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 904
Friday September 18, 2009, 1130-1200/SD06
Includes episodes 0940, 0941, 0942, 0943


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
Lorain County JVS NASA CORE / 15181 Route 58 South / 440/775-1400 / FAX 440/775-1460 /
http://www.nasa.gov/education/core
nasa_order@lcjvs.net

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

"Star Gazer" is available with iTunes,
for downloading with Quicktime
and we're now on YouTube

 

 
 

STAR GAZER 5 MINUTE

Episode # 09-40 / 1661st Show
To Be Aired : Monday 10/05/2009 through
Sunday 10/11/2009

"Mars And The Gemini Twins Line Up In A Row,
Venus and Saturn Pair Up Super Close And
An Exquisite Moon Watches It All"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. Mark three dates next week when you can see three wonderful cosmic occurrences. On Monday October 12th Mars will line up with the brightest stars of Gemini. On Tuesday the 13th Venus and Saturn will make a super close pair and on Friday the 16th a slender sliver of a Moon will make a triangle with Venus and Saturn. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for next Monday October 12th one hour before sunrise facing east where you will see a 23 day old waning crescent Moon. And just above it three bright objects lined up in a row. The one closest to the Moon is our old friend and half the size of our Earth, 4,000 mile wide rouge gold Mars which we have been visiting with rovers for the past two years sending back incredible pictures for the whole world to see. Something I never expected to see when I was a kid.

And just up and to the left of Mars are the two brightest stars of Gemini the twins, Castor and Pollux, which you will be able to see in early evening skies all winter long. So use the Moon to find both Mars and the Gemini twins. Next look directly below them and you will see the brightest planet of them all, 8,000 mile wide, same size as our Earth, Venus. And just below it 75,000 mile wide ringed Saturn. They'll be very close, only two full Moon widths apart. But 24 hours later on Tuesday October 13th they'll be at their closest only one full Moon apart, wow! Don't miss this and please if you have a small telescope or binoculars, use them.

Now you'll also notice that Mars, Castor and Pollux are still in a straight line but that the Moon has moved a considerable distance and gotten skinnier and is on its way to pay a visit to Saturn and Venus. But regrettably will not get to them before they are out of their huddle and well apart from each other. In fact on Wednesday you'll clearly see that Saturn has changed places with Venus and is now above it rather than below it and that once again two full Moons could fit between them. On Thursday they'll be even farther apart and an even skinnier Moon will be closing in on them. And on Friday the 16th Venus and Saturn will be so far apart that seven full Moons could fit between them. But they'll form an exquisite triangle with one of the skinniest Moons you'll ever see. Wow again!

Of course all this visual closeness of cosmic objects is merely an illusion. In fact next week our Moon will be only 230 thousand miles away, Venus will be 140 million miles away, and Saturn 960 million miles away. The disparity between Mars and the Gemini twins however will be even greater. Indeed Mars will be only 125 million miles away next week whereas Pollux will be 34 light years away, and Castor a whopping 52 light years beyond!

So don't forget, on Monday Mars, Castor and Pollux line up in a row, on Tuesday Saturn and Venus are only one full Moon apart and on Friday they make an exquisite triangle with a super skinny Moon. Keep looking up!

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"Star Gazer" is available with iTunes,
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and we're now on YouTube

Check Out WPBT's Version

 
 
 
 

Star Gazer Minute

#09-40 M

10/05/2009 thru 10/11/2009

"Mars And The Gemini Twins Line Up In A Row,
Venus and Saturn Pair Up Super Close And
An Exquisite Moon Watches It All"

