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 801
Friday June 20, 2008, 1100-1130
Includes episodes 0827, 0828, 0829, 0830


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 5 MINUTE

Episode # 08-27 / 1596th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 7/07/2008 through
Sunday 7/13/2008

"This Week Jupiter Is At Its Closest, Biggest
And Brightest For 2008!"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. And yes you heard me right. This week the largest planet in our solar system, Jupiter is at its closest, biggest and brightest for the entire year and will be fabulous for viewing all month long. Plus it's located in one of my favorite constellations Sagittarius. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for Sunset any night this week. Now whenever Jupiter is at its closest and biggest and brightest it is always at what astronomers call 'opposition' which means that it is directly opposite the Sun as seen from Earth, which means that it will be visible in the sky all the hours the Sun is not, all night long. So as the Sun sets in the northwest Jupiter will appear on the horizon in the southeast. After which it will slowly climb higher and higher hour after hour until it reaches its highest point when it will be due south around 1 a.m. After which it will slowly descend and will set in the southwest as the Sun rises in the northeast.

Now I strongly suggest you go out between midnight and 1 a.m. and look due south when Jupiter will be at its highest directly in front of you. It will be situated just to the left of the stars which make up the teapot-shaped portion of Sagittarius, right behind the teapot's handle. And the reason I suggest looking around midnight is because like all planets Jupiter is at its best for viewing through a telescope when it is highest above the horizon because then you don't have to look at it through the turbulent, wavy layers of air which are always close to our Earth's horizon and which distort telescopic images. Even through the smallest department store telescope you should be able to see a lot of detail plus 4 of Jupiter's largest moons, which will look like pinpoints of light which constantly change their positions as they waltz in orbit around the king.

And here's some cosmic math for you. If Jupiter is 88,000 miles wide and our Earth is only 8,000 miles wide, how many Earths could we line up across Jupiter's middle? Eleven! Which puts Jupiter's size in real perspective. And now let me share some very special pictures with you because famed planetary photographer Dr. Donald Parker of Coral Gables has been regularly sending us images of Jupiter as it's been coming closer to opposition. And his pictures show not only the great red spot which is a huge salmon-colored football-shaped storm over two Earths wide, but two more little red spots which have been recently discovered and which have been causing a lot of buzz in the astronomical community because this means that Jupiter's atmosphere has become much more turbulent over the past couple of years which leads some experts to think that global warming has arrived on Jupiter.

So get thee out and spend a night with the king because this week it will be at its very closest for the entire year only 387 million miles away which is over 200 million miles closer than its maximum distance, by Jove! Keep looking up!

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Star Gazer Minute

#08-27 M

7/07/2008 thru 7/13/2008

"This Week Jupiter Is At Its Closest, Biggest
And Brightest For 2008!"

Horkheimer: This week the king of the planets Jupiter is at its closest, biggest and brightest for the year. It is at opposition which means it is directly opposite the Sun and can be seen all night long. At sunset it will rise in the southeast, climb the heavens and reach its highest point around 1 a.m. then slowly descend and set in the southwest as the Sun rises. It's just to the left of the stars which make up Sagittarius' teapot and it's super even through a small telescope. 88,000 miles wide we could fit eleven Earths across its middle. And recently in addition to the great storm called the Red Spot, two smaller red spots have been discovered. It's only 387 million miles away right now so 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 801
Friday June 20, 2008, 1100-1130
Includes episodes 0827, 0828, 0829, 0830


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 #08-28 /1597th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 7/14/2008 through Sunday 7/20/2008

"Summer Skies At Night Are Sheer Delight
So See Them Now!"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. And although everyone raves about the super bright stars of winter nights, some of the most beautiful and wonderful can be seen on summer nights. Plus right now the largest planet in our solar system is at its best for viewing for the entire year and just coincidentally is nestled among my favorite stars of summer.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for one hour after sunset facing due south where one of the few constellations that looks like its name will be directly in front of you. Simply connect several stars with lines here and you'll come up with a star pattern that looks like the capital letter 'J' or a giant fish hook. But which our ancient ancestors frequently saw as a scorpion. And indeed this is where the famed and dreaded Scorpius the Scorpion resides. In fact this constellation is so right on that there is even a giant red star where the Scorpion's heart should be. And although there are no longer official stars to mark his claws, over 2,000 years ago several stars to the west of him depicted his two outstretched claws. But alas the Romans came along and declawed him and used his former claw stars to form their new constellation Libra the scales for the Roman scales of justice, what an injustice for what was formerly one of the largest constellations in the heavens.

