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!

4/20/2001 9:30 - 10:00 am Eastern time (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 # 01-19 / 1222nd Show
To Be Aired : Monday 5/7/2001 through Sunday 5/13/2001

"Mars Backs Up This Week!
And Continues Racing Toward Earth!"

 

Horkheimer: Greetings greetings, fellow star gazers and yes indeed, the red planet Mars is racing toward us and getting closer and closer every single day to its closest meeting in 13 years on the first night of summer, June 21st. On January 1st it was 166 million miles away and by February 1st it had come 28 million miles closer. But on March 1st it was only 112 million miles and on April 1st only 84 million miles. And last week on May 1st it was 23 million miles closer. But from May 1st to June 1st it will not only come 16 million miles closer, but will also actually double in brightness and you can watch it night after night, plus this week Mars will present its most famous magical super-illusion and will actually appear to come to a screeching halt and then back up. Let me show you.

O.K., We've got our skies set up for one hour before sunrise this Friday the 11th, facing southwest where you will see the hook-shaped pattern of stars, Scorpius the Scorpion, followed by the teapot shaped pattern of Sagittarius. And just to the left of the red-orange star Antares which marks the heart of the Scorpion you will see red orange 4 thousand mile wide Mars. And right now it is brighter than any visible star and really, really looks red! But if you go out the next morning, Saturday the 12th and if you had instruments that could measure mars' motion against the background of stars very precisely you would see that Mars, instead of going its normal eastward direction is now going slightly westward. In fact it looks as if it is backing up, a phenomenon called retrograde motion which I explained a few weeks ago and which is further explained on our website, www. jackstargazer.com.

Indeed, if you go out only once a week you will easily see that Mars changes its position in the heavens and is now moving westward toward Antares. And it will move westward night after night, week after week until it once again becomes stationary on July 19th, after which it will once again resume its forward, eastward motion. So go out some morning this week and note exactly where Mars is in relation to Antares so that you can watch it move closer and closer to the heart of the scorpion as it comes closer and closer to earth and gets brighter and brighter and brighter.

And if you have a small telescope take it out right now because Mars hasn't been this big and this bright for 13 years. In fact in just a couple of hours you'll be able to see Mars' dark markings change as the planet rotates. And if you're lucky you may even see 1 of its 2 reappearing and disappearing polar ice caps where our space craft "Mars Polar Lander" now lies, presumably crash landed in the Martian ice and snow. This is the month to really begin your Mars watch in earnest. An opportunity like this doesn't come along that often. 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

#01-19 M

5/07/2001 thru 5/13/2001

"Mars Backs Up This Week"


Horkheimer: On the first night of summer Mars will be closer and brighter than it's been in 13 years. On January 1st it was 166 million miles away but as of last week it's only 61 million miles away. And this week it will appear to back up. Find it on Friday to the left of the Scorpion's heart star Antares. But on Saturday instead of continuing its normal eastward direction it will start moving westward and will continue to "back up" until July 19th when it will once again stop and then resume its eastward motion. Mars only appears to back up because like cars on a race track our faster moving earth regularly passes Mars and then we see it from a different direction. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

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Please give us your comments. (Click Here)

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


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!

4/20/2001 9:30 - 10:00 am Eastern time (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 #01-20 /1223rd Show
To Be Aired : Monday 5/14/2001 through Sunday 5/20/2001

"Last Chance To See Jupiter;
Mercury Meets The Moon;
And The Hidden Splendor of Gemini!"

Horkheimer: Greetings greetings, fellow star gazers and if you haven't seen the first planet out from the sun, named for the swift messenger of the gods because it darts so swiftly in and out of earth's skies, you still have a chance this week and next. Let me show you: O.K., We've got our skies set up for Monday May 14th facing west/northwest 40 minutes after sunset when tiny 3 thousand mile Mercury was easy to find because it was right along-side much brighter 88 thousand mile wide Jupiter.

And if you recall, I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Jupiter is so much bigger than Mercury we could line 30 Mercurys up side by side across Jupiter's middle and that while Mercury is only 90 million miles away this week, Jupiter is 560 million miles beyond. But even though Jupiter is so incredibly much farther away than Mercury its giant size still makes it much, much brighter.

At any rate if you missed Mercury close to Jupiter on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, despair not because you'll be able to use the moon as a Mercury finder next Thursday, the 24th when a 2 day old crescent moon, complete with earthshine will be huddled up right next to it. Now if you've got a small telescope take a look at the 2 of them on that night because Mercury will look like a tiny, not-quite-first quarter moon and will then shrink nightly until on June 1st it will look very much like a 2 or 3 day old crescent moon. And if you look below Mercury on the 24th and you have a flat horizon you may still see Jupiter close to the horizon. But look at it now because it will disappear within a couple of weeks. Amazing isn't it, how quickly Mercury and Jupiter pull apart?

