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!

Fri 6/20/03 - 1100-1130 Eastern Time 4 Shows

Half Hour Feed - 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:

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 # 03-27 / 1335th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 7/07/2003 through
Sunday 7/13/2003

"Mars Doubles Its Brightness This Month
As It Races Towards Earth And
Has A Super Spectacular Meeting
With The Moon On The 17th"

 

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers and as most of you have heard the red planet Mars has been racing toward Earth for several months and will be at its brightest and closest to Earth in almost 60,000 years next month on August 27th. So I strongly recommend that if you haven't started watching Mars at least once a week you should do so now. And I also implore you to mark Thursday the 17th as the night Mars will have an absolutely spectacular close meeting with our Moon. Let me show you.

O.K., we've go our skies set up for any night this week and next between midnight and 1 a.m. facing southeast where the brightest object you will see will be the just risen 4,000 mile wide planet Mars. Now various people describe Mars' color in different ways. I always like to think of it as kind of an orangeish ruby-gold, more orangeish than red and sometimes kind of brassy looking. Now because Mars rises shortly before midnight the next couple of weeks you may want to give Mars a bit of time for it to clear your local horizon which means you might want to wait a half hour or so for it to get well enough above the horizon for easy viewing.

At any rate, you will actually be able to watch Mars brighten all month long. In fact it will double its brightness throughout July and by the end of the month it will rise around 10 p.m. So start your Mars watch now because it's bright enough to be seen from even the most brightly lit up cities and through a small telescope you can see several of its markings. But if you're the kind of person who likes to go out star gazing only once a month or so then please mark late Wednesday night July 16th and early Thursday July 17th from midnight 'til sunrise as the one night you have to watch Mars because it will be accompanied by an absolutely exquisite 18 day old waning gibbous Moon.

Start looking around eleven p.m. Wednesday and then watch the two of them as they rise higher hour after hour and move side by side in an arc across the sky from southeast to southwest. You'll be absolutely amazed as Mars and the Moon come closer and closer to each other hour after hour, although the exact view will be slightly different from each geographical location. But generally speaking around 4 a.m. Eastern daylight Time or your equivalent, Mars and the Moon will be at their absolute closest, so close they'll take your breath away. And in fact, people in extreme south Florida will actually see the Moon occult, that is pass over and hide Mars, from 4:15 to 4:52 a.m. an event, which seen through a small telescope, will take anyone's breath away. So there you have it, Mars doubles its brightness during July and on the 17th the Moon and Mars do a super close pas de deux across the sky from midnight to dawn. Oh boy, is this getting exciting or what? 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

#03-27M

7/07/2003 thru 7/13/2003

"Mars And The Moon Have
A Spectacular Meeting, July 17th "

Horkheimer: Mars is racing towards us and will actually double its brightness during July. Plus it has a super close meeting with the Moon on the 17th. Around midnight on the 17th you can watch the two of them as they move side by side in an arc across the sky and get closer and closer to each other. Around 4 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time they will be at their closest and in fact, people in extreme south Florida will actually see the Moon occult, that is pass over and hide Mars which seen through a small telescope will make an exciting event. Don't miss this super close pas de deux as the Moon and Mars glide across the sky from midnight to dawn. 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!

Fri 6/20/03 - 1100-1130 Eastern Time 4 Shows

Half Hour Feed - 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:

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 #03-28 /1336th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 7/14/2003 through Sunday 7/20/2003

"Jupiter And Mercury Meet And Change Places
And Our Moon Pays A Visit To Saturn"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers and mark next Monday July 21st as the beginning of a super Jupiter / Mercury sky watch. Because next week they will approach each other night after night, have a super close meeting and then switch places. And you can watch it all. Plus on the weekend of the 26th and 27th an exquisite Moon will pair with the ringed planet Saturn.

O.k., we've got our skies set up for Monday evening July 21st about 40 minutes after sunset during twilight while there is still a glow in the western sky, facing west. And if you have a really clear flat horizon you'll see the planet king, 88,000 mile wide, Jupiter very close to the horizon. But make sure you look in twilight because by the time it gets dark it will have set. Up to the left of Jupiter you'll see the brightest star of leo the lion, the star that marks his heart, Regulus. Then if you've really got a clear flat horizon look down to the right of Jupiter, and you'll see the first planet from the sun, the tiny, pink, iron planet, 3,000 mile wide Mercury. And if you can't see it with the naked eye use a pair of binoculars. Now on the 21st they'll be only 6 degrees away from each other.

