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!

Tuesday 4/20/04 - 1100-1130 Eastern Time 4 Shows

Half Hour Feed - 4 shows


Star Gazer is also available from NASA CORE. A videotape of the current month is available from NASA CORE for $16.00 plus $6.00 shipping (within the U.S). Please send a VISA, MasterCard, check, money order or an official school purchase order to the address below:

NASA Central Operation of Resources for Educators

Lorain County JVS NASA CORE / 15181 Route 58 South / 440/775-1400 / FAX 440/775-1460 / nasaco@leeca.org / http://core.nasa.gov


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

STAR GAZER

Episode # 04-18 / 1378th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 5/03/2004 through
Sunday 5/9/2004

"A NEAT Little Comet For Your Weekend Viewing ... Maybe!"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers and yes you heard right. This weekend what may be the best comet of 2004 will be at its closest to Earth and at its brightest. And if you've got clear dark skies you'll be able to see it with the naked eye. Let me show you. O.K., we've got our skies set up for this Friday night May 7th just after twilight is over and it's good and dark out facing west. Now if you're looking from a brilliantly lit up urban area you'll see several bright planets and stars but you'll have to be far away from city lights where it's really dark out in order to see the comet. And to help you find it let's first look at some bright objects so I can steer you to it.

First of all, Venus will be absolutely dazzling because it is the brightest planet of them all, and is in fact at its greatest brilliancy for the entire year this week. Just above Venus almost on a straight line you'll see much dimmer reddish orange mars and then on that straight line just above it much brighter ringed Saturn which through a small telescope will still dazzle you because its rings are almost wide open. Then hang a left toward the southwest and you'll see the brightest star of Canis Minor, the little dog, Procyon. And Procyon is the star we'll use to help us find our neat comet, which is really neat because, believe it or not, that's part of its name. Indeed, its proper name is C/2001 Q4 NEAT. It was discovered back in August 2001 by the Near Earth Asteroid Tracking team, which is a group of astronomers who hunt for hitherto unseen sky objects and in fact have discovered dozens of faint comets since they started in the mid 90's. So to find this neat comet, simply look down to the left of Procyon toward the horizon and it will be about half way between Procyon and the horizon.

But don't expect it to look like Halley's Comet or Comet Hale-Bopp or Comet Hyakutake because it is much smaller. In fact to the naked eye all you may see is just a fuzzy ball of light about as bright as the stars in the Big Dipper, which is why I always recommend using a pair of binoculars when looking at any comet. Because if a good tail does develop on Comet NEAT, which we don't know at the time of the recording of this show, a pair of binoculars will really magnify its light and show you the tail. Now according to advance predictions Comet NEAT will be at its closest and brightest to Earth this Friday May 7th, only 29 million 840 thousand miles away. But if you miss it Friday night then Saturday it will be only a little farther away and just a little higher in the sky closer to Procyon. On Sunday night it will be even higher and almost beside Procyon. But by Monday night it will be a million and a half miles farther away than it was on Friday and will then get fainter each night as it rapidly moves farther away from us. So there you have it, a neat little comet named NEAT at its closest and brightest this weekend. Get out those binoculars now! 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

#04-18 M

5/03/2004 thru 5/09/2004

"A NEAT Little Comet For Your Weekend Viewing ... Maybe!"

Horkheimer: This weekend what may be the best comet of 2004 will be at its closest and brightest. This Friday just after it's good and dark face west where you'll see Venus, Mars and Saturn and the bright star Procyon. And half way between Procyon and the horizon you'll see a fuzzy ball of light about as bright as the stars in the big dipper which is Comet NEAT, which is an acronym for the Near Earth Asteroid Tracking team who discovered it. It will be its brightest and closest Friday, only 29 million 840 thousand miles away and it will get higher each successive night. But to really see it well I strongly advise using a pair of binoculars. A neat little comet named NEAT. 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!

Tuesday 4/20/04 - 1100-1130 Eastern Time 4 Shows

Half Hour Feed - 4 shows


Star Gazer is also available from NASA CORE. A videotape of the current month is available from NASA CORE for $16.00 plus $6.00 shipping (within the U.S). Please send a VISA, MasterCard, check, money order or an official school purchase order to the address below:

NASA Central Operation of Resources for Educators

Lorain County JVS NASA CORE / 15181 Route 58 South / 440/775-1400 / FAX 440/775-1460 / nasaco@leeca.org / http://core.nasa.gov


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



 

STAR GAZER

Episode #04-19 /1379th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 5/10/2004 through Sunday 5/16/2004

"A Waxing Moon Visits Three Planets
And The Gemini Twins"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers and if you're one of those who still has a hard time finding the planets then next week you can not only use a growing crescent Moon to find three planets just after sunset but you'll also be able to use the Moon to find the two brightest stars of Gemini. Let me show you. O.K., we've got our skies set up for Thursday of next week May 20th an hour after sunset facing west. And if you have a clear unobstructed flat horizon you'll be able to see an exquisite very young slender sliver of a crescent Moon complete with earth shine which will look like a black full Moon nestled within the bright crescent just below the most brilliant planet of them all, 8,000 mile wide Venus which is almost at its brightest right now but which will descend lower each evening and be gone by memorial day so see it now.

