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
Friday 10/19/07 1100 to 1130
Includes episodes 0745, 0746, 0747, 0748


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 5 MINUTE

Episode # 07-45 / 1561st Show
To Be Aired : Monday 11/05/2007 through
Sunday 11/11/2007

"How To Look Back In Time Over 2 Million Years Ago"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. You know everyone is fascinated with the concept of time travel and although actually going back in time is just a thing of science fiction you actually can look back in time and see things as they existed long ago. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for any moonless night in November between 8 and 10 p.m. which means that this week and the first half of next week are very good because there'll be no moonlight in early evening. And make sure you're some place where it's really dark out away from city lights. First look almost overhead and you'll see four stars which if you could connect with lines trace out a square. It's called the Great Square of Pegasus the winged horse and marks the main part of his body. Next look north for five bright stars which if you connect with lines will look like a squashed out letter m. This is the constellation Cassiopeia the Queen. Finally take the brightest star in Cassiopeia and draw a line straight up to the brightest star of Pegasus' square. Then if you look about 2/3rds of the way up that line from Cassiopeia you will see a tiny faint cloud which through a pair of binoculars will look even more cloudlike but which isn't a cloud at all.

In fact it is the most distant object we can see in the universe with the naked eye, so far away that we have to measure its distance in terms of the speed of light. Now we all know that light is the fastest moving thing in the universe and that it travels at the speed of 186,000 miles per second. Since our Moon is about 250,000 miles away it takes its light about 1 1/3 seconds to reach us. So in reality we always see the Moon not as it exists now but as it existed 1 1/3 seconds ago. Our Sun on the other hand is 93 million miles away, so far away that it takes its light 8 1/3 minutes to reach us, which means that we never see the Sun as it exists right now but as it existed 8 1/3 minutes ago. The great Andromeda galaxy however is something else. Indeed it is so incredibly far away that it takes its light more than 2 1/2 million years to reach us. So when we look at the Andromeda galaxy we actually see it not as it exists now but as it existed 2 and 1/2 million years ago.

Think of it. When you look up at this dim cloud this week and next you are seeing something as it actually existed about the time Australopithecus, the Lucy creature, walked on this earth, long before the appearance of modern man, long before any creature on Earth learned how to use fire. And what's equally astonishing is if you take a time exposure photograph of this dim cloud through even a good amateur telescope you will see that it is a giant spiral pinwheel of billions of stars, a great galaxy very similar in shape to our own family of stars, the Milky Way galaxy, but over two times larger. Wow! So get thee out this week and next far from city lights and travel back in time. It's easy, it's fun, it's science, it's real. Keep looking up!

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Star Gazer Minute

#07-45 M

11/05/2007 thru 11/11/2007

"How To Look Back In Time Over 2 Million Years Ago"

Horkheimer: Although we cannot actually go back in time we actually can look back in time. Go out any clear moonless night this week and next between 8 and 10 p.m. draw a line from the brightest star in Cassiopeia to the brightest star in the great square of Pegasus and 2/3rds of the way up that line you'll see a tiny faint cloud which through telescopes reveals itself to be a gigantic family of billions of stars. It's called M-31 the great Andromeda Galaxy and it is so far away it takes 2 1/2 million years for its light to reach us. So we see it not as it exists now but as it actually existed 2 1/2 million years ago before Homo sapiens walked this planet. Wow! Keep looking up!

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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
Friday 10/19/07 1100 to 1130
Includes episodes 0745, 0746, 0747, 0748


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 #07-46 /1562nd Show
To Be Aired : Monday 11/12/2007 through Sunday 11/18/2007

"A Super Easy To Find Constellation :
Cassiopeia The Queen"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. Some constellations are easy to find and some are difficult. One of the easiest to find was named long ago for a legendary queen of exceptional beauty, queen Cassiopeia of Ethiopia. Let me show you. If you go out any night in November between 9 and 10 p.m. and look due north directly above the North Star you will see five bright stars which if you connect with lines trace out a squashed out letter m. This is Cassiopeia. Now if you add a dim little star below the crux of the m you can trace out a nice stick figure of Cassiopeia's throne, which at this time of year and night would require Cassiopeia to wear a seatbelt because she'd be hanging face downward over the North Star.

