STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION



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

Satellite feed info:

GE 3 - PBS Transponder 512 - Digital Only!

Half Hour Feed STAH 811
Monday April 20, 2009, 1000-1030
Includes episodes 0918, 0919, 0920, 0921


Star Gazer is also available from NASA CORE. A videotape of the current month is available from NASA CORE (Contact us for current price)

NASA Central Operation of Resources for Educators (CORE)
Lorain County JVS-CORE
15181 Route 58 South
Oberlin, OH 44074

Phone: (440) 775-1400
Fax: (440) 775-1460
E-mail: NASA_order@lcjvs.net
http://www.nasa.gov/education/core

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

 

"Star Gazer" is available for downloading
with Quicktime.

 Click Here

 Click Here

STAR GAZER 5 MINUTE

Episode # 09-18 / 1639th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 5/04/2009 through
Sunday 5/10/2009

"How to Find The Closest Star To Earth Other
Than Our Sun And The Fabled Southern Cross"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. Let me advise you ahead of time that this show is for people who either live in the extreme southern parts of the United States such as the Virgin Islands, South Florida and Hawaii or who happen to be visiting those areas. Because every year during may the fabled Southern Cross and the star closest to our Earth other than the Sun are visible for a brief time after sunset. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for one hour after sunset from now to the end of may facing due south. Where you will see four stars, which if we draw lines between them make up the legendary Crux Australis, the Southern Cross. Just to its left and extremely close to the horizon you'll also see two very bright stars, Beta Centauri and Alpha Centauri. But to see them really well you'll have to wait a bit until the Southern Cross starts to set and beta and Alpha Centauri replace the cross directly due south.

The star closest to the cross is Beta Centauri and it is a blue white double star, each star about 8 times the size of our Sun. But its companion to its left Alpha Centauri, is the real winner. Because in addition to its being the 4th brightest star we can see with the naked eye it is also the closest star to Earth other than our Sun, but it's still pretty far away. Indeed our Sun is only 93 million miles away but Alpha Centauri is 26 trillion miles away!

Or think of it this way. It takes only 8 1/3 minutes for light to reach us from the Sun but it takes 4 1/3 years for light to reach us from Alpha Centauri, which believe it or not, astronomically speaking, is close. At any rate I do have to qualify Alpha Centauri as the closest star other than our Sun because it is actually a triple star system, three stars that look like one because they are so far away. Two of them are about the same size as our Sun. The smallest however is really dinky. And in fact if we could place it where our Sun is it would give only as much light as 45 full Moons, not very bright! But this tiny component has the distinction of being just slightly closer to us than its two sibling stars. So we call this small component Proxima Centauri, Proxima meaning the closest. So in reality it is Proxima Centauri, one of the three stars which make up Alpha Centauri that is really the closest.

And now back to the cross, which I have been fortunate enough to see many times from southern Florida, the Virgin Islands and Hawaii. It has a bit of a history with Mark Twain because if you look closely you will see that in addition to its four bright stars there is a fifth, not quite so bright, star just off center of the cross. Which happened to bother Twain so much that he said that he was going to write his congressman and urge that it be moved in to the very center of the cross where it would look much, much better.

At any rate if you're fortunate enough to be far south any year during the month of may please take the time to look for the legendary Southern Cross and Alpha and Beta Centauri. Keep looking up!

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

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here


"Star Gazer" is available for downloading
with Quicktime.

Check Out WPBT's Version

 Click Here

 Click Here

 Click Here

Star Gazer Minute

#09-18 M

5/04/2009 thru 5/10/2009

"How to Find The Closest Star To Earth Other
Than Our Sun And The Fabled Southern Cross"

Horkheimer: If you live in south Florida, Hawaii or the Virgin Islands every May you can see the Southern Cross and the second closest star. Face due south after sunset and the four bright stars which make up the Southern Cross will be smack dab on the horizon. And after an hour Alpha and Beta Centauri will have risen into view. Alpha is the second closest star to Earth, the Sun being first. But even so it's pretty far away because while our Sun is only 93 million miles away Alpha Centauri is 26 trillion miles away. Or think of it this way it takes only 8 1/3 minutes for light to reach us from the Sun but 4 1/3 years for light to reach us from Alpha Centauri, which believe it or not, astronomically speaking, is close! Keep looking up!

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

 

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here


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


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

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






STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION

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

Satellite feed info:

GE 3 - PBS Transponder 512 - Digital Only!

