STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION



STAR GAZER is seen nationally on most PBS stations. 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.



 

Notice : These are working drafts of the scripts for STAR GAZER.
Changes may well be made as production requires.


STAR GAZER Episode # 99-09

1108th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 3/1/99 through Sunday 3/7/99

"Four Planets In A Bundle

For Your Early Evening Pleasure"


Greetings! Greetings! Fellow stargazers and this week and next you have a wonderful opportunity to see the 2 biggest planets plus the 2 planets closest to the Sun all together within visual spitting distance of each other just after sunset. Let me show you: O.K., we've got our skies set up for Monday March 1st at dusk just as it gets dark out, just after sunset, facing west where you will see the brightest of all the planets, the second planet out from the Sun, 8 thousand mile wide Venus, out-dazzle everything else in the sky. And just below it the second brightest planet and 5th out from the Sun, the largest planet of all, 88 thousand mile wide Jupiter. And just below Jupiter the planet closest to the Sun, dinky tiny 3 thousand mile wide Mercury. Then if you draw a kind of but not so straight line through these 3 it will point upward to the 2nd largest planet and number 6 from the Sun, the beautiful ringed planet, 75 thousand mile wide, Saturn.

And if you want to see how the planets subtly but dramatically change their positions with each other from night to night go out every single night from the 1st through the 14th at the same time and watch the changing planet parade for yourself. We'll give you a preview right now in semi-fast forward. O.K.? Tuesday the 2nd, Wednesday the 3rd, Thursday the 4th, Friday the 5th, Saturday the 6th, Sunday the 7th, Monday the 8th, Tuesday the 9th, Wednesday the 10th, Thursday the 11th, Friday the 12th, Saturday the 13th and Sunday the 14th.

But if you have to choose only one night for viewing then I'd suggest you go out this upcoming Monday night the 8th when they'll be at their closest together as a group. You see although they're coming closer together this week from the 1st to the 7th, after the 8th, Mercury and Saturn will start to pull farther apart again. Another reason for picking Monday the 8th as the best viewing night is because after that, Mercury and Jupiter will sink closer each night to the horizon and will be more difficult to see, especially if you don't have a clear unobstructed horizon. Besides on Monday the 8th, Jupiter and Mercury will be side by side thus making it absolutely easy as pie for you to find Mercury which is one of the most difficult of all the naked eye planets to locate.

And for those of you who'd like a little extra astro-info to think about while you're planet gazing, you may want to mentally compare their distances on the 8th. Whereas Dinky Mercury will be only 72 million miles away from us, humongous Jupiter will be 548 million miles away, and while Venus will be only 127 million miles from Earth, Saturn will be a whopping 925 million miles beyond. But from here on earth they'll look almost close enough to pluck right out of the heavens if you remember to Keep Looking Up!


Star Gazer Minute

#99-09 M

3/1/99 thru 3/7/99

"Four Planets In A Bunch, Next Monday, March 8th"

 

Greetings, I'm Jack Horkheimer with this week's Star Gazer Minute. Want to find four naked eye planets easy as pie? Then face west just after sunset this week and next, but especially Monday March 8th when they'll be bunched closest together. 3,000 mile wide Mercury, 8,000 mile wide Venus, 75,000 mile wide Saturn and 88,000 mile wide Jupiter. And although from here on Earth they'll look almost close enough to pluck right out of the sky, Mercury will be 72 million miles away, Venus 127 million miles away, Jupiter 548 million and Saturn almost a billion miles beyond. So catch these four planets while you can. It's easy if you Keep Looking Up!

 


Don't miss the cartoon version of

'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of

 

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

For graphics for this script (Click) Here


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. 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.





Notice : These are working drafts of the scripts for STAR GAZER.
Changes may well be made as production requires.


 

STAR GAZER Episode #99-10


1109th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 3/8/99 through Sunday 3/14/99

"An Exquisite Celestial Trio

Complete With Exotic Earthshine, Friday March 19th!"


Greetings, greetings fellow stargazers and burn this date, March 19th in to your brain as one night you absolutely have to go outside and look up because on Friday, March 19th you will see an exquisite celestial trio made up of the brightest planet Venus and the ringed planet Saturn and a breathtaking crescent Moon complete with exotic earthshine. Let me show you: O.K., we've got our skies set up for Friday night March 19th just after sunset, looking due west and if you've got clear skies no one will have to point out what will be an absolutely outrageous picture of cosmic beauty and which no photograph or television show can ever possibly duplicate, even though we'll show you the approximate positions of each of these three objects in relation to each other.