Now the next night, Friday the 25th, an even more beautiful crescent moon complete with earthshine will touch off the Memorial Day weekend and on Saturday the 26th if you wait until just after it gets dark out you'll see 2 wonderful stars to its right almost in a straight line, Castor and Pollux, the 2 stars which mark the heads of the Gemini twins. And if we could connect Gemini's dimmer stars with lines we would see that the twin brothers are standing upright just above the horizon.

The brighter twin, Pollux, is a rather big star, about 11 times the diameter of our own million mile wide sun. And although it's brighter than its twin brother Castor, Castor hides a magnificent secret because with telescopes and special instruments Castor shows itself to be more than just one star. In fact it is not only a double, or a triple star, a quadruple star, or a quintuple star, it is actually 6 stars all moving about each other in an intricate cosmic ballet. So, where we see the 2 brightest stars of Gemini the twins, there are actually 7. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

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Please give us your comments. (Click Here)

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



Star Gazer Minute

#01-20 M

5/14/2001 thru 5/20/2001

"Moon and Mercury
And The Gemini Twins"

Horkheimer: Next Thursday you can use the moon to find Mercury and the twin stars of Gemini. Look northwest 40 minutes after sunset and an exquisite crescent moon will be huddled right alongside Mercury. And on Saturday just after dark the moon will line up with the 2 bright stars of Gemini. Pollux, the brighter, is 11 times the diameter of our sun, but dimmer Castor hides a magnificent secret because with special instruments it shows itself to be not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, not 5, but 6 stars all moving about each other in an intricate cosmic ballet. So when we look at the Gemini twins we see not just 2 stars but 7. Wow! I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

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


For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

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

 


Don't miss the cartoon version of

'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of




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

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


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






STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION


STAR GAZER is seen nationally on most PBS stations. There is a five minute and a one minute version available each week. If it is not currently on your PBS station we suggest you contact your local PBS programming director and let them know it is available free to all PBS stations. You may take STAR GAZER off satellite for personal use, classroom use, astronomy club use, etc. without written permission.

Satellite feed info:

GE 3 - PBS Transponder 512 - Digital Only!

4/20/2001 9:30 - 10:00 am Eastern time (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 # 01-21 / 1224th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 5/21/2001 through Sunday 5/27/2001

"The Regal and Magnificent Stars
Which Make The Heart and Tail
Of Leo The Lion"

 

Horkheimer: Greetings greetings, fellow star gazers and before spring completely slips away from us I'd like you all to go out and take a look some time the first couple of weeks of June at the most famous constellation of spring which is getting ready to leave our skies soon and that of course is the majestic lion of spring skies, Leo. Let me show you:

O.K.., We've got our skies set up for any clear night just after sunset the next 3 weeks, late May, early June facing west where approximately half way up from the horizon to the zenith you will see the stars which make up the constellation Leo. Right now he is headed face down, straight for the horizon, a backward question mark, or sickle-shaped, group of stars mark his head, mane and forefront, the brightest star, Regulus, which means "little king", marking his heart. Then higher in the sky and forming a perfect right triangle, 3 stars make up leo's hind section, the brightest star being Denebola, meaning the lion's tail: and it is these two brightest stars of Leo, Regulus and Denebola which we're going to look at more closely.

Let's start with Denebola which may sound familiar to many of you because another bright star in the sky called Deneb marks the tail of Cygnus the Swan. So if we add 'ola' to Deneb we have Denebola, which literally means 'tail of the lion' which the lion would be very proud to wag, if lions do indeed wag their tails. Indeed this tail star is intrinsically almost as impressive as Sirius, the dog star, which is the brightest star in the sky. In fact, if we could move Denebola as close to earth as Sirius, only 8 1/3 light years away, Denebola would rival Sirius in brilliance but because Denebola is 5 times farther away, 43 light years beyond earth, its distance makes it less impressive than Sirius. Even so, compared to our sun, Denebola is a much grander star. Almost twice the diameter of our sun it shines with a luminosity equal to 20 of our suns.

