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!

Friday 10/20/03 - 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 # 03-44 / 1352nd Show
To Be Aired : Monday 11/03/2003 through
Sunday 11/09/2003

"Saturn Prepares For Its Best Viewing
Until 2030 On New Year's Eve!"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. Last August Mars got all the attention because it was at its closest and brightest to Earth in 60,000 years. And while it was a real treat to the naked eye and for telescope viewers, there is an even bigger treat in store this New Year' Eve because on December 31st , 2003 the most beautiful planet in the solar system, Saturn, will be at its closest, brightest and highest for viewing in the 56 year time period from 1974 to 2030. And you can begin your Saturn watch now because it will be absolutely wonderful to both the naked eye and through a telescope through March 2004.

Saturn is the 6th planet out from the Sun. And while our Earth is 93 million miles away from the Sun and Jupiter is 500 million miles away from the Sun, Saturn is almost a billion miles away, twice as far as Jupiter. And even though we say that Jupiter is the biggest of the planets because it's 88,000 miles wide, Saturn is actually bigger if we count its rings. In fact we could line up two Jupiters side by side from one end of Saturn's ring system to the other. Now whenever Saturn's rings are tilted to their maximum as seen from Earth they reflect an incredible amount of light and make it much brighter than usual, as is the case right now. And as it comes closer it will get even brighter.

So if you've ever thought of getting a telescope for anyone for Christmas this is the year. Now because of our Earth's and Saturn's orbits about the Sun Saturn rises a little bit earlier each night. It's located right between the legs of the Gemini twins with their two bright stars Castor and Pollux. In early November it rises about 9 p.m. But by the beginning of December it will rise around 7 p.m. And at the end of December and beginning of January it will rise at Sunset and thereafter it will be visible for most of the night throughout January, February and March. But in case you're one of those who has a hard time finding any planet you can use the Moon as a finder several nights because it will appear close to Saturn on November 12th and November 13th, December 9th and 10th, January 5th and 6th and February 1st and 2nd.

Or if you want another easy way to find it use Orion the Hunter. Simply shoot an arrow from his knee star Rigel through his red shoulder star Betelgeuse and that arrow will land almost smack dab on Saturn. Nothing could be easier. Now through a small telescope you cannot only see Saturn's rings but the dark division between them, named for the 17th century astronomer Cassini who discovered them. Plus you can even see its largest Moon, 3,200 mile wide Titan, which is one and a half times the size of our Moon. Believe me if you've never seen Saturn through a telescope before you will never forget the first time you see it. It's one of those breathtaking, I can't believe it's real, moments. So start your Saturn watch now. And on New Year's Eve you'll thank me. 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

#03-44 M

11/03/2003 thru 11/09/2003

"Saturn Prepares For Its Best Viewing
Until 2030 On New year's Eve
"


Horkheimer: On New Year's Eve the most beautiful planet in the solar system Saturn will be at its closest, brightest and highest for viewing until the year 2030. It's right between the legs of the Gemini Twins near their two bright stars Castor and Pollux. In early November it rises about 9 p.m., in early December about 7 p.m. And on New Year's Eve it will rise at sunset. Next Wednesday an exquisite moon will be just above it and on Thursday alongside it. Or you can use Orion to find it. Simply shoot an arrow from his knee star Rigel through his shoulder star Betelgeuse and that arrow will land right on Saturn. Start your Saturn watch now because on New Year's Eve it will be at its absolute best. 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!

Friday 10/20/03 - 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 #03-45 /1353rd Show
To Be Aired : Monday 11/10/2003 through Sunday 11/16/2003

"Leo The Lion Plays Host To The Moon And Jupiter
On The Night Of The Leonid Meteor Shower"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. Every November we are treated to a meteor shower that appears to originate in Leo the Lion. Thus we call this event the Leonid meteor shower. It was absolutely spectacular for the last three years because the comet responsible for the Leonid meteors was relatively close to Earth. But it's farther away now plus this year a last quarter Moon and Jupiter are visiting Leo and thus their bright light will wipe out all but the brightest meteors. So what can we expect to see this year?

O.K., we've got our skies set up for Tuesday November 18th, 3 a.m. in the morning facing east, where you will see a lovely last quarter Moon and right below it the brilliant king of the planets Jupiter and just the pairing of these two alone is worth getting up for. But they're just below Leo so their bright light will make faint meteors difficult to see. The front part of Leo is marked by stars which trace out a sickle shape or a backwards question mark and Leo's rear is marked by three stars; which form a triangle. And every November on the night of the Leonid meteor shower bright streaks of light which we call meteors flash across the sky and appear to come from a spot within Leo's sickle. But it's really an optical illusion because the meteors are millions of times closer.