The brightest object by far will be the dazzling 2nd planet from the Sun, Venus and just down to its left and far less brilliant but still lovely to look at, the ringed planet Saturn. And down and to their left you will see an object of truly unearthly beauty, a slender sliver of a crescent Moon glowing brightly with what appears to be a dim dark full Moon tucked inside this crescent; a phenomenon which has for centuries been poetically called "The Old Moon In The New Moon's Arms" and although it would seem that if you strained your eyes you could pick out features on the darkened almost full old Moon, you may be surprised to learn that if you look at it through a pair of binoculars or a telescope you will see not a single feature but instead just a pale grayish glow, a glow astronomers call "Earthshine".

You see we know that all the planets and the Moon shine not by their own light but by reflected sunlight bouncing off them. Indeed, when you look at Venus and Saturn on the 19th you are only seeing reflected sunlight bouncing off their surfaces back to us here on Earth. But the dark, seemingly full Moon in the crescent Moon's arms is a different story because that dim grayish light is actually sunlight bouncing off our Earth on to the Moon and then reflecting back towards us once again, the phenomenon astronomers call "Earthshine". So remember whenever you see a bright crescent Moon with a dark full Moon riding inside it, that the crescent is brilliant sunlight bouncing directly off that portion of the Moon whereas the dark part is the dim light of reflected Earthshine. And I know you'll find this trio so exquisite it will make you even more excited to Keep Looking Up!


Star Gazer Minute

#99-10 M

3/8/99 thru 3/14/99

"Three Planets and Exotic Earthshine

on Friday March 19th"

 

Horkheimer:Greetings, I'm Jack Horkheimer with this week's "Star Gazer Minute". Even though you can see four planets with the naked eye just after sunset this week, next week, Monday night March 19th is the night you'll see an exquisite celestial trio made up of the brightest planet Venus, the ringed planet Saturn and a beautiful bright slim crescent Moon with a dim dark full Moon tucked inside it... a phenomenon called 'The New Moon With The Old Moon In Her Arms'. But try as you might, with binoculars or telescope, to see any details on this dark old moon, only a featureless dim gray surface can be seen and that's because the dark old Moon is not reflecting sunshine, but is instead reflecting Earthshine and bouncing it back toward us in a cosmic setting you'll never forget if you remember to Keep Looking Up!

 


Don't miss the cartoon version of

'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of

 

To Subscribe

(only $26.95 for 9 issues)

contact

'ODYSSEY'

30 Grove Street

Suite C

Peterborough, NH 03458

or Click Here




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

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

For graphics for this script (Click) Here

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. 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.

 




Notice : These are working drafts of the scripts for STAR GAZER.
Changes may well be made as production requires.



STAR GAZER Episode # 99-11


1110th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 3/15/99 through Sunday 3/21/99

"Spring Is Here! At Least According To The

Yellow Line In The Middle Of The Road!"
 

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings, fellow star gazers, and since Spring officially begins this week I feel that it is appropriate for me to welcome in the season with my sometimes annual spring poem. So here goes : Spring has sprung, the grass has riz, I wonder where the birdies is. Now that's a poem which was quite appropriate to my youthful days in Wisconsin because children used to compete to see who would be the first to see the first robin of Spring. And although the the return of birds and green grass are indicators of the return of Spring, nevertheless, there is one sure sign that officially marks the beginning of Spring and that is the moment in time when our Sun lies smack dab on the Celestial Equator and that moment , this year, in the northern hemisphere is 8:46 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Saturday March 20th.

But even if it doesn't feel like Spring where you live, there's one sure way that you can see that Spring is here if you're driving to and from work on an east/west highway, because on the first day of Spring and the first day of Autumn the Sun will rise due east and set due west. So if you're driving to work at sunrise, going due east, the Sun will rise, believe it or not, directly over the yellow line in the middle of the road. And if you're going home from work due west at sunset, it will set smack dab over the yellow line. And if it doesn't, well then your east/west highway isn't running true east/west. But how, you ask, does this celestial equator stuff work?

Well , let me show you : O.K., for simplicity's sake let's simply imagine that we can take our Earth's equator and extend it way out into space so that it draws a line completely around the night sky, dividing the heavens into two halves, the northern celestial hemisphere and the southern celestial hemisphere. Now if we could keep track of the Sun's position against the background of stars day after day all year long, we would notice that on the first day of Spring it is smack dab on the celestial equator. Then if we watched it day after day we would notice that it would travel farther north along an imaginary path until on the first day of Summer, it would reach its highest point North of the celestial equator.

