks of January 2002 will make its best evening appearance for the entire year. To see it at its highest above the horizon, go out next week about 45 minutes after sunset, have a clear flat horizon and look to the west. It will look like a very bright pink light close to the horizon. It is often called the pink iron planet because there is more iron in its core than in our entire earth. It pops in and out of earth's skies frequently but for only brief periods of time so see it now while it makes it best evening appearance for the year.


Then about 1 to 2 hours after sunset face east where the brightest light in the sky will be 88,000 mile wide Jupiter which is now at opposition and about as big and as bright as it ever gets all through January. Because when a planet is at opposition it is at its closest and brightest and is directly opposite the sun as seen from earth and so will be visible all night long. And if you have even the cheapest department store telescope this month with only 50 power Jupiter will look as big as the moon does with your naked eye. You'll see the incredible bands of Jupiter which are belts of gigantic storms completely encircling the planet. Plus if you're lucky you may even see the giant red spot which will look kind of gray in your telescope, but which is a storm so huge we could line up 2 earth's side by side across it. Wow!
What a week and a month. The sun 7% brighter, Mercury at its best and Jupiter at super duper brightness. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

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"Jack Horkheimer : Star Gazer" is underwritten by a grant from Meade Instruments, the world's largest manufacturer of telescopes for amateur astronomers. Meade telescopes automatically locate 1000's of celestial wonders at the push of a button. It's astronomy made simple.


Star Gazer Minute

#02-01 M

12/31/2001 thru 1/06/2002

"Three January Sky Goodies!"

Horkheimer: This January 3 wonderful things are happening with 3 planets: Mercury, Earth and Jupiter. January 2nd our Earth is at perihelion which means that it is at its closest to the sun for the entire year, only 91.4 million miles away which is 3 million miles closer than it will be at aphelion, the farthest point, July 5th and 6th. In fact this week the sun will appear 7% brighter than it will in July. Next week 45 minutes after sunset look west because the pink iron planet Mercury will make its best evening appearance of the year. And a couple hours after sunset face east and 88,000 mile wide Jupiter will dazzle you because it is now at opposition and at its closest and brightest for the entire year. Wow! 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

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"Jack Horkheimer : Star Gazer" is underwritten by a grant from Meade Instruments, the world's largest manufacturer of telescopes for amateur astronomers. Meade telescopes automatically locate 1000's of celestial wonders at the push of a button. It's astronomy made simple.


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. 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!

Thursday 12/20/01 - 1730 - 1830 Eastern Time

One Hour Feed - 5 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:

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 #02-02 /1257th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 1/07/2002 through Sunday 1/13/2002

"The Winter Hexagon and The Summer Triangle
In The Sky At The Same Time,
Right Now In The Dead Of Winter,
Would You Believe?"

Horkheimer: Greetings greetings, fellow star gazers and would you believe that right now for a short time you can see, as expected, the Winter Hexagon and at the same time see, as would not be expected, the Summer Triangle? Let me show you: O.K., we've got our skies set up for any night this week and next at 6 P.M. facing east where you will see the 6 first magnitude stars which mark the points of the Winter Hexagon, all of which are bigger than our million mile wide sun.

Closest to the horizon, almost due east will be Procyon, the brightest star of Canis Minor, Orion's little dog, 1 and 3/4 times the diameter of our sun. To its right, also hugging the horizon, the brightest star in the heavens, Sirius, 1 1/2 times as wide as our sun, which marks the eye of Orion's bigger dog, Canis Major. And you'll notice that when Sirius is close to the horizon it will flash and flicker various colors like a jewel as its light shines through the unsteady lower layers of earth's atmosphere.