On Friday night the 21st you can kick off the weekend with a visual bang because then an even slightly fatter crescent will be just above Venus making yet another exquisite picture and on its way to pay a visit to two more wonderful planets just above it; a very dim but still reddish orange looking 4,000 mile wide Mars which less than a year ago was second only to Venus in brightness but which is now extremely dim and getting dimmer every week as it moves farther away from us. And huddled right next to Mars, a planet that has earned the name "most beautiful of them all" because through a telescope it shows an exquisite system of rings encircling it, our old friend 75,000 mile wide Saturn. And in case you think Saturn and Mars are unusually close to one another you're absolutely right. In fact on Monday the 24th they will be in conjunction which means they will be at their closest visually for this go round, less than two degrees apart.

Although in reality Mars will be only 215 million miles while Saturn will be a whopping 915 million miles away. Now on Saturday the 22nd an even fatter crescent Moon will be just above Saturn and Mars and on its way to the next celestial wonder, the brightest star of the Gemini twins, Pollux, with his brother Castor off to the side. Indeed on Sunday the 23rd the Moon and Pollux will be side by side. But although they'll look close to each other, just as Mars and Saturn do, nothing could be farther from the truth. You see our 2,000 mile wide Moon will be only 248 thousand miles away on the 23rd, while Pollux will be 830 million times farther away, 35 light years beyond! Which is a good thing because if Pollux were as close to us as the Moon is we'd be blinded by its light and fried to a crisp because it is 5000 times wider than our Moon and is 35 times brighter than our Sun! So there you have it the Moon and Venus, the Moon and Saturn and Mars, and the Moon and Pollux and Castor. 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

#04-19 M

5/10/2004 thru 5/16/2004

"A Waxing Moon Visits Three Planets
And The Gemini Twins"

Horkheimer: Next week you can use the Moon to find three planets and the two brightest stars of Gemini. On Thursday the crescent Moon will be just below 8,000 mile wide Venus, which is almost as bright as it ever gets. On Friday it will be just above Venus on its way to 4,000 mile wide Mars and 75,000 mile wide Saturn. On Saturday the Moon is just above Saturn and Mars and on Sunday is parked next to Pollux, the brighter of the Gemini twins. But its all an illusion because our 2,000 mile wide Moon will be only 248 thousand miles away while Pollux will be 830 million times farther, 35 light years beyond, which is a good thing because Pollux is 5,000 times wider than our Moon and 35 times brighter than our Sun. Keep Looking Up!


Please give us your comments. (Click Here)


For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

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

 


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!

Tuesday 4/20/04 - 1100-1130 Eastern Time 4 Shows

Half Hour Feed - 4 shows


Star Gazer is also available from NASA CORE. A videotape of the current month is available from NASA CORE for $16.00 plus $6.00 shipping (within the U.S). Please send a VISA, MasterCard, check, money order or an official school purchase order to the address below:

NASA Central Operation of Resources for Educators

Lorain County JVS NASA CORE / 15181 Route 58 South / 440/775-1400 / FAX 440/775-1460 / nasaco@leeca.org / http://core.nasa.gov



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



STAR GAZER

Episode # 04-20 / 1380th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 5/17/2004 through Sunday 5/23/2004

"A First Quarter Moon Revisits The King Of the Planets
And The King Of The Beasts
Plus Catch Venus before It Disappears"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. Just a quick reminder that you should catch the most brilliant planet of them all, Venus before it disappears. Plus Saturn and Mars still remain close together. But the real fun event will be next week when a first quarter Moon revisits the king of the planets and the brightest star of the king of the beasts. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for this week Friday the 21st, just after Sunset, we're facing west where you'll see an exquisite crescent Moon just above Venus, which each night will descend lower and lower until by memorial day it will disappear below the horizon. And right above Venus and the Moon; Saturn and Mars are still at their closest for this go round huddle side by side. Plus on Saturday an even more exquisite crescent will form a wonderful triangle with them. But the nights to mark on your calendar for some real fun Moon-planet-star watching are next Wednesday the 26th and Thursday the 27th. On Wednesday, face southwest an hour after Sunset and you'll see an exquisite 7 day old, which means first quarter, Moon marking one point of a triangle whose other two points are marked by the second brightest planet of all, the king of the planets 88,000 mile wide Jupiter and Regulus the brightest star of the spring constellation Leo the Lion, a star which dwarfs both Jupiter and the Moon because it is a whopping five times wider than our Sun so huge that almost 50 Jupiters could be lined up across its middle side by side.