Then it would start to travel South day after day until on the first day of Autumn it would once again be smack dab on the celestial equator. Thereafter it would continue to travel south of the celestial equator until it would reach its southernmost point on the first day of Winter. And thereafter it would start to travel North again until on the first day of Spring it would once again be smack dab on the celestial equator. Simply remember that the Sun is at its northernmost on the first day of Summer and southernmost on the first day of Winter. And on the first day of Spring and Fall it's smack dab on the celestial equator. Which simply means if you're driving east at sunrise and west at sunset on the first day of Spring and Autumn put your sun visor down as you Keep Looking Up!


Star Gazer Minute

#99-11 M

3/15/99 thru 3/21/99

"It's Spring Time OverThe Yellow Line

In The Middle Of The Road Again"

 

Greetings, I'm Jack Horkheimer with this week's "Star Gazer Minute". Even though it may not feel like Spring where you live, Spring does officially begin, March 20th at 8:46 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, when our Sun will lie smack dab on the Celestial Equator, which means that on this day the Sun will rise exactly due east and set due west. A fact which you can confirm yourself by taking a drive due east at sunrise because the Sun will rise directly over the yellow line in the middle of the road. Or if you prefer, drive due west at sunset and the Sun will set over the yellow line in the middle of the road. An astronomical fact and fun to observe if you remember to Keep Looking Up!


Don't miss the cartoon version of

'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of

 

To Subscribe

(only $26.95 for 9 issues)

contact

'ODYSSEY'

30 Grove Street

Suite C

Peterborough, NH 03458

or Click Here


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

For graphics for this script (Click) Here

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. 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.



Notice : These are working drafts of the scripts for STAR GAZER.
Changes may well be made as production requires.


 

 

STAR GAZER Episode #99-12


1111th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 3/22/99 through Sunday 3/28/99

"The Beginning of Spring and the End of Winter

Reflected In The Stars:

and A Blue Moon Update"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings, fellow star gazers, and just a reminder that next week, Wednesday March 31st will be the second and last Blue Moon of 1999, the first Blue Moon having having occurred on January 31st. But try as you might, even though the Moon will be will be full and visible all night long, it will not look blue. But it will be a Blue Moon nonetheless and that's simply because some years ago, nobody knows exactly when, people started to call the second full Moon of any month that had two full Moons, a Blue Moon. And while we do have two full Moons in one month about every 2 1/2 years, having two months with two full Moons in one year happens only about every 20 to 40 years. So, happy not blue-looking but Blue Moon anyway, Wednesday the 31st. And now let's see how the heavens reflect the coming of Spring and the end of Winter.

O.K., now as you know, last Saturday the 20th, Spring officially began. So we've got our skies set up so that we're facing south, this week and next, between 8 and 9 p.m. And if you look just to the tight, that is west of due south, you will see the incredibly bright stars of Winter's most famous constellations; Orion the mighty hunter, 3 evenly spaced stars marking his belt, 2 bright stars for his shoulders, 2 bright stars for his knees and following him across the sky, his faithful dog Canis Major, his eye star Sirius being the brightest star visible to the naked eye.

Now Orion and his dog are surely Winter's most prominent heavenly signposts for the northern hemisphere. Indeed, in the deep cold heart of Winter in early evening Orion stands at his highest due south and lets you know that the temperatures are as cold outside as Orion's stars are bright. However, every year at the end of March when Spring peeks its head over the horizon the most prominent constellation of springtime also peeks up over the horizon. And since we all know that Spring is only just beginning at the end of March and that some days it still feels pretty wintry out, so too do the heavens reflect this combination of Spring and Wintry weather; for just as Spring begins on Earth you will see Leo the Lion beginning his ascent in early evening announcing the beginning of his celestial reign.

Indeed, by the time Spring is really in full bloom in the middle of May, winter's Orion will be low, low on the western horizon at sunset and Leo, like the weather will dominate high overhead in the South. Kinda nifty, huh? So just remember that when Spring begins on Earth in the northern hemisphere, the heavens themselves reflect early Spring weather by showing Winter's stars not yet completely gone and Spring's stars not yet at their peak. I've always found that kind of romantic and poetic and quite fitting. And I think you will too if you go outside and remember to Keep Looking Up!