Then from Sirius we go to Orion's bright knee star Rigel which marks the 3rd point of the Winter Hexagon, and is a whopping 58 times our sun's diameter! Then from Rigel we go to the bright red star Aldebaran which marks the eye of Taurus the Bull and which is 34 times as wide as our sun. Then go over to Capella, 11 suns wide, in Auriga the Charioteer. And finally to the brightest star of Gemini, Pollux which is 9 suns wide. And with a little imagination you can see that if we connect these stars with lines we have a wonderful hexagon, the great Winter Hexagon which is the best gathering of first magnitude stars you'll ever see in the heavens. Now as hour after hour goes by it will rise higher and higher so that by 9 o'clock all its stars will be well above the horizon and easily visible. But let's put our hexagon back to 6 P.M.

And then let's turn around and face west where you'll see 3 more first magnitude stars grouped together. Almost due west and closest to the horizon is Altair, the brightest star in Aquila the eagle and only 1 and 1/3 times our sun's width. Also close to the horizon, Vega, the brightest star of Lyra the harp, 2 1/2 times our sun's diameter. Then finally, ta da !, Deneb which marks the tail of Cygnus the swan, a whopping 116 times as wide as our sun. And if we draw lines between them we have the great Summer Triangle. But to see it make sure you go out as soon after sunset as possible because by 6:30, two of the triangle's stars will have set.

So there you have it, 9 brilliant stars all larger than our sun; the Winter Hexagon plus the Summer Triangle both visible at the same time in mid-January if you observe around 6 P.M. An hour earlier you won't see all the stars of the hexagon; an hour later you won't see all the stars of the triangle. So if you've been missing a bit of summer here's your chance, however brief, to see it right alongside winter, in the heavens at least. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!


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Please give us your comments. (Click Here)

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"Jack Horkheimer : Star Gazer" is underwritten by a grant from Meade Instruments, the world's largest manufacturer of telescopes for amateur astronomers. Meade telescopes automatically locate 1000's of celestial wonders at the push of a button. It's astronomy made simple.



Star Gazer Minute

#02-02 M

1/07/2002 thru 1/13/2002

"The Wonderful Winter Hexagon"

Horkheimer: Everyone has heard of the SummerTriangle but have you ever heard of the Winter Hexagon? Face east and you'll see the 6 bright star,s all of which are bigger than our sun, which mark the points of the hexagon. Procyon the eye of Canis Minor, 1 and 3/4 times as wide as our sun. Sirius the brightest star in the heavens, 1 and 1/2 times as wide as our sun. Orion's knee star Rigel a whopping 58 times as wide as our sun and the red star Aldebaran, marking the eye of Taurus the bull, 34 times our sun's diameter. Over to Capella 11 suns wide in Auriga the Charioteer and finally Gemini's Pollux 9 suns wide. Connect these stars with lines and we have winter's super star hexagon. 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

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

"Jack Horkheimer : Star Gazer" is underwritten by a grant from Meade Instruments, the world's largest manufacturer of telescopes for amateur astronomers. Meade telescopes automatically locate 1000's of celestial wonders at the push of a button. It's astronomy made simple.

 


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. 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!

Thursday 12/20/01 - 1730 - 1830 Eastern Time

One Hour Feed - 5 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:

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 # 02-03 / 1258th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 1/14/2002 through Sunday 1/20/2002

"The Moon Has Two Near Misses
With Two Planets!"

Horkheimer: Greetings greetings, fellow star gazers and if you're one of those who has a hard time finding the planets, next week the moon will pay a close visit to the two biggest planets in our solar system, the king of the planets Jupiter and the ringed planet Saturn. Let me show you.


O.K., We've got our skies set up for Wednesday January 23rd, early evening, 7 P.M. facing east, where the brightest thing you will see will be a 10 day old moon only 8 degrees away from the 6th planet out from the sun, the ringed beauty Saturn which is still extremely bright and at its finest angle for viewing through a small telescope in many years. It is still in the constellation Taurus the bull and is just above the bright red star which marks one eye of the bull, Aldebaran. In fact, we might say that for the time being Saturn serves as Taurus' second eye.

