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!

Friday 2/18/05 - 1800-1830 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 5 MINUTE

Episode # 05-10 / 1422nd Show
To Be Aired : Monday 3/07/2005 through
Sunday 3/13/2005

"Mercury At Its Very Best For 2005!"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. In case you've been puzzled by seeing a star close to the western horizon just after Sunset that usually isn't there I can unpuzzle you because this week the tiny first planet out from the Sun Mercury is at its very best for viewing for the entire of 2005, with this weekend being the best. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for any night this week 45 minutes after sunset just as its getting dark out facing due west and directly above the point on the horizon where the Sun went down you'll see, if you have a clear, flat, unobstructed horizon, a bright pinkish light which is the second smallest planet in our solar system, Pluto being the smallest, tiny 3,000 mile wide Mercury. Even smaller than Saturn's Moon Titan, which we're currently visiting with our Cassini spacecraft. It is frequently called the pink iron planet. Iron because it has more iron in its core than our Earth does. And pink because it never gets very high above the horizon when it's available for viewing and thus the dust in our Earth's atmosphere causes a pink coloration. It is also called the most elusive of all the naked eye planets simply because it never gets very high above the horizon even though it peeks above the horizon just after sunset or just before sunrise several times a year.

Now because Mercury is closer to the Sun than our Earth it constantly changes its appearance and goes through phases just like our Moon. When it's on the far side of its orbit on the other side of the Sun it looks like a tiny full Moon as seen through a telescope but as it moves closer to the Earth it changes its appearance and this weekend it is at what astronomers call greatest elongation which means that it is at its farthest visual distance from the Sun as seen from Earth which further means its much higher above the horizon than usual and will look like a first quarter Moon through a telescope this weekend. Next week however it will rapidly zoom closer to Earth and become crescent shaped. So now is the time to find a friend with a small telescope. And think about this as you view Mercury this week and next, the closer a planet is to the Sun the faster it travels, so since Mercury is planet #1 from the Sun, only 36 million miles away from it, it is the fastest moving of all the planets and makes one trip around the Sun every 88 Earth days and since we define a planet's year as the number of Earth days it takes for a planet to go around the Sun a year on Mercury is only 88 Earth days long!

Now when I was a kid no one knew what the surface of Mercury looked like but in 1974 our Mariner spacecraft flew by and took the first close up pictures ever seen of this broiling hot planet which to many looks like another Moon. And coincidentally this weekend you can use our Moon to find Mercury. On Friday an exquisite two day old crescent Moon will be only 4 degrees away from Mercury, on Saturday a three day Moon only 16 degrees above Mercury. So get thee out to see Mercury at its best and if you have a small telescope now is the time to use it. 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

#05-10 M

3/07/2005 thru 3/13/2005

"Mercury At Its Very Best For 2005!"

Horkheimer: This week the first planet out from the Sun Mercury is at its best viewing for 2005. 45 minutes after Sunset face west and you'll see a bright pink light which is the most elusive of the naked eye planets, tiny 3,000 mile wide Mercury. It is often called the pink iron planet. Iron because it has more iron in its core than our Earth does and pink because it never gets very high above the horizon and thus is always colored by the dust in our Earth's atmosphere. It goes through phases just like our Moon and this weekend will look like a first quarter Moon through a small telescope. On Friday an exquisite crescent Moon will be only 4 degrees away from it so you can use the Moon as a finder! Keep Looking Up!

How did you like this episode?
Please give us your comments. (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. 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!

Friday 2/18/05 - 1800-1830 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 #05-11 /1423rd Show
To Be Aired : Monday 3/14/2005 through Sunday 3/20/2005

"Find The Two Largest Planets
The Next Two Weekends Using the Moon"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. If you're one of those who has difficulty identifying the planets, every once in a while the Moon pays a visit to some of them thus enabling you to use the Moon as a finder. And such is the case this weekend and next when our Moon will visit the two largest planets in our solar system.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for this week around 8 p.m. your local time facing southwest where you'll see some of the brightest stars in the heavens all gathered together and that's because winter's skies have the brightest stars and they are all relatively close to each other. Directly in front of you you'll see the wonderful stars that make up Orion the Giant Hunter, his dog Canis Major, Taurus the Bull, Auriga the Charioteer and Gemini the Twins with its two brightest stars, Castor and Pollux. And this year an object close to them which usually isn't there, the wonderful ringed world, 75,000 mile wide Saturn which is currently almost at its closest and brightest it gets and super for viewing through even a cheap department store telescope.