Horkheimer: Next week you can see three wonderful cosmic occurrences. On Monday just before sunrise face east and to the left of a waning Moon you'll see the planet Mars and the two brightest stars of Gemini the Twins, Castor and Pollux lined up in a row. Directly below them you'll see the brightest planet Venus only two full Moon widths away from Saturn. But 24 hours later on Tuesday they'll be super close, only one full Moon apart. Wow! The Moon will move closer and closer to Venus and Saturn each day as Saturn and Venus slowly move apart. Then ta da! on Friday the 16th one of the skinniest Moons you'll ever see will form an exquisite triangle with Venus and Saturn! Monday the 12th, Tuesday the 13th, and Friday the 16th! 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 904
Friday September 18, 2009, 1130-1200/SD06
Includes episodes 0940, 0941, 0942, 0943


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
Lorain County JVS NASA CORE / 15181 Route 58 South / 440/775-1400 / FAX 440/775-1460 /
http://www.nasa.gov/education/core
nasa_order@lcjvs.net


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


"Star Gazer" is available with iTunes,
for downloading with Quicktime
and we're now on YouTube

 

 
 

STAR GAZER

Episode #09-41 /1662nd Show
To Be Aired : Monday 10/12/2009 through Sunday 10/18/2009

"Autumn's Flying Horse Of The Heavens And
An Ancient Portal To Paradise"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. Every October and November a wonderful constellation appears almost overhead before midnight. And although it is not as bright as summer and winter constellations its mythology is absolutely magical and poetic. Let me show you.

O.K., if you go outside between 8 and midnight in October and November and look close to overhead you will see four stars which if you draw lines between them make a slightly lopsided square which for over 2,000 years has been called the Great Square of Pegasus, the winged horse. But why you might ask is only half a horse pictured here? Well Pegasus was born from the blood of Medusa and the foam of the sea so perhaps Pegasus is just rising from the ocean, his other half still submerged although it has also been suggested that since the image of Pegasus was often used for the figureheads of ancient ships, this could also account for only half of him showing in the heavens.

In fact in an ancient work called "The Destruction of Troy" we read of "a ship named Pegasus which was likened to a flying horse." Pegasus is indeed a very ancient figure and is featured on some of the most beautiful ancient coins of Corinth and Carthage. Because Pegasus was associated with the heroic deeds of Perseus he has long been regarded as a celestial symbol to inspire heroes to perform wonderful deeds. But he is also regarded as a symbol to inspire poets. The reason being, as one myth states, that as Pegasus was prancing around one day, under his hooves a spring was created, a spring which was alleged to have magic power in its waters. For it was believed that if one drank of its magical water one would experience ecstasy and be gifted with the art of poetry.

But my favorite way of looking at this Great Square comes from the ancient Persians who imagined that this square was a portal to another dimension, the dimension of eternal bliss, the doorway to paradise. And sometimes when I'm outside looking up at this square I almost want to leap up and fly through it and see the wonders which lie deep within. You see, though we can see nothing within this square from urban areas, when you get away from city lights, on a clear moonless night, you may be able to count 10 to 15 dim stars with the naked eye within its borders. But with a modern telescope we can find dozens of galaxies, island universes of billions of stars like our Milky Way galaxy. So in a way this ancient square is a portal to another dimension, the dimension of the wonders of the universe, which we can now see with our modern telescopes. How wonderful.

So get thee outside some night before midnight this October and November and gaze up at this Great Square and remind your self of all the millions before us who have done likewise. I think you'll find it almost magical. And it just may bring out the poet in you. 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 with iTunes,
for downloading with Quicktime
and we're now on YouTube

Check Out WPBT's Version

 
 
 
 

Star Gazer Minute

#09-41 M

10/12/2009 thru 10/18/2009

"Autumn's Flying Horse Of The Heavens And
An Ancient Portal To Paradise"

Horkheimer: Every October and November an almost magical constellation flies high. Between 8 and midnight look close to overhead and you'll see the four stars which make up the great Square of Pegasus, the winged horse, whose image was often used on some the most beautiful coins of ancient Corinth and Carthage. The ancient Persians imagined that this square was the doorway to another dimension, the portal to paradise. And if you're far from city lights you can see 10 to 15 dim stars within its borders. With a telescope however you can find dozens of galaxies like our own Milky Way. So get thee outside before midnight and gaze up at this great square, which many consider to be a cosmic inspiration to heroes and poets. 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 904
Friday September 18, 2009, 1130-1200/SD06
Includes episodes 0940, 0941, 0942, 0943