So you can use the moon on Wednesday the 23rd to find not only Saturn but also Aldebaran. And if you look carefully you'll notice that they are very different in color. Saturn looks kind of a pale yellowish-white and Aldebaran a pale red. And comparing the two when they're so close to each other is really fun. You see Saturn is a planet and does not make its own light. It is bright only because it reflects light from our sun. The body of Saturn is 75,000 miles wide which makes it 13,000 miles smaller than the king of the planets, 88,000 mile wide Jupiter which will follow Saturn across the sky almost all night long. But if we count Saturn's rings then Saturn is much larger than Jupiter because we could line two Jupiters up side by side from one end of Saturn's rings to the other.

Be that as it may, 75,000 mile wide Saturn looks brighter than 30 million mile wide Aldebaran only because it's so incredibly much closer. In fact, Saturn is only 70 light minutes away on the 23rd which means it takes only 70 minutes for light to travel from Saturn to reach us, whereas 30 million mile wide Aldebaran is 65 light years away which means it takes 65 years for Aldebaran's light to reach us. Wow!

Now if it's cloudy on Wednesday the 23rd you can go out on Thursday the 24th and you'll notice that the moon will be the same distance away from Saturn but on the other side heading for Jupiter. So you've got 2 nights to use the moon as a finder for Saturn, Wednesday the 23rd and Thursday the 24th. On the 25th the moon will be closing in on 88,000 mile wide Jupiter and on Saturday the 26th it will have moved just past it. And although it looks much brighter than Saturn it's only because it's so incredibly much closer. Indeed it's only 35 light minutes away. Now the brightest object is the moon. Which is a puny 2,000 miles wide, incredibly smaller than Jupiter, Saturn or Aldebaran. The only reason it shines so brightly and dominates the heavens at night is because it is so close. In fact, it takes its light little more than one second to reach us.

So there you have it, the moon and Saturn on the 23rd and the 24th, and the moon and Jupiter Saturday the 26th. Two planets, easy as pie to find, moon pie that is! I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

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

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"Jack Horkheimer : Star Gazer" is underwritten by a grant from Meade Instruments, the world's largest manufacturer of telescopes for amateur astronomers. Meade telescopes automatically locate 1000's of celestial wonders at the push of a button. It's astronomy made simple.


Star Gazer Minute

#02-03 M

1/14/2002 thru 1/20/2002

"The Moon Has Two Near Misses
With Two Planets!"

Horkheimer: If you have a hard time finding the planets you can use the moon next week to find the two biggest. On Wenesday the 23rd look east and the moon will be only 8 degrees away from 75,000 mile wide Saturn which is still at its finest for viewing through a small telescope in many years. It's in Taurus the bull just above the red star which marks Taurus' eye 30 million mile wide Aldebaran. On Thursday the moon will be the same distance away from Saturn but on the other side. On Friday the moon will be closing in on 88,000 mile wide Jupiter and on Saturday it will be just past it. So you've got two nights to use the moon to find Saturn and two nights to find Jupiter. 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

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"Jack Horkheimer : Star Gazer" is underwritten by a grant from Meade Instruments, the world's largest manufacturer of telescopes for amateur astronomers. Meade telescopes automatically locate 1000's of celestial wonders at the push of a button. It's astronomy made simple.

 


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. 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!

Thursday 12/20/01 - 1730 - 1830 Eastern Time

One Hour Feed - 5 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:

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 #02-04 /1259th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 1/21/2002 through Sunday 1/27/2002

"The Shoulder and Knee Stars
Of Winter's Most Famous Constellation,
Orion The Hunter"

Horkheimer: Greetings greetings, fellow star gazers and as almost everyone knows the most famous star pattern of winter is Orion the great hunter. And although every year we talk about his three equally spaced belt stars and the great nebula hidden within his sword we very seldom talk about his shoulder and knee stars. But we're going to now.