Half Hour Feed STAH 811
Monday April 20, 2009, 1000-1030
Includes episodes 0918, 0919, 0920, 0921


Star Gazer is also available from NASA CORE. A videotape of the current month is available from NASA CORE (Contact us for current price)

NASA Central Operation of Resources for Educators (CORE)
Lorain County JVS-CORE
15181 Route 58 South
Oberlin, OH 44074

Phone: (440) 775-1400
Fax: (440) 775-1460
E-mail: NASA_order@lcjvs.net
http://www.nasa.gov/education/core


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


"Star Gazer" is available for downloading
with Quicktime.

 Click Here

 Click Here

STAR GAZER

Episode #09-19 /1640th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 5/11/2009 through Sunday 5/17/2009

"The Moon Visits Three Bright Planets
In Pre-Dawn Skies Plus An Invisible Goodie"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. Next week is a good one for all of you who get up with the chickens because you can use the Moon to find three bright planets. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for this Sunday May 17th 45 minutes before Sunrise facing east where you will be absolutely dazzled and won't need any Moon to find the second planet out from the Sun, the brightest planet of them all, and the same size as our planet Earth, 8,000 mile wide Venus. And just down to its left and many, many times dimmer the rouge gold planet we call the red planet, half the size of Earth and Venus, 4,000 mile wide Mars. Then if you draw an imaginary curved line from Mars through Venus and extend that line toward the southeast you'll see the second brightest planet, the biggest of them all, 88,000 mile wide Jupiter. But in case you're not sure you've found it, you're in luck because an exquisite 22 day old, waning, that is shrinking, last quarter Moon is parked almost beside it.

And as you regular Star Gazer viewers know I'm always a big one for visual comparisons. So let's compare these four objects, which all happen to be multiples of two, our 2,000 mile wide Moon, 4,000 mile wide Mars, 8,000 mile wide Venus, and 88,000 mile wide Jupiter. Or think of it this way, we could line up two Moons across Mars, four Moons across Venus and 44 Moons across Jupiter, which really gives one a sense of perspective.

Now I always like to mentally compare the Moon's size with any planetary objects it visits, so after it leaves Jupiter it will make a wonderful trio with our other two planetary friends. On Monday the Moon gets a little skinnier, on Tuesday the 19th even thinner, and on Wednesday the 20th it starts to zero in on Venus and Mars. Then finally ta da! On Thursday the 21st an extremely slender sliver of a 26 day old Moon will form a wonderful triangle with the goddess of love and the god of war. Don't miss this please. The Moon, Venus and Mars on Thursday the 21st and an exquisite Moon and Jupiter on Sunday the 17th.

And for those of you with small telescopes there is an extra added attraction because when you look at Jupiter you'll notice, just off to its side, a tiny bluish green dot of light and that dot of light is the last of the major planets of our solar system, planet #8 named for the Roman god of the sea, 31,000 mile wide Neptune, which although not as big as Jupiter certainly dwarfs Venus and Mars. Now if you want to compare distances, on the 21st the Moon will be 233 thousand miles away, Venus 54 million miles away and Mars 189 million miles away. Jupiter however will be much farther, 454 million miles away, but Neptune will be a whopping 2.8 billion miles away, over 6 times farther away than Jupiter. Wow!

So get thee out next week just before the Sun rises and watch the Moon slowly shrink as it visits our planetary neighbors. Planet finding using our Moon is a wonderful hobby and one that can be enjoyed even from deep within major cities especially from high up on condominium and apartment building balconies. Keep looking up!

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

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here


"Star Gazer" is available for downloading
with Quicktime.

Check Out WPBT's Version

 Click Here

 Click Here

 Click Here

Star Gazer Minute

#09-19 M

5/11/2009 thru 5/17/2009

"The Moon Visits Three Bright Planets
In Pre-Dawn Skies Plus An Invisible Goodie"

Horkheimer: If you get up with the chickens you can see three bright planets. This Sunday just before sunrise face east and you'll be dazzled by the brightest planet of all, same size as our Earth, 8,000 mile wide Venus. Down to its left the planet half the size of Earth and Venus, 4,000 mile wide Mars and up to their right, 88,000 mile wide Jupiter with our 2,000 mile wide Moon above it. Follow the Moon each day and on Thursday the 21st it will make a fabulous triangle with Venus and Mars. I love Moon/ planet comparisons so think about this. We could line up two Moons across Mars, four Moons across Venus and Earth, 44 Moons across Jupiter. Wow! The Moon and Jupiter on Sunday, the Moon, Venus and Mars on Thursday. Keep looking up!


Please give us your comments. (Click Here)


For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here


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




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

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


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




 


STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION


STAR GAZER is seen nationally on most PBS stations. There is a five minute and a one minute version available each week. If it is not currently on your PBS station we suggest you contact your local PBS programming director and let them know it is available free to all PBS stations. Visit http://www.pbs.org/stationfinder/index.html for help in locating your local PBS station.