But impressive as Denebola is however, Regulus is even more impressive. And although Regulus is exactly twice the distance away from us as Denebola, 85 light years away, it still out-shines Denebola and that is because Regulus is 5 times the diameter of our sun and shines with a luminosity of 160 of our suns! Impressive indeed for the heart of the king of the beasts. So, some time during the next few weeks before the constellations of spring change to the constellations of summer, go outside just after sunset, look due west, and there you'll see this fabled constellation which as far back as 2000 B.C. was revered by the ancient Babylonians as a symbol of cosmic royalty. It took 4,000 years however, to find the even more impressive science hidden within this regal lion of the night sky. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

How did you like this episode?
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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

#01-21 M

5/21/2001 thru 5/27/2001

"The Heart and Tail
of Leo The Lion"

 

Horkheimer: Over 4,000 years ago the Babylonians revered Leo the Lion as a symbol of cosmic royalty and its 2 brightest stars are worthy of any king. Look west after sunset for a backward question mark which marks the front of Leo and a triangle of stars which marks his rear. The tail star, Denebola, 43 light years away, is twice the size of our sun and 20 times brighter. But Regulus, which marks the heart of Leo, is even more impressive. Although twice as far as Denebola it still outshines it because it is 5 times our sun's diameter and 160 times brighter. Regal indeed! 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!

4/20/2001 9:30 - 10:00 am Eastern time (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 #01-22 /1225th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 5/28/2001 through Sunday 6/3/2001

"The Fabulous Summer of Mars"

Horkheimer: Greetings greetings, fellow star gazers and yes indeed, this summer will be a fabulous summer for observing Mars because as we speak it is racing toward earth for its closest meeting with earth since 1988 on June 21, the first night of summer. How poetic, and how exciting . Now on January 1st it was 166 million miles away, and on May 1st it was 105 million miles closer, only 61 million miles away. But this week it is only 45 million miles away and is16 million miles closer. Let me show you how to find it.

O.K., We've got our skies set up facing south-east this week and next between 10 and 11 P.M. where Mars will be the brightest object in the sky. And boy will it ever look red! It is down and to the left of a star that rivals it in color, a star that is often brighter than Mars, but which is now out-dazzled by it, Antares the heart of Scorpius the Scorpion. And next week the June full moon will pay a visit to both Antares and Mars so you can make sure you have identified them, although how you could miss Mars is beyond me. On June 5th the moon will be to the left of Mars and on June 6th it will be not quite, but almost, side by side with the tiny 4 thousand mile wide red planet and it is already brighter than it's been since 1988 and will be even brighter and at its closest on the first night of summer. Why is that, you might ask? Let me show you.

It's really very simple if we just keep in mind a couple of things. Earth is planet number 3 out from the sun Mars is number 4. And the laws of planetary motion tell us that the closer a planet is to the sun the faster it travels, so Mars travels much slower than earth. In fact, whereas our earth makes 1 trip around the sun every year, it takes Mars a little over 2 earth years to make one trip. So approximately every 2 years and 2 months earth and Mars catch up with each other and line up and are at their closest. We call this line up 'opposition'.

But because the orbits of earth and Mars are not perfect circles, but ellipses, whenever they line up they're not always at their closest possible points to each other. In September of 1988 they had an extremely close opposition: Mars was only 36 1/2 million miles away. But 2 years later in November of '90, at opposition Mars was 3 million miles farther away, 48 million miles. In 1993, 58 million miles and in February '95 was even farther, 63 million miles. But the opposition of '97 started to bring Mars back closer when it was only 61 million miles away. And in 1999 it was only 53 million miles away. And ta da! This year, on the first night of summer, it will be only 42 million miles away which means that it's closer and brighter than it's been in 13 years and it will be closer, only 35 million miles away in 2003. So start your Mars watch now because in the next 3 weeks alone it will race 3 million miles closer. 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

#01-22M

5/28/2001 thru 6/3/2001

"The Fabulous Summer of Mars"

Horkheimer: This summer is the summer of Mars because on the first night of summer Mars will be closer to us than it's been in 13 years. On June 5th the June full moon will be to the left of Antares and above brilliant red Mars. And on the 6th it will be almost side by side with this tiny 4,000 mile wide world. Mars pays earth a close visit every 2.2 years because whereas our earth makes 1 trip around the sun every year it takes Mars a little over 2 earth years to make 1 trip. So about every 2 years Mars and earth catch up with each other and line up and are at their closest. But because planet orbits are not perfect circles some lineups are closer than others and this one's the closest since 1988. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

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

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

 


Don't miss the cartoon version of

'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of


* This week's Sky At A Glance and Planet Roundup from Sky & Telescope.
This week's Sky At A Glance displays current week only
Starry Night Deluxe was used to produce this episode of Star Gazer

 



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