But the scorpion is not alone in having been reduced in size because right behind him are some of summer's most famous stars which if connected by lines make a wonderful teapot complete with handle, lid and spout. We call it the teapot of Sagittarius and the teapot pattern is not strictly speaking a constellation but is called an asterism, which means that it is a smaller part of a much larger constellation. Indeed Sagittarius is also a giant constellation and if we include his other stars is easily seen as the famed centaur archer known to antiquity, half man, half horse with a bow and arrow, pointed directly at Scorpius.

But this year something has been added to Sagittarius because just behind and above his handle is a super bright object, the brightest in the heavens right now in fact, the king of the planets, 88,000 mile wide Jupiter. And this month it is at its very brightest and best for viewing for the entire year because it came into opposition just this past week and whenever a planet is at opposition that is directly opposite the Sun it is always at its closest, biggest and brightest to Earth for at least a few weeks. So catch it now and if you have a pair of binoculars or a small telescope please look for Jupiter's four largest moons which will look like tiny pinpoints of light which continually change their positions in respect to Jupiter and which you can observe for yourself from night to night. In fact Jupiter's closest large moon, Io, makes one orbit around Jupiter every 2 days while even bigger Callisto makes one orbit every two weeks. And although they look like pinpoints of light, believe it or not, each one is bigger than our own, 2,000 mile wide Moon. Wow! So get thee out one hour after sunset, face south for Scorpius the scorpion, the teapot of Sagittarius and the king of the planets. Super delights for summer nights. Keep looking up!

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Star Gazer Minute

#08-28 M

7/14/2008 thru 7/20/2008

"Summer Skies At Night Are Sheer Delight
So See Them Now!"

Horkheimer: Summer skies at night are sheer delight. An hour after sunset face south and you'll see a star pattern that looks like a giant fish hook which is called Scorpius the Scorpion, who even sports a huge red star right where his heart should be. Behind him are stars which trace out a wonderful teapot which is part of a much larger constellation, Sagittarius, the centaur archer, half man/ half horse. And this year behind the teapot's handle is the brightest object in the heavens right now the king of the planets, 88,000 mile wide Jupiter at its closest, brightest and best for the entire year. Through a small telescope you can watch its four largest moons waltz in orbit about it. 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 801
Friday June 20, 2008, 1100-1130
Includes episodes 0827, 0828, 0829, 0830


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 # 08-29 / 1598th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 7/21/2008 through Sunday 7/27/2008

"The King Of The Planets And
An Emperor Star Dominate Southern Summer Skies"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. For the rest of this summer the cosmos is offering a special treat in the southern heavens because not only will my favorite summer emperor of a star be a dazzling sight but this year the king of the planets is also super bright and close by. So we have two magnificent objects for you to see in the same part of the night sky. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for the next two weeks about an hour after sunset facing south where almost directly in front of you, you will see several bright stars which if you connect with lines look like a giant fish hook. In fact in Polynesian legend it was said that the god Maui pulled the Hawaiian Islands up out of the ocean with this very same skyhook. Today however this pattern of stars is generally depicted the way the ancient Greeks, Ggyptians and Romans saw it, a great cosmic scorpion who we officially call Scorpius. And as I say every summer this is one of the very few constellations, which really looks like its name. Because even the star Antares which marks the scorpion's heart is bright red and one of my personal favorites not only because of its color but also its majestic size.

If we look to the left of Scorpius we see another bright group of stars, which if we draw lines between them make a very nice teapot. But this teapot is actually part of a much larger constellation, the ancient mythical creature, half man / half horse, the centaur archer Sagittarius. And this year right behind the handle of Sagittarius' teapot is the largest of the planets, Jupiter, which we rightfully call the king.

But if Jupiter is a king the heart star of Scorpius Antares is an emperor because if we compare the two the difference between them is rather staggering. For starters Jupiter is 88,000 miles wide while Antares is a whopping 600 million miles wide. But to really put this in perspective let's start with our Earth, which is a mere 8,000 miles wide, so small we could fit over 1400 Earths inside Jupiter. But now let's compare Jupiter to our own star the Sun, which is 865,000 miles wide, so huge we could fit 924 Jupiters inside it. Wow! But that's nothing because Antares is so gigantic we could fit over 333 million of our Suns inside it. Double wow!

Or try this on for size. If we could place Antares where our sun is it would reach out past the orbits of Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars and way beyond, almost 3/4 of the way to Jupiter. Holy Scorpius!

But if Antares is so incredibly much bigger than Jupiter why is Jupiter brighter? Simple answer: Jupiter is much closer. In fact if we measure distance to cosmic objects in terms of the speed of light, which travels 186,000 miles per second, Jupiter is only 34 light minutes away, which means it takes its light only 34 minutes to reach us. Antares on the other hand is so much farther away, 600 light years, that it takes 600 years for its light to reach us. So get thee out about an hour after sunset face south, find Scorpius and Antares, then the teapot of Sagittarius and right behind it brilliant Jupiter. Then compare the king of planets to a true emperor of stars. Keep looking up!