You may take STAR GAZER off satellite for personal use, classroom use, astronomy club use, etc. without written permission.

Satellite feed info:

GE 3 - PBS Transponder 512 - Digital Only!

Half Hour Feed STAH 811
Monday April 20, 2009, 1000-1030
Includes episodes 0918, 0919, 0920, 0921


Star Gazer is also available from NASA CORE. A videotape of the current month is available from NASA CORE (Contact us for current price)

NASA Central Operation of Resources for Educators (CORE)
Lorain County JVS-CORE
15181 Route 58 South
Oberlin, OH 44074

Phone: (440) 775-1400
Fax: (440) 775-1460
E-mail: NASA_order@lcjvs.net
http://www.nasa.gov/education/core


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


"Star Gazer" is available for downloading
with Quicktime.

 Click Here

 Click Here

STAR GAZER

Episode # 09-20 / 1641st Show

To Be Aired : Monday 5/18/2009 through Sunday 5/24/2009

"How To Make This Memorial Day Weekend
A Star Studded Event!"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. This Memorial Day weekend 2009 will be perfect for star gazing if it's clear out because it will be the weekend of a new Moon which means no Moon will be visible, so if you're far away from city lights you'll have no urban sky glow plus no Moon glow. So stars will really stand out against a black sky. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights this Memorial Day weekend about an hour after Sunset facing north where you will easily see the seven stars we refer to as the Big Dipper, four stars make its cup, three stars make its handle. And every spring the dipper always reaches its highest positions above the North Star. In early spring it is high above the North Star but to its right, that is east. And in late spring it is high above the North Star but to its left, that is west.

So this weekend find the Big Dipper and then use our old time honored trick to find two more wonderful stars. Simply draw a line through the three handle stars and extend that line using the same curve or arc as the handle and that curved line will eventually land on the third brightest star in the heavens orange Arcturus which at a width of 22 million miles is almost 26 times as wide as our Sun. Next, to find a not-quite-as-bright but still wonderful springtime star continue that curved line, that arc and you'll speed right on to Spica, the brightest star of virgo the virgin. Although it is only 1/3 the size of Arcturus it is still 8 times the size of our Sun.

You can also use the Big Dipper to find another wonderful group of spring stars. Simply take the two stars at the back end of the cup next to the handle, shoot an arrow through them and you'll land on Leo the Lion. A sickle shaped pattern of stars marks his front and a triangle of stars marks his rear. And his brightest star Regulus marks his heart. It is a beautiful blue white star and is five times as big as our Sun. Next if you look close to the western horizon you'll see three bright stars, the brightest of which is Procyon and marks the eye of Canis Minor, Orion's little dog, a star about twice as wide as our Sun.

And to his right are the two brightest stars of Gemini the Twins, Castor and Pollux. Pollux is 11 times the size of our Sun and although Castor looks like a single star to the naked eye, in reality it is actually six stars, 3 pairs waltzing around each other, masquerading as one. Wow! Finally for your Memorial Day finale I suggest you look to their left and high in the southwest you'll see another bright light which isn't a star at all but everyone's favorite planet, ringed Saturn. Although puny compared to any star it is actually twice the size of the biggest planet Jupiter, if you count its rings. See it through a small telescope now before its rings disappear.

So there you have it, the Big Dipper, Arcturus, Spica, Leo and Regulus, Procyon, Castor, Pollux and Saturn. Have a star studded Memorial Day weekend! Keep looking up!


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

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here


"Star Gazer" is available for downloading
with Quicktime.

Check Out WPBT's Version

 Click Here

 Click Here

 Click Here

Star Gazer Minute

#09-20 M

5/18/2009 thru 5/24/2009

"How To Make This Memorial Day Weekend
A Star Studded Event!"

Horkheimer: This Memorial Day weekend will be perfect for star gazing because there will be no moonlight to hide the stars. An hour after sunset face north and you'll see the seven stars of the Big Dipper. Using its handle shoot a curved line and arc to Arcturus, a bright orange star almost 26 times as wide as our Sun. Continue that line and you'll speed on to Spica, a star 8 times the size of our Sun. Shoot an arrow through the handle of the dipper and you'll land on Leo whose brightest star Regulus is five times our Sun's size. Close to the western horizon, Procyon is two times our Sun's width. And nearby are the Gemini twins whose Pollux is eleven times our Sun's size. Castor however is actually six stars, three pairs waltzing around each other! Wow! Have a starry weekend and keep looking up!