You see meteors are nothing more than tiny bits of comet debris that slam into our Earth's atmosphere so fast that they incinerate and cause gasses in our Earth's atmosphere to briefly light up, kind of like gasses in a neon light. The comet that causes the Leonids is "Comet Tempel ­Tuttle" which pays our sun a visit every 33 years. But every time it visits the sun it sheds some of its debris all along its orbit, its trail. So after hundreds of years, Tempel-Tuttle's orbit has become filled with tiny specks of comet litter. And every November when our Earth plows into this river of comet debris the specks slam into our Earth's atmosphere leaving trails of light; which we call the Leonid meteor shower. Most of the specks are tiny and leave faint trails which are difficult to see if the Moon or city lights light up the sky. But there are always a few bigger specks and they leave brilliant trails which can absolutely make you gasp with delight.

So this year because there is so much moonlight we can only expect to see the brighter ones. Now my advice is to do your observing earlier from 10:00 to midnight, Monday night before the Moon rises so the sky will be darker. Look toward the east and slowly scan the sky back and forth for an hour or so and you might see a few bright ones. You may also have a good chance to see some bright ones about an hour before sunrise because that's when Leo will be almost overhead. Happy meteor hunting, but in case you don't catch any you'll still be treated to an incredible pairing of Jupiter and our Moon. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

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

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



Star Gazer Minute

#03-45 M

11/10/2003 thru 11/16/2003

"Leo The Lion Plays Host To The Moon And Jupiter
On The Night Of The Leonid Meteor Shower"


Horkheimer: Next week we will be treated to the annual Leonid meteor shower. This year however all but the brightest meteors will be wiped out by the light of the last quarter Moon and the planet Jupiter when Leo is well up around 3 a.m. So this year I suggest you observe either before the Moon rises from 10 to midnight Monday night or you may see a few bright ones an hour before sunrise when Leo is almost overhead. And remember although meteors look like shooting stars they are nothing more than tiny bits of comet debris that slam into our Earth's atmosphere at such high speed they incinerate causing brilliant flashes of light. Happy Leonid meteor hunting and Keep Looking Up!


How did you like this episode?
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!

Friday 10/20/03 - 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 # 03-46 / 1354th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 11/17/2003 through Sunday 11/23/2003

"Earth's Odd Twin Sister Planet Snuggles Up
To The Moon During Thanksgiving Week
And Prepares For A Close Meeting"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. Next week the most brilliant planet in our solar system will not only catch your eye every night after Sunset but will also have the first of once a month beautiful pairings with a young crescent Moon. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for next Tuesday, November 25th, two days before Thanksgiving facing south west thirty minutes after Sunset where you'll see an exquisite crescent Moon complete with Earthshine; which will look like a black full Moon nestled inside the bright crescent snuggled right next to our so-called twin sister planet, and the brightest planet of them all, 8,000 mile wide Venus. It is called our twin sister planet because it is almost exactly the same size as our 8,000 mile wide Earth. But there the similarities end which I'll explain in a moment. Now although the Moon and Venus will look as if they're huddled right next to each other, as always when it comes to objects in the night sky appearances are deceiving because on the 25th our Moon will be only 224,000 miles away while Venus will be a whopping 138 million miles away but getting a little bit closer each night. Let me show you.

O.K., if we could look down at our Earth, Sun and Venus next week we would see that Venus is way on the other side of the Sun as seen from Earth. But because Venus and Earth are like cars on a racetrack with Venus on the inside track and moving faster, Venus will eventually catch up with us. On January 1st it will be only 121 million miles away, February 1st 104 million miles, March 1st 86 million, April 1st 64 million and on May 2nd only 42 million miles away and at its greatest brilliancy, almost a dozen times brighter than the brightest star Sirius.

Now the reason it is so bright is not only because it comes closer than any other planet but because it has a very high reflectivity. You see it is completely enshrouded in layers of bright clouds, which make it reflect light from the Sun almost like a mirror. But although these clouds make Venus a heavenly sight as seen from Earth conditions on Venus can be best described as hellish because Venus' thick cloud layers trap sunlight like a greenhouse sending temperatures on its surface to 900 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to melt lead. Plus deep within its cloud cover it rains sulphuric acid and lightning strikes almost continuously. And to make matters worse Venus' atmospheric pressure is so heavy that if you could stand on its surface you'd be squashed flatter than a pancake, lovely to look at but an odd twin sister indeed.