Or if you'd like to think of it this way, since the full Moon is 1/2 a degree wide, 6 degrees is the equivalent of lining up 12 full Moons side by side between Mercury and Jupiter. On Tuesday the 22nd they'll be only 4 1/2 degrees or 9 full Moons apart; on Wednesday only 3 degrees or 6 full Moons apart and on Thursday only 1 1/2 degrees or 3 full Moons apart. But the big day, ta da! Is Friday the 25th when they will appear their absolute closest, less than 1/2 a degree apart; which means that not even one full Moon could squeeze between them. The next day Mercury and Jupiter pull away from each other and Mercury is now on top and Jupiter on the bottom, and once again, only 1 1/2 degrees or 3 full Moons apart. On the 27th 5 full Moons will separate them and on the 28th they are 8 full Moons apart plus you'll notice Mercury is closing in on the heart of the lion Regulus. In fact ta da! on Tuesday the 29th, Mercury will pay a super close visit to Regulus and less than 1 1/2 full Moons could fit between them. Once again, Monday the 21st, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and ta da! Friday the 25th the super close meeting! Then Saturday, Sunday, Monday and finally, ta da!, Tuesday the 29th Mercury and Regulus have a super close meeting!

But don't let appearances fool you. Because even though these two planets appear from earth to almost bump into each other, in reality Mercury is only 109 million miles away next week while Jupiter is a whopping 586 million miles beyond. But if that's not enough, on Saturday the 26th one hour before sunrise, look east and an exquisite old crescent Moon will hover above and make a beautiful picture with Saturn. Plus on Sunday the 27th an even more exquisite crescent will be just beyond it. How lovely. 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.



Star Gazer Minute

#03-28 M

7/14/2003 thru 7/20/2003

"Jupiter And Mercury Meet And Change Places"

Horkheimer: Monday the 21st you can start watching Jupiter and Mercury as they move closer to each other each night, have a super close meeting and then switch places. On Monday, 88,000 mile wide Jupiter will be only 6 degrees or 12 full Moons away from 3,000 mile wide Mercury. Tuesday 9 full Moons apart, Wednesday, 6 full Moons, Thursday 3 full moons and ta da! Friday the 25th not even one full Moon could squeeze between them. The next day they've changed places and Mercury rises higher as Jupiter sinks lower. But even though they appear close to each other, in reality Mercury is 109 million miles away next week while Jupiter is a whopping 586 million miles away. 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!

Fri 6/20/03 - 1100-1130 Eastern Time 4 Shows

Half Hour Feed - 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:

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 # 03-29 / 1337th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 7/21/2003 through Sunday 7/27/2003

"Vega : The Arc Light Of Summer Nights
And The Apex Of The Sun's Way"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. Have you ever looked up at the night sky and wondered what direction we're headed? I mean all the stars are flying though space at different speeds. And since our Sun is also a star it too is flying through space. But what direction is our Sun and all its planets, including our Earth, headed? Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for any clear night the next couple of weeks from 9 to 10 p.m., your local time. And if you look east half way up from the horizon to overhead you will see a very bright star; which is the 5th brightest star we can see from Earth. It's name is Vega and it is the brightest of the three bright stars which make up The Summer Triangle, the other two being Deneb and Altair. In fact, Vega is so bright that it's been nicknamed "The arc light of summer nights". Now its blue­white color tells us that it is a super hot blue-white star; which is much hotter than our own yellow-orange Sun. In fact, our Sun is a mere 10,000 degrees hot at its so-called surface while Vega is a blistering 17,000 degrees. Plus it's over twice as wide as our 865,000 mile wide Sun, almost 2 million miles in diameter. So because Vega is not only hotter but bigger. If we could place Vega and our Sun side by side, Vega would shine 58 times brighter; talk about getting a suntan in a hurry.

But one of the niftiest things I like about Vega is that 14,500 years ago it was our North Star, much brighter than our current North Star. You see the North Star is simply the star directly above our Earth's north pole, the one towards which our Earth's axis points and because of a regular very slow wobbling motion of our Earth, like a top slowing down, Earth's axis doesn't always point to the same spot in the heavens. In fact, our Earth's axis traces out a great circle in the sky and approximately once every 26,000 years it points to Vega. So 14 and a half thousand years ago Vega was the North Star of our cave man ancestors and it will be our North Star once again, 11 and a half thousand years from now. Another reason I really like Vega is because it marks the direction our Sun and Earth are headed. In fact, our Sun and Earth are racing at the incredible speed of 12 miles per second towards Vega. But because Vega is 27 light years away it would take our Sun almost 500 million years to reach it. Unfortunately however, by the time we get there Vega will have already moved, so don't pack your bags for Vega yet. I

nstead, just go out any clear night the next couple of weeks between 9 and 10 p.m. Look high above the eastern horizon for the three bright stars of the Summer Triangle and concentrate on Vega, nicknamed both "The arc light of summer nights", and "The Apex of our Sun's way" and see if you can feel, in your minds eye, our Earth and all of us on it, zooming through space at 12 miles per second toward it. And remember that although we have a dim North Star now, in only 11 and a half thousand years, Vega will be our super bright north star once again. 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