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

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here


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




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

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


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




STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION


STAR GAZER is seen nationally on most PBS stations. There is a five minute and a one minute version available each week. If it is not currently on your PBS station we suggest you contact your local PBS programming director and let them know it is available free to all PBS stations. Visit http://www.pbs.org/stationfinder/index.html for help in locating your local PBS station.

You may take STAR GAZER off satellite for personal use, classroom use, astronomy club use, etc. without written permission.

Satellite feed info:

Half Hour Feed STAH 811
Monday April 20, 2009, 1000-1030
Includes episodes 0918, 0919, 0920, 0921


Star Gazer is also available from NASA CORE. A videotape of the current month is available from NASA CORE (Contact us for current price)

NASA Central Operation of Resources for Educators (CORE)
Lorain County JVS-CORE
15181 Route 58 South
Oberlin, OH 44074

Phone: (440) 775-1400
Fax: (440) 775-1460
E-mail: NASA_order@lcjvs.net
http://www.nasa.gov/education/core


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



"Star Gazer" is available for downloading
with Quicktime as well as RealPlayer streaming video.

 Click Here

 Click Here

STAR GAZER

Episode # 09-21 / 1642nd Show

To Be Aired : Monday 5/25/2009 through Sunday 5/31/2009

"How to Find The Last Of The Planets Using
The King Of The Planets"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. This week and next you can use the king of the planets to find the last of the planets. And sorry folks I'm not talking about Pluto because it got bumped from the planet register. So by last planet I mean the planet named for the Roman god of the sea, Neptune. It's invisible to the naked eye but if you have a pair of binoculars or a small telescope you will be able to find it right beside Jupiter for the next two weeks. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for about one hour before Sunrise facing southeast where the two brightest objects you'll see will be the star called Fomalhaut in the constellation, Piscis Austrinus, the southern fish. And almost directly above it much brighter the king of the planets, 88,000 mile wide Jupiter, which is always wonderful to view with the naked eye and which through even the cheapest telescope is magnificent because you can always see its vast bands of horizontal atmosphere which continually encircle the planet.

Plus you can be almost hourly entertained by the ever changing positions of Jupiter's four largest moons, three of which are larger than our own Moon and which constantly change position in relation to the planet as they continually orbit around it. Indeed these are perhaps the four most important moons in our solar system regarding man's intellectual development because it was the observation of these four Moons 400 years ago by Galileo Galilei which signaled the beginning of the scientific revolution and which we are commemorating this year with the International Year of Astronomy commemorating Galileo's discovery of these four Jovian Moons which are still called to this day the four Galilean Satellites.

But while you've got your telescope trained on Jupiter and its moon ballet you will notice a tiny greenish blue light off to the side. And that dear friends is 31,000 mile wide Neptune. And since I always like to do comparisons with our Earth think of it this way. Since our Earth is 8,000 miles wide we could fit almost four Earths side by side across Neptune . But almost three Neptune's could fit across Jupiter. Wow! And talk about distant! While our Earth is approximately 93 million miles away from the Sun, Jupiter is approximately 500 million miles away. Neptune however is a super whopping 6 times farther away than Jupiter, 2.8 billion miles. No wonder we can't see it with the naked eye!

And if you remember that the farther away a planet is from the Sun the slower it moves think of this. Whereas it takes Earth only 365 1/4 Earth days to make one trip around the Sun, Jupiter is so far away it takes it 12 Earth years to make one trip around the Sun. But you ain't seen nothing yet because Neptune is so far away it makes one trip around the Sun only once every 165 Earth years. Talk about a slow poke! So get thee out some time this week and next to find the last planet using the king planet. Keep looking up!


How did you like this episode?


Please give us your comments. (Click Here)

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here


"Star Gazer" is available for downloading
with Quicktime.

Check Out WPBT's Version

 Click Here

 Click Here

 Click Here

Star Gazer Minute

#09-21 M

5/25/2009 thru 5/31/2009

"How to Find The Last Of The Planets Using
The King Of The Planets"

Horkheimer: This week and next you can use the king of the planets to find the last of the planets. One hour before sunrise face southeast and you'll see the bright star Fomalhaut and just above it the planet king, 88,000 mile wide Jupiter. Which if you look at it through a small telescope will have a visitor, a tiny blue green dot named for the Roman god of the sea Neptune and which is now officially the last planet after Pluto got bumped. It is 31,000 miles wide so we could line up almost three Neptunes across Jupiter. But while Jupiter is 500 million miles away from the Sun Neptune is almost 3 billion. Plus it moves so slowly it makes one trip around the Sun only once every 165 Earth years! So get out that small telescope or find a friend who's got one. Keep looking up!


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

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here


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




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

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


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


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