Now to the naked eye this threesome will be an exquisite sight. But if you have even the cheapest, smallest telescope please take a look at both the Moon and Jupiter because a first quarter Moon is always very dramatic through a telescope and Jupiter always displays a couple of its bands of storms encircling it plus three or four of its largest Moons as they endlessly orbit Jupiter and change place from night to night. Regulus as seen through a telescope won't look any larger than to the naked eye but it will look much brighter and you'll be able to see a faint bluish tint to it. The reason it won't look bigger is because it is so incredibly far away. You see on Wednesday our Moon will be only 240,000 miles away while Jupiter will be 490 million miles away. Regulus on the other hand will be a whopping 85 light years away, which is one million times farther away than Jupiter. Now on the next night Thursday the 27th a one day past first quarter Moon will make an almost straight line with Jupiter and Regulus. Plus the Moon will be 3,000 mile closer than it was the previous night. Jupiter, however, will be two million miles farther away. Regulus on the other hand is so incredibly far away to begin with any varying distance would be impossible to detect. So there you have it Venus, Mars and Saturn this weekend, a cosmic triangle on the 26th and a threesome line-up on the 27th. 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

#04-20 M

5/17/2004 thru 5/23/2004

"Using The Moon To Find The Planets"

Horkheimer: Catch Venus before it disappears, Saturn and Mars huddle together and the Moon visits the king of the planets and the king of the beasts. Catch Venus now because it will be gone by the end of the month. On the 21st a crescent Moon is just above Venus and just above it, Saturn and Mars are in a very close huddle side by side. And on the 22nd form a triangle with the crescent Moon. Then on Wednesday the 26th the first quarter Moon will mark one point of a triangle whose other two points are marked by 88,000 mile wide Jupiter and the brightest star of Leo the Lion, Regulus, a star so huge, 50 Jupiters could be lined up side by side across its middle. 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!

Tuesday 4/20/04 - 1100-1130 Eastern Time 4 Shows

Half Hour Feed - 4 shows


Star Gazer is also available from NASA CORE. A videotape of the current month is available from NASA CORE for $16.00 plus $6.00 shipping (within the U.S). Please send a VISA, MasterCard, check, money order or an official school purchase order to the address below:

NASA Central Operation of Resources for Educators

Lorain County JVS NASA CORE / 15181 Route 58 South / 440/775-1400 / FAX 440/775-1460 / nasaco@leeca.org / http://core.nasa.gov



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


 

STAR GAZER

Episode #04-21 / 1381st Show
To Be Aired : Monday 5/24/2004 through Sunday 5/30/2004

"The Biggest Full Moon Of The Year
Rides Across The Sky With One Of
The Biggest Stars In Our Galaxy"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers and don't be surprised if next week's full Moon on Wednesday night June 2nd looks a lot bigger than usual because it will. Plus this biggest full Moon of the year will ride across the sky from sunset to sunrise all night long in the company of one of the largest and reddest stars in our galaxy, which means that if it's clear out you'll have no trouble finding this star as easy as moon pie. Let me show you. O.K., we've got our skies set up for Wednesday night June 2nd right after sunset during evening twilight facing southeast. And if you have a clear flat horizon you'll see an exquisite much bigger looking than usual full Moon just risen over the horizon.

And it will look big for two reasons. Number one, you see whenever any full Moon is close to the horizon either rising or setting it will always look bigger than when it's high off the horizon or overhead. A fact which you can easily prove for yourself. Simply hold a dime at arm's length in front of you as the Moon rises or sets and that dime will cover the same amount of the Moon as it does when it's high off the horizon or overhead. We used to think this 'bigger at the horizon' illusion was caused by seeing the Moon near foreground objects but now we know this appears not to be true and experts are still debating exactly why this illusion occurs.

At any rate next week's full Moon will look bigger than all of 2004's full Moons because it will be the closest full Moon of the year, only 222, 000 miles away which is over 30,000 miles closer than the farthest full Moon of the year which will occur on Sunday, December 26th. In fact, this week's full Moon will look over 13% larger plus you can watch it travel across the sky all night long in the company of one of the biggest reddest stars in our galaxy. Indeed right next to the Moon all night will be Antares the humongous heart star of Scorpius the Scorpion.

But just how large, you ask, is Antares? Well our Moon is about 2,000 miles wide and our Sun is about a million miles wide but Antares is a whopping 600 million miles wide which means that if we could place one edge of Antares where our Sun is it would reach out past the orbits of Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, even past the orbit of Jupiter. The only reason it doesn't look as big as the Moon is because it's so incredibly far away, over 12 billion times farther away than our Moon, 520 light years beyond. Which means that it takes 520 years for its light to reach us whereas it takes the Moon's light only 1 1/3 seconds. So, get thee out side next Wednesday June 2nd and watch the biggest full Moon of the year travel across the sky, in the company of a giant red star, all night long from sunset to sunrise. Two beautiful cosmic objects just waiting to delight your eye. 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

#04-21 M

5/24/2004 thru 5/30/2004

"The Biggest Full Moon Of The Year
Rides Across The Sky With One Of
The Biggest Stars In Our Galaxy"

Horkheimer: On Wednesday night June 2nd the closest and biggest full Moon of the year will ride across the sky from sunset to sunrise in the company of one of the largest red stars in our galaxy. Right after sunset face southeast and you'll see a much bigger than usual full Moon just risen over the horizon. Bigger because it's only 222,000 miles away which is over 30,000 miles closer than the farthest full moon. Plus you can watch it travel across the sky all night long in the company of Antares, a giant star, so huge that if we placed one edge of it where our Sun is, it would extend past the orbit of Jupiter. Biggest moon and super big star! 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


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