But if you still have trouble telling a planet from a star then wait until this Friday the 18th when an exquisite gibbous Moon will be parked underneath Castor and Pollux and to the side of Saturn. Now one little hint if you're still not sure which of these three is Saturn: just remember that only stars twinkle, planets never do. So if the air is rather turbulent this Friday you may see Castor and Pollux twinkling like mad and Saturn glowing with a steady light. Now if it's cloudy on Friday then go out the next night Saturday the 19th and the Moon will be smack dab on a line with Pollux and Castor and even closer to Saturn only 6 degrees away.

Once again this Friday the 18th the Moon below and to the right of Saturn and Pollux and Castor and then Saturday the Moon on a line with Pollux and Castor and just above Saturn. So what about the other bright planet, the biggest of them all? Well simply wait until the following weekend and go outside at the same time 8 p.m. on Friday the 25th and look east instead of southwest and just above the horizon you'll see a brilliant full Moon only 6 degrees above 88,000 mile wide Jupiter. And if you've got a small telescope handy believe me not only will the Moon look wonderful but you'll actually be able to see several bands of atmosphere circling Jupiter's equator and 1, 2, 3 or 4 of its largest moons. And if it's cloudy on the 25th go out the next night Saturday the 26th and you'll see just how fast the Moon moves in a 24 hour period because now a just past full Moon will be almost the same distance below Jupiter as it was above it on Friday. Once again Friday the 25th and Saturday the 26th. So if you happen to be out with friends the next couple of weekends and want to impress them, around 8 p.m. point out Saturn and Jupiter. And it won't count against you if you don't tell anyone that you used the Moon as a finder. 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

 

"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

#05-11 M

3/14/2005 thru 3/20/2005

"Find The Two Largest Planets
The Next Two Weekends Using the Moon"

Horkheimer: If you have difficulty identifying the planets you can use the Moon as a finder to find the two biggest planets of them all this weekend and next. This Friday the 18th look southwest at 8:00 p.m. and an exquisite gibbous Moon will be parked underneath Gemini's Castor and Pollux and beside the second biggest planet 75,000 mile wide Saturn. And on Saturday the Moon will be on a line with Pollux and Castor and even closer to Saturn. To find the biggest planet look east Friday night the 25th and a brilliant full Moon will be only 6 degrees above Jupiter and on Saturday only 6 degrees below it. Impress your friends and show them the planets. Keep Looking Up!


Please give us your comments. (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. 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!

Friday 2/18/05 - 1800-1830 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 # 05-12 / 1424th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 3/21/2005 through Sunday 3/27/2005

"Happy First Day Of Spring To You And
Happy New Year To America's Founding Fathers"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers and happy vernal equinox which is what astronomers call the first day of spring and which officially began last Sunday March 20 at 7:33 a.m. Eastern Standard Time or your local equivalent. Now although we all know what spring is, have you ever wondered why we call spring 'spring'? Well, the word spring is simply short for the phrases spring of the leaf and spring of the year. Spring of the leaf is pretty obvious because at this time of the year leaves literally do spring up out of branches and grass springs up out of the ground. But what does spring of the year mean?

Well, believe it or not before 1752 the New Year began when spring began on March 25th in America and England. In other words, the New Year began, that is sprang up, at the same time the leaves and grass did. In fact, when George Washington, Ben Franklin and America's founding fathers were young men they all wished each other Happy New Year on March 25th until parliament declared that henceforth beginning in 1752 the New Year would be celebrated on January 1st. At any rate I actually think it's more logical to have the New Year begin with the beginning of spring when all of nature seems to begin again.

And lest we forget, the first day of spring is actually an astronomical event which marks one of the two days when our Sun is smack dab on the celestial equator, the other day being the first day of autumn. And these two days are called the equinoxes, equi meaning equal and nox meaning night because on these two days the hours of daylight equal the hours of night. When this happens in September we call it the autumnal equinox and when it happens in March we call it the vernal equinox, vernal meaning green. Which is appropriate because in mid-northern latitudes the landscape is really springing up green.