Now if you look directly opposite Cassiopeia on the other side of the North Star close to the horizon you will see the Big Dipper. And one of the nifty things about Cassiopeia and the Big Dipper is they circle endlessly around the North Star always opposite each other like the hands of a clock. Let me show you. O.K., let's slowly move forward in time about six hours at which time you'll notice that Cassiopeia's throne is almost upright and the Big Dipper has moved to the right of the North Star. 6 hours later Cassiopeia is beneath the North Star and the Big Dipper is above it. And on it continues like a great celestial clock, which incidentally is one of the functions these stars served to our clockless ancestors.

But why you may ask would people long ago put a great queen on her throne when her throne is so often upside down in a precarious position? Well it seems that Cassiopeia was used as an object lesson on vanity. You see she was extremely beautiful but she made the fatal mistake of boasting that she was more beautiful than the Nereids, the sea nymphs who were considered to be the hotties of their time. The jealous Nereids it seems complained to their father Poseidon the god of the seas who made Cassiopeia's life a living hell resulting in her being finally punished for her vanity by being placed in the heavens on her throne, forced to ride around the North Star for all eternity, sometimes in a queenly upright position and at others in a less dignified posture. Thus Cassiopeia still serves as a cosmic object lesson to mere mortals who brag of their personal beauty. Today we see five bright stars in Cassiopeia.

But 435 years ago this month in November 1572 astronomers all around the world watched a new star grow in brightness here, which outshone every star in the sky for many weeks and was visible for over a year. We now know that it was a giant exploding star called a supernova. And if you look at this spot through a good telescope you will see the ghostly remains of its shattered remnants. So get thee out and look for an ancient super star beauty queen who once had a super star visitor, long ago. Keep looking up!

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Star Gazer Minute

#07-46 M

11/12/2007 thru 11/18/2007

"A Super Easy To Find Constellation :
Cassiopeia The Queen"

Horkheimer: Every November the constellation Queen Cassiopeia rides high and. November night between 9 and 10 p.m. look north and directly above the North Star you will see five bright stars which trace out the letter m. Add another star and you can imagine a chair, Cassiopeia's throne here. She rides endlessly around the North Star as punishment for her vanity; sometimes right side up, sometimes upside down. And 435 years ago this month she had a visitor, a brilliant new star which outshone every star in the sky. We now know it was a supernova, a giant exploding star. And we can see its shattered remains through a good telescope. A super star visitor for a super queen. 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
Friday 10/19/07 1100 to 1130
Includes episodes 0745, 0746, 0747, 0748


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 # 07-47 / 1563rd Show

To Be Aired : Monday 11/19/2007 through Sunday 11/25/2007

"Three Cosmic Birds For Thanksgiving Week
And The Moon Meets Mars"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. Cosmically speaking this is a great Thanksgiving week because in addition to the usual bird on the Thanksgiving table we have our annual three cosmic birds, which you can see in the heavens right after dinner any night this week. Plus an almost full Moon pays a visit to Mars. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for any clear night this Thanksgiving week about 7 p.m. your local time facing west and if you look high above the horizon you will see the three bright stars which if we connect by lines make up what is officially called the Summer Triangle but which every November I unofficially call the Thanksgiving poultry triangle. You see, historically these stars have been associated with cosmic birds. The highest star is Deneb, the bright tail star in Cygnus the swan. So in addition to our Thanksgiving turkey we have a heavenly swan to be thankful for. The bright star farthest to the left, Altair, is the brightest star in Aquila the Eagle. And the brightest of the three stars and closest to the northwest horizon is Vega, the brightest star of Lyra the Harp which, strange as it may sound, has had more feathery incarnations than the other two put together.

You see, Lyra was not always a harp. In fact long before it became a lyre it was a cosmic turtle but before it was a cosmic turtle it was a bird of one sort or another. Ancient records tell us that Lyra's association with birds goes back over 2,000 years. In ancient India Lyra was seen as a heavenly vulture. But when Babylonian kings and their queens strolled through the hanging gardens of Babylon they looked up and identified Lyra as their great mythological bird of storms, Urakhga. In ancient Arabia people depicted Lyra's stars, depending on what tribe they belonged to as either a desert eagle or would you believe, a cosmic goose. And Lyra was also seen as a great osprey and as a wood falcon. Anyone for a wood falcon or osprey drumstick?

At any rate, only in the past couple hundred years or so have we in the west seen Lyra exclusively as a lyre, a small harp of ancient Greece. In fact as recently as the American revolution these stars were still depicted as a bird, a great American eagle, but with a lyre in its beak. So perhaps we should play lyre music after Thanksgiving dinner? At any rate, step outside just after dinner any night this week and look for some birds of a different feather and be thankful you won't have them as Thanksgiving leftovers.