O.K., We've got our skies set up for late January, early February from 7 to 9 P.M. where if you look south you'll see Orion in all his glory. What makes him a dead giveaway are the three equally spaced stars in a row which mark his belt, the only three equally spaced stars in a row in the night sky. And hanging from his belt 3 much dimmer stars which mark his sword. But it's his shoulder stars and his knee stars I want to show you.

Let's start first with his most famous star which marks his eastern shoulder, good old Betelgeuse. It's an arabic word which means 'armpit of the giant' and is correctly pronounced, bet-el-gerz, but most people pronounce it beetlejuice so they can remember it. You see, an easy, although a bit distasteful, way to remember beetlejuice is that this star is a red star and if you stepped on a beetle you'd get red beetle juice. Distasteful enough for you? At any rate Betelgeuse is a giant red variable star and the biggest star in Orion. In fact when it contracts to its smallest size it is 500 times as wide as our million mile wide sun but when it expands to its largest size it is 900 times as wide. So we say that it is 500 to 900 solar diameters. And if you look carefully you will see that it really is red. Orion's other shoulder star, Bellatrix, which in arabic means "the conqueror", is much, much smaller, only 3 times as wide as our sun, only 3 solar diameters and it is a pale blue white. His western knee star is the white supergiant Rigel which is 60 times as wide as our sun, 60 solar diameters. And his other knee star blue Saiph though somewhat smaller is likewise a supergiant and is 38 solar diameters. So our sun really looks puny next to any of these stars, but especially Betelgeuse.

Now although experts disagree as to the exact distance of each of these stars, they are all hundreds of light years away which means that when we look at them we see them not as they exist now but as they existed some time in the past depending upon how far away they are. For instance, when we look at Bellatrix we see it as it existed 300 years ago because it is 300 light years away. When we look at Betelgeuse we see it as it existed 500 years ago because it is 500 light years away. We see Rigel as it existed 1000 years ago and Saiph as it existed 1400 years ago. Wow! So there you have it the shoulder stars and the knee stars of Orion the great hunter. Each one a star much larger than our sun and so far away that none of us will ever live to see what they actually look like in the present time. Something to think about and marvel at. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

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

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"Jack Horkheimer : Star Gazer" is underwritten by a grant from Meade Instruments, the world's largest manufacturer of telescopes for amateur astronomers. Meade telescopes automatically locate 1000's of celestial wonders at the push of a button. It's astronomy made simple.


Star Gazer Minute

#02-04M

1/21/2002 thru 1/27/2002

"The Shoulder and Knee Stars
Of Orion The Hunter"!

Horkheimer: Orion is winter's most prominent constellation so let's look at some of his stars up close. First look south for 3 equally spaced stars in a row which mark his belt. Then up to the left is one of his shoulder stars Betelgeuse which is a red variable star. At its smallest it is 500 times as wide as our sun and at its largest 900 times as wide. His other shoulder star Bellatrix is pale blue and only 3 times as wide as our sun. His western knee Rigel is 60 times as wide. His other knee Saiph is 38 solar diameters. So our million mile wide sun is really puny compared to Orion's shoulder and knee stars. Thank heaven they're not as close as our sun is or we'd all be crispy critters. 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

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"Jack Horkheimer : Star Gazer" is underwritten by a grant from Meade Instruments, the world's largest manufacturer of telescopes for amateur astronomers. Meade telescopes automatically locate 1000's of celestial wonders at the push of a button. It's astronomy made simple.

 


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. 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!

Thursday 12/20/01 - 1730 - 1830 Eastern Time

One Hour Feed - 5 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:

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 #02-05 /1260th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 1/28/2002 through Sunday 2/03/2002

"The Wonderful Stars Of Orion's Belt
Ans How They Turned Me On To Star Gazing"

Horkheimer: Greetings greetings, fellow star gazers. This week I'd like to show you how to find Orion the most famous constellation of winter and the 3 stars in his belt which are the stars that got me seriously interested in star gazing many years ago.