Now although most people today don't keep track of the Sun and its movements throughout the seasons like our ancestors did, nevertheless we can still observe the Sun as it changes its place on the horizon every day from equinox to equinox. For instance on Sunday the Sun rose due east and set due west and each day this week the Sun will rise just a little bit farther north of east each successive day and set a little farther north of west each successive day. It will continue moving northward day after day week after week month after month until June 21, the summer solstice when it will rise its farthest north of east and set its farthest north of west. And then after a couple of days will retrace its path southward week after week month after month until on Sept. 22 the autumnal equinox, the first day of autumn, it will rise and set due east and west once again. So happy first day of spring and for those of you who are really old fashioned, happy New Year! 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

 

"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

#05-12M

3/21/2005 thru 3/27/2005

"Happy First Day Of Spring To You And
Happy New Year To America's Founding Fathers"

Horkheimer: Last Sunday spring officially began but do you know why we call spring, spring? Well spring is simply short for the phrases "spring of the leaf" and " spring of the year". "Spring of the leaf" is obvious because leaves literally do spring up out of the branches at this time but the phrase "spring of the year" goes way back. You see before 1752 the New Year began on the first day of spring in America and England. In other words the New Year sprang up at the same time as the leaves did. In fact when George Washington and Ben Franklin were young men they all wished each other "Happy New Year" on the first day of spring until Parliament declared that beginning in 1752 the New Year would be celebrated on Jan. 1st. Which New Year would you prefer? Keep Looking Up!


How did you like this episode?
Please give us your comments. (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. 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!

Friday 2/18/05 - 1800-1830 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 #05-13 / 1425th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 3/28/2005 through Sunday 4/03/2005

"Jupiter At Its Best Sunday Night The 3rd,
Find Mars With The Moon On The 4th
And A Partial Eclipse Of The Sun On The 8th"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers and boy what a way to begin a new month because several cosmic goodies get April off to a fabulous sky gazers start. Jupiter will be at opposition on Sunday the 3rd. You can use the Moon to find Mars on Monday the 4th and on Friday the 8th those of you in the southern U.S. will see a partial eclipse of the Sun. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for any night this week about an hour after sunset facing southeast where the brightest star you'll see in the sky will not be a star but the biggest planet in our solar system 88,000 mile wide Jupiter. And although it will be almost at its very best it will officially be at its best this Sunday the 3rd when it is at what astronomers call opposition which in plain language means that on Sunday Jupiter will be directly opposite the Sun as seen from Earth which further means that it will be seen in the sky all the hours the Sun is not which further means that it will be visible all night long. Additionally whenever a planet is at opposition it is at its best for viewing because it is then at its biggest, brightest and closest to Earth for the year.

Watch it all night long as it slowly rises in the east just after the Sun sets. It will then climb the southeastern heavens hour after hour until at midnight it reaches its highest point due south. After which it will slowly descend toward the southwest and set just as the Sun rises in the east. Now for all practical purposes Jupiter is really great for viewing two to three weeks before and after opposition. So if you've got a small telescope get it out now. You'll be able to see several of its equatorial bands of weather plus you'll be able to watch its 4 biggest Moons change places in respect to Jupiter as they orbit around it night after night which is something really fun to see! And which many people can see with just a pair of binoculars if you hold them real steady. So happy Jupiter gazing this weekend and throughout April.

And now for those of you who'd like to find a planet which will be getting steadily brighter week after week and which will reach stunning brilliance in October might I suggest you start your Mars watch now. You can use the Moon as a finder on both Sunday morning the 3rd and Monday morning the 4th. Just face southeast about 45 minutes before sunrise on Sunday and an exquisite crescent Moon will be only 8 degrees to the right of tiny 4,000 mile wide Mars. And the next day Monday an even skinnier crescent Moon will be on the other side of Mars but still only 8 degrees away from it. What could be easier? And for those of you who'd like to experience an eclipse of the Sun, on Friday April 8th a total eclipse will occur over the Pacific Ocean and its partial phases will be seen over the southern U.S. south of a line from southern California through Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Check our website for exact eclipse times in your area. What a way to open April! An eclipse of the Sun, a sure way to find Mars and Jupiter at its best! Keep Looking Up!

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

#05-13 M

3/28/2005 thru 4/03/2005

"Jupiter At Its Best Sunday Night The 3rd,
Find Mars With The Moon On The 4th
And A Partial Eclipse Of The Sun On The 8th"

Horkheimer: April starts off with a cosmic bang with Jupiter at opposition on the 3rd, Mars and the Moon on the 4th and an eclipse of the Sun on the 8th. This Sunday Jupiter will be at its biggest brightest and closest to Earth for 2005 because it will be at opposition which means that it will be opposite the Sun as seen from the Earth and will be visible all night long from sunset to sunrise and at its very best for telescopic viewing! On Monday the 4th look southeast before sunrise and you can use an exquisite Moon to find 4,000 mile wide Mars. And on the 8th the partial phases of a solar eclipse can be seen over the southern U.S. south of a line from southern California through New Jersey. Go to our website for exact times and Keep Looking Up!

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


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