So don't miss Venus as it snuggles up to an exquisite crescent Moon next Tuesday just after dark in its first of several monthly pairings, the second of which will occur Christmas night. And be thankful this Thanksgiving that we're living on this twin and not that one. 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

#03-46 M

11/17/2003 thru 11/23/2003

"Venus Snuggles Up To The Moon
During Thanksgiving Week"

Horkheimer: The most brilliant planet in our solar system is back and next week we'll have the first of once a month beautiful pairings with a crescent Moon. Next Tuesday two days before Thanksgiving face southwest just after sunset and an exquisite Moon complete with earthshine will be snuggled up right next to our twin sister planet, 8,000 mile wide Venus. So called because it is almost the same size as our planet Earth. But there the similarity ends because Venus is completely enshrouded in a thick cloud cover which traps sunlight like a greenhouse sending temperatures past 900 degrees Fahrenheit, and it rains sulphuric acid. Be thankful this Thanksgiving we're living on this twin and not that one. 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!

Friday 10/20/03 - 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 #03-47 / 1355th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 11/24/2003 through Sunday 11/30/2003

"Our Moon Visits Mars,
Venus And Mercury Pair Up Just After Sunset
And Saturn Gets Ready For New Year's Eve!"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. The beginning of December this year offers planet gazers some wonderful opportunities just after sunset. Because not only will the Moon pay a visit to Mars, thus making Mars easy to find, but the two planets closest to the sun make an eye catching celestial duo. Plus, the ringed planet prepares for a super New Year's Eve. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for Sunday November 30th, 45 minutes after sunset facing southeast where you'll see an exquisite first quarter Moon parked just beside the planet that got all the headlines in August when it was at its closest in 60,000 years, our old friend, 4,000 miles wide Mars which is now only 1/10th as bright as it was in August because on August 27th Mars was only 34 and 1/2 million miles away while on November 30th it will be 78 and 1/2 million miles away. And it's moving rapidly away every single night.

In fact it will be a million miles farther only 24 hours later on Monday night, December 1st when an even more exquisite Moon will be parked only 5 degrees away from it. So don't miss the Moon approaching and meeting Mars because you can use the Moon as a Mars finder because it is indeed no longer as easy to find as it was three months ago, once again, Sunday November 30th and a super close pairing on Monday December 1st. And while you're out there, while it's still twilight, look south west and you'll see planet number 1 out from the sun, dinky 3,000 mile wide Mercury and dazzling above it, planet number 2 out from the sun, the brightest planet of them all, 8,000 mile wide Venus. And during the first week of December you'll be able to watch Mercury climb higher and higher towards Venus. It will reach its highest point on December 8th after which it will slowly drop down toward the horizon night after night.

So don't miss this planet duo in the first half of December with December 8th being the optimum night. Then if you turn around and face east about two hours after sunset you'll see the planet that is going to be all the rage by the end of December, the wonderful ringed planet, 75,000 mile wide, Saturn because on New Year's Eve it will be at its closest, brightest and best for viewing until the year 2030. And we'll keep you posted as it comes closer and closer night after night.

Now if you don't already have a small telescope find a friend who has one because Saturn through even the cheapest telescope will absolutely blow you away. And while you're at it take a look at Mercury and Venus and you'll see that they both look like various phases of the Moon because they go through phases just like our Moon does. The reason they do is because they are both closer to the Sun than our Earth. So there you have it, a real planet parade for December. Start your telescopes please. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

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

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


Star Gazer Minute

#03-47 M

11/24/2003 thru 11/30/2003

"Venus And Mercury Pair Up
And Satrun Gets Ready For New Year's Eve"

Horkheimer: The two planets closest to the Sun will make a wonderful pair in December and Saturn prepares for a super New Year's Eve. On December 1st look southwest and you'll see 3,000 mile wide Mercury just below dazzling 8,000 mile wide Venus and each night you'll be able to watch Mercury climb higher and higher toward Venus reaching its highest point on December 8th. Face east 2 hours after sunset and you'll see 75,000 mile wide Saturn which on New Year's Eve will be at its closest, brightest and best for viewing until the year 2030. Through a small telescope it will blow you away and Mercury and Venus will look like various phases of the moon. Get out that telescope now. 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


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