#03-29 M

7/21/2003 thru 7/27/2003

"Vega : The Arc Light Of Summer Nights
And The Apex Of The Sun's Way"

Horkheimer: Our Sun, like all stars, is flying through space. So where is it headed? Look east and you'll see Vega the brightest of the three stars of The Summer Triangle. It is much hotter than our Sun and over twice its size. And every 26,000 years our Earth's axis points to Vega; which makes it our North Star. It was our North Star 14 1/2 thousand years ago and will be it again in another 11 1/2 thousand years. It marks the spot in space towards which our Sun is racing at the incredible speed of 12 miles per second but because it's 27 light years away it would take us 50 million years to reach it. So don't pack your bags for Vega yet!. 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!

Fri 6/20/03 - 1100-1130 Eastern Time 4 Shows

Half Hour Feed - 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:

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 #03-30 / 1338th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 7/28/2003 through Sunday 8/3/2003

"Weird But Wonderful Altair:
The Second Brightest Star Of
The Summer Triangle"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. Last week we took a close look at the brightest star of The Summer Triangle, Vega. But as wonderful as it is, it can't beat The Summer Triangle's second brightest star when it comes to weirdness. Why? Let me show you. O.K., we've got our skies set up for early evening late July, early August every year. And if you look east you'll see the three bright stars that make up the points of The Summer Triangle: Vega, the brightest in Lyra the Harp, Altair the second brightest in Aquila the Eagle and Deneb the third brightest marking the tail of Cygnus the Swan.

Now although there are many strange unusual stars in the heavens, Altair is one of the strangest. It's pretty close star wise, only 16 light years away; which makes it the 12th brightest star we can see from Earth. And if we compare it to our million mile wide Sun, Altair is about 1 1/2 times its size. However, because it is not a relatively cool yellow star like our Sun but a white star, it is much, much hotter, and about 9 times brighter. But the really peculiar thing about Altair has to do with the length of its day, its rotation period. You see a day for any star or planet is defined as the amount of time it takes for a star or planet to make one complete turn or rotation on its axis. Now we all know that our Earth makes one turn on its axis every 24 hours so an Earth day is 24 hours long. Our Sun however has a much longer day because it makes one complete turn only once every 25 1/2 Earth days. So one Sun day is 25 1/2 Earth days long. Which could lead one to suspect that because our Sun is so much larger than our Earth and turns so much slower that an even larger star like Altair would turn even slower than our Sun does. But that's not the case at all.

In fact Altair is one of the fastest rotating stars known. Indeed Altair's rotational speed at its equator is 160 miles per second; which means that Altair rotates once every 6 1/2 hours. So one Altair day is 1/4th of an Earth day long. And it is this incredibly fast rotational speed that makes Altair so truly weird. You see because Altair spins so fast, it bulges out all around its middle and actually makes Altair twice as wide from side to side as it is from top to bottom. Thus giving Altair the distinction of having one of the worst waistline problems of any star in the cosmos. So look east in early evening the next couple of weeks and find the totally out of shape, second brightest star of the three stars of the summer triangle. And remember that the faster a star or planet turns the wider it gets. In fact, if you check out the rotational speeds of the planets you'll notice that because Jupiter rotates once every 10 1/2 hours it too is wider from side to side than from top to bottom and makes a day on Jupiter only 10 1/2 hours long. Isn't star gazing fascinating and fun? If you simply remember to 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

#03-30 M

7/28/2003 thru 8/03/2003

"Altair : A Star With A Bulge"


Horkheimer: All stars are round, right? Wrong! Look east for the three bright stars of The Summer Triangle and the second brightest Altair turns out to be one of the strangest stars around. About 1 1/2 times our sun's size and 9 times brighter, its rotational speed is what makes it so peculiar. Our Sun rotates once every 25 1/2 days but Altair rotates once every 6 1/2 hours which makes Altair bulge out around its middle. In fact it's twice as wide from side to side as it is from top to bottom, which gives Altair the distinction of having one of the worst waistline problems in the cosmos. Weird but wonderful Altair. Check it out yourself and 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


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