Star Gazer Minute

#99-12 M

3/22/99 thru 3/28/99

"Spring and Winter In The Cosmos"

 

Greetings, I'm Jack Horkheimer with this week's "Star Gazer Minute". You know if you go outside during the first couple of weeks of Spring you will see that the stars themselves reflect early spring weather. Indeed, if you go outside any clear night around 8 o'clock the next couple of weeks, look due South and you'll see Winter's Orion the Hunter descending toward the west and Springtime's Leo the Lion just risen in the east, a cosmic reminder that neither Winter stars nor Spring stars are dominating the sky. How poetic and fitting because early spring weather is a mixture of some days cold and some days balmy. So get thee outside and see the heavens themselves reflect the change of seasons here on earth which is easy of you remember to Keep looking Up!

 


Don't miss the cartoon version of

'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of

 

To Subscribe

(only $26.95 for 9 issues)

contact

'ODYSSEY'

30 Grove Street

Suite C

Peterborough, NH 03458

or Click Here


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

For graphics for this script (Click) Here

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. 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.



Notice : These are working drafts of the scripts for STAR GAZER.
Changes may well be made as production requires.


 

 

STAR GAZER Episode #99-13


1112th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 3/29/99 through Sunday 4/4/99

"April 1999 : The Month of Mars!"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings, fellow star gazers, and yes indeed, this April should be declared 'Mars Month' because this month Mars will reach its best opposition of the entire decade, which simply means that this month Mars will reach its brightest and closest to Earth since 1990. In fact, in the next 4 weeks alone it will double in brightness and be brighter even than the brightest star in the sky, good old Sirius the dog star. In fact, outside of the Sun and the Moon only one other object in the sky will be brighter and that's the brightest planet Venus. And you can watch Mars grow brighter and brighter over the next few weeks and watch it rise earlier and earlier each successive night. Let me show you:

O.K., we've got our skies set up for about 3 hours after sunset this Friday night, April 2nd, facing east/southeast and if you can find the Moon you'll have no trouble finding Mars because Mars will be right underneath the Moon and will follow it across the sky all night long. So that's an easy way to find Mars, however I much prefer to look at Mars when the Moon is nowhere near it because the Moon is so bright it makes Mars look dim by comparison. So when you're looking Friday night make a mental note of the closest bright star to Mars so that after the Moon has moved away from Mars you will still know where to find it.

Simply look up and to the left of Mars almost due east and there you'll see bright Arcturus, which incidentally is very similar in color to Mars,both being kind of orangeish pumpkin in color. Now keep in mind that Mars rises about 2 1/2 hours after sunset in the first week of April but rises only about an hour after sunset by April 15th. So if you go out 3 hours after sunset every night for the next couple of weeks you will notice that Mars will be slightly higher in the sky each successive evening. And think of this while you're out there: whereas our planet Earth is only 8,000 miles wide, planet Mars is only half its diameter, 4,000 miles wide. So we could line two Mars right up across Earth's middle. But in reality Mars has far more explorable land than our lovely planet because our Earth is almost 70 % covered with water. Now as you watch Mars brighten at an almost unbelievable rate night after night throughout this month, also think of this: on New Year's Day of this year Mars was a whopping 140 million miles away from our Earth, but by the third week of this month, April 24th, the night of its opposition, and the night of its brightest appearance of the decade it will be only 54 million miles away. That's 86 million miles closer.

Wow! So start your Mars watch now. Simply go outside and watch it rise in the east/southeast about 3 hours after sunset the first week of this month and about an hour after the second week of this month and see for yourself how incredibly bright it grows night after night after night. It's wonderful and it's fun if you just remember to Keep Looking Up!


Star Gazer Minute

#99-13 M

3/29/99 thru 4/4/99

"Mars Month!"

 

Greetings, I'm Jack Horkheimer with this week's "Star Gazer Minute". This month should be declared 'Mars Month' because this month tiny 4,000 mile wide Mars will reach its best opposition of the entire decade which simply means that this month Mars will reach its brightest and closest to Earth since 1990 and you can watch it almost double in brightness during the next three weeks becoming brighter than even the brightest star in the sky, Sirius. To begin your Mars watch go out any night about 3 hours after sunset, look east/southeast and there you'll see orangeish pumpkin colored Mars dominating the heavens, growing steadily brighter night after night until it reaches its brightest on April 24th. So what are you waiting for? Get thee outside and remember to Keep Looking Up!

 


Don't miss the cartoon version of

'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of

 

To Subscribe

(only $26.95 for 9 issues)

contact

'ODYSSEY'

30 Grove Street

Suite C

Peterborough, NH 03458

or Click Here


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

For graphics for this script (Click) Here

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



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