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Please give us your comments. (Click Here)

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Star Gazer Minute

#08-29 M

7/21/2008 thru 7/27/2008

"The King Of The Planets And
An Emperor Star Dominate Southern Summer Skies"

Horkheimer: This week and next compare the king of the planets with an emperor star. An hour after sunset face south and you'll see Scorpius the Scorpion, with its red heart star Antares, the Teapot of Sagittarius and right behind the handle the largest planet Jupiter. Jupiter is brighter than Antares only because it's so much closer. In fact Jupiter is a mere 88,000 miles wide whereas Antares is a whopping 600 million miles wide. Wow! Or think of it this way. If we could place Antares where our Sun is it would reach out past the orbits of Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars, almost 3/4 of the way to Jupiter. Double wow! So get thee out to see the king of the planets and magnificent Antares, a true emperor of stars! 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 801
Friday June 20, 2008, 1100-1130
Includes episodes 0827, 0828, 0829, 0830


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 # 08-30 / 1599th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 7/27/2008 through Sunday 8/03/2008

"How To Find The Two Comets That Never Were"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. Everyone loves when news of an approaching comet hits the press. And although I'd like to announce that there's a big comet coming. Such is not the case. Instead however I can offer you a wonderful glimpse of two almost comets or what I sometimes call the two comets that never were. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for any night in August in early evening, and if you simply look south you will see a fish hook shaped group of stars which is called Scorpius the scorpion, which is one of the few star patterns which actually looks like its name. In fact it even has a bright red star right where its heart should be. But if you follow the scorpion's body down around its tail up to its stinger you'll be able to see two tiny fuzzy clouds, which look exactly like the heads of comets when they're far away and on their approach to earth.

In fact most comets as they make their journey toward earth and our sun always look like tiny Q-tips nestled among the stars. But Q-tips which move from night to night and get bigger and bigger as they get closer and closer and eventually develop incredibly beautiful gas and dust tails. But not these two tiny fuzzy clouds because unlike comets these two will never develop tails and they will never move in relationship to the stars and they'll never get any bigger or brighter. They'll always be in the same place and look the same. And although they have been seen for thousands of years they weren't officially named until the 18th century when an astronomer named Charles Messier who made it part of his life's work to make a list of fuzzy cloud-like objects in the heavens so that he and other astronomers would not get confused when they went comet hunting.

They're objects number 6 and 7 on his fuzzy cosmic cloud, not to be confused with comets, list. And today we use the first letter of Messier's last name when we refer to objects 6 and 7 and they are now called M-6 and M-7 for Messier, not to be confused with the word messier even though Messier did make the sky a lot less messier by identifying such objects. At any rate, although they really do look like decapitated comet heads, as seen with the naked eye, through a pair of binoculars they reveal themselves to be much different because they are even more grand than comets, cosmically speaking. Indeed each tiny cloud is a great cluster of stars, other suns far, far away.

The one closest to the stinger M-7 is a cluster of about 80 stars and is 800 light years away which means that the light we see now is the light that left these stars 800 years ago around 1200 A.D., 300 years before Columbus set sail. The higher cluster, M-6 also has about 80 stars in it but you'll notice that it is quite a bit dimmer. The reason being that it is exactly twice as far away, 1600 light years away, which means that the light we see now is actually the light that left these stars 1600 years ago around 400 A.D. about the time of the fall of the Roman Empire. Wow! So get thee out to see M-6 and M-7 the two comets that never were. Keep looking up!


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Star Gazer Minute

#08-30 M

7/28/2008 thru 8/03/2008

"How To Find The Two Comets That Never Were"

Horkheimer: Want to see two objects which look like decapitated comet heads? Look south in early evening for the fish hook shaped constellation Scorpius the Scorpion. Antares marks its heart and two stars mark his stinger. And just above the stinger on a dark moonless night you can see two tiny fuzzy clouds called M-6 and M-7, which look like comet heads. M-7 is a cluster of 80 stars 800 light years away which means the light we see right now is the light that left it in 1200 A.D. M-6 also has 80 stars but is 1600 light years away which means that the light we see now left it in 400 A.D. Use binoculars for a close up view plus right behind them you'll see super bright Jupiter. Keep looking up!


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

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here


Don't miss the cartoon version of
'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of




 
* This week's Sky At A Glance and Planet Roundup from Sky & Telescope.

This week's Sky At A Glance displays current week only.


Starry Night Deluxe was used to produce this episode of Star Gazer


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