O.K., We've got our skies set up for the next 2 weeks between 8 and 9 P.M. And if you face south you'll easily see 3 stars equally spaced in a row, the only 3 such equally spaced stars visible to the naked eye. In western civilization we see these 3 as the belt of the mythical Orion the mighty hunter. The 2 bright stars below them mark Orion's knees and the 2 bright stars above, his shoulders. But the reason his 3 belt stars are so special to me is because when I was a young man I had a very close friend named Bea Williams who was the most curious person I ever met. She edited and published my hometown newspaper in Randolph Wisconsin. One night we were walking near a lake, she looked up and said "You know I've seen those 3 stars since I was a little girl and I've always wondered if they have names." I was sure they did so I hunted for their names in a book of stars I had as a child. And in looking for their names that night my passion for the stars was rekindled and my life was changed forever.

When I told Bea their names we used to love to pronounce them because they sounded like they came right out of American Indian folk lore although they are Arabic in origin. From left to right they are Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka. I mean doesn't that sound native American? Like names right out of Hiawatha? At any rate, one night I said to Bea, I wish I could just momentarily shut off gravity and fly faster than the speed of light to visit these 3 wonderful belt stars and see what they're really like. And only later after naked eye astronomy became my profession did I discover that in factual imagination I could. So let me take you on an imaginary but scientifically factual journey to these 3 wonderful fun - to - pronounce stars.

If we could fly at the speed of light, 186,000 miles per second, it would take 14 to 16 hundred years to reach them because they are 14 to 16 hundred light years away. Which means that we see them not as they exist now but as they existed 14 to 16 hundred years ago. Compare that to our sun which is only 8 1/3 light minutes away and which we see as it existed only 8 1/3 minutes ago. And they are much grander than our sun. Alnitak is 9 times our sun's diameter and has a super blue-hot surface temperature of 53,000 degrees Fahrenheit compared to our sun's 10,000 degrees. Alnilam is a humongous 16 times as wide as our sun and burns a fiery 51,000 degrees hot. And Mintaka, the baby of the 3, only 6 1/2 times the size of our sun, burns a slightly less fierce 45,000 degrees. Alnitak, Alnilam, Mintaka, 3 magnificent stars whose temperatures and sizes make our sun seem puny by comparison. Is it any wonder that these 3 stars got me all fired up about star gazing. And although you are gone, Bea, thanks again for asking me that question so long ago on a winter's night. It may make you smile to know that I'm still looking at them and sometimes with your lovely daughter Marie. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

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

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"Jack Horkheimer : Star Gazer" is underwritten by a grant from Meade Instruments, the world's largest manufacturer of telescopes for amateur astronomers. Meade telescopes automatically locate 1000's of celestial wonders at the push of a button. It's astronomy made simple.


Star Gazer Minute

#02-05 M

1/28/2002 thru 2/03/2002

"The Wonderful Stars Of Orion's Belt
And How They Turned Me On To Star Gazing"

Horkheimer: This week I'd like to show you, up close, the 3 belt stars of Orion the hunter. Face south between 8 and 9 P.M. And you'll see the only 3 equally spaced stars in a row visible to the naked eye. They mark the belt of Orion . Two bright stars below for knees, two bright stars above for shoulders. When I was young a friend asked me if they had names and in searching for their names my passion for the stars was born. They are from left to right: Alnitak, Alnilam, Mintaka and they are 14 to 16 hundred light years away. Meaning that we see them as they existed 14 to 16 hundred years ago. And each one is several times bigger and brighter than our own sun. Alnitak, Alnilam, Mintaka, 3 wonderful stars of winter. I'm Jack Horkheimer Keep Looking Up!

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

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"Jack Horkheimer : Star Gazer" is underwritten by a grant from Meade Instruments, the world's largest manufacturer of telescopes for amateur astronomers. Meade telescopes automatically locate 1000's of celestial wonders at the push of a button. It's astronomy made simple.

 


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]