Plus about 9 p.m. if you look east you will see the planet which is racing for a super close meeting on Christmas Eve, super bright, rouge gold Mars. On Sunday night an exquisite almost full Moon will be closing in on it. And on Monday night will be only one degree away from it which means you can use the Moon as a Mars finder. Have a cosmic Thanksgiving week and keep looking up!


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Star Gazer Minute

#07-47 M

11/19/2007 thru 11/25/2007

"Three Cosmic Birds For Thanksgiving Week
And The Moon Meets Mars"

Horkheimer: Every Thanksgiving in addition to the traditional turkey we have three cosmic birds. Look west just after dark and you'll see the three bright stars of the Summer Triangle which historically have been associated with birds; Cygnus the swan, Aquila the eagle and Lyra the harp. You see Lyra has had many feathery incarnations. In ancient India it was a cosmic vulture, in Babylon a great storm bird and in Arabia a desert eagle. Others have seen it as an osprey, a wood falcon, even a goose. So if you've had turkey up to here on Thanksgiving look west after sunset for birds of a different feather. 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
Friday 10/19/07 1100 to 1130
Includes episodes 0745, 0746, 0747, 0748


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 # 07-48 / 1564th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 11/26/2007 through Sunday 12/2/2007

"Mars At Its Closest And Brightest Until 2016 This December"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. Yes you heard me right this December 18th Mars will be at its closest and brightest until the year 2016 and it will still be just as bright and officially at opposition on Christmas Eve. Plus it won't be this high in the sky again until 2040! Wow! In fact almost all of December it will be brighter than the brightest star in the sky, Sirius. Let me show you. O.K., we've got our sky set up for any night in December two to three hours after sunset facing east where the brightest thing you'll see in the sky is the planet which is half the size of our planet Earth good old 4,000 mile wide Mars, named for the ancient god of war for its so-called blood red appearance. However most people describe Mars' reddish color as more of a rouge gold or brassy color. Although I think astronomy writer Fred Schaaf's description is about as good as it gets. He says. " It looks campfire colored." and by golly it really does. See for yourself.

Now 14 months ago on Sept. 30th, 2006 Mars was 242 and 1/2 million miles away from us. But by January 1st of this year Mars was only 221 million miles away. And ever since then we have been chasing it. On June 1st it was only 150 million miles away. But by this weekend Dec. 1st it will be only 57 and 1/2 million miles away. And on the night of Dec. 18th, it will be at its closest, only 54 and 3/4 million miles away and brightest, although it will stay just as bright through the 29th of December. But ta da! on Christmas Eve it will officially be at opposition, which means that it will be directly opposite the Earth from the Sun and thus will be in the sky all night long from sunset until sunrise.

So get thee out and watch Mars now. Just look east a couple hours after sunset or look between 11 and 1 a.m. when it will be close to overhead. You'll be able to see some of Mars' features with a good telescope and remember that right now we have two Mars rovers trekking across the Martian surface taking the best close up pictures we've ever seen. And let me remind you that when I was a kid we really had no idea what the surface of Mars looked like. Now we know that Mars has a grand canyon, Valles Marineris, that is as long as our United States is wide. Plus Mars has the biggest volcano in the solar system, Olympus Mons, which is so huge that it could cover the entire state of Georgia. Wow!

And while you're out watching the red planet you can also see just to its right a very bright red star, which marks one of the shoulders of Orion the Hunter. It's called Betelgeuse and is usually much brighter than Mars, but not now. Compare the colors of Betelgeuse and Mars and see which one looks redder to you. So mark December 18th, as the night of Mars' closest approach and Christmas Eve as "Mars at opposition" night. Keep looking up!


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Star Gazer Minute

#07-48 M

11/26/2007 thru 12/2/2007

"Mars At Its Closest And Brightest Until 2016 This December"

Horkheimer: This December Mars will be its closest and brightest until the year 2016 and highest until 2040! Two to three hours after sunset face east and rouge gold Mars will be the brightest thing you'll see. Fourteen months ago it was 242 million miles away but this week it will be only 57 1/2 million miles away. It will be at its absolute closest and brightest on the 18th but it will officially be at opposition on Christmas Eve and just as bright. Mars has a grand canyon as long as our United States is wide and a volcano so huge it could cover the state of Georgia. Compare its color with that of reddish Betelgeuse the shoulder star of Orion just to Mars' right. See Mars now 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


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