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
Lorain County JVS NASA CORE / 15181 Route 58 South / 440/775-1400 / FAX 440/775-1460 /
http://www.nasa.gov/education/core
nasa_order@lcjvs.net


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


"Star Gazer" is available with iTunes,
for downloading with Quicktime
and we're now on YouTube

 

 
 

STAR GAZER

Episode # 09-42 / 1663rd Show

To Be Aired : Monday 10/19/2009 through Sunday 10/25/2009

"Mars And The Manger Plus The God Of War
Steps Into A Cosmic Beehive Just As You
Set Your Clocks Back To Standard Time"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. This year something very special happens in the cosmos when you set your clocks back to standard time, because if you set your clocks back at the official set back time at 2 a.m. Sunday morning November 1st your clocks will officially read 1 a.m. Standard Time after which you can walk outside and view something very special which has to do with the planet Mars and a wonderful star cluster. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for Sunday November 1st, 2 a.m. Daylight Saving Time which equals 1 a.m. Standard Time facing southeast. And if you look about 1/3 of the way up the sky you'll see the brightest star in the heavens Sirius which marks the eye of Canis Major Orion's bigger dog. And if you look just to its left you'll see the less bright star Procyon which marks the eye of Canis Minor, Orion's smaller dog. Then if you look just off to its left you'll see a rouge gold light about the same brightness as Procyon, our old friend, the planet named for the god of war, 4,000 mile wide Mars. And just coincidentally on the morning we all set our clocks back Mars steps into a cosmic object called Praesepe which is Latin for The Manger but which is more popularly known as The Beehive.

Now if you have clear dark skies and are far from city lights, to the naked eye Praesepe will look like a little cloud or a cloudy star, which is what the Greek astronomer Hipparchus called it in his star catalog around 130 b.c. His predecessor Aratos around 260 b.c. Called it "the little mist". And to the naked eye this is exactly what Praesepe looks like, a misty little cloud. So with the naked eye, you'll see bright Mars embedded in a tiny faint cloud. But there's more to this than meets the naked eye, because through a pair of binoculars you'll see that this misty little cloud is actually a cluster of stars which looks like a swarm of celestial bees. You'll see about 40 through binoculars but through a telescope you can count at least 200. And there are at least 5 red giant stars in this cluster similar to Orion's Betelgeuse and Scorpius' Antares.

And if you want to see how fast objects in the sky move here is your opportunity because Mars is inside the Manger and Beehive for one night only. 24 hours earlier on Halloween October 31st it is just above the cluster and on November 2nd has passed through it and is just below it. So November 1st when you set your clocks back is the only time to see Mars buzzing with the bees. But may I remind you once again that what you are seeing is an illusion. In fact the only reason Mars appears to be inside The Beehive is because Mars and The Beehive are coincidentally in the same line of sight on November 1st. In fact on November 1st Mars will be only 110 million miles away while the stars of The Beehive will be 600 light years away which means that Mars is so close that it will take less than 10 minutes for its light to reach us while it takes 600 years for light from The Beehive to reach us. Wow! So set those clocks back and then watch Mars visit The Beehive and The Manger. 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 with iTunes,
for downloading with Quicktime
and we're now on YouTube

Check Out WPBT's Version

 
 
 
 

Star Gazer Minute

#09-42 M

10/19/2009 thru 10/25/2009

"Mars And The Manger Plus The God Of War
Steps Into A Cosmic Beehive Just As You
Set Your Clocks Back To Standard Time"

Horkheimer: Just after you set your clocks back at 2 a.m. Sunday morning November 1st step outside and you'll see Mars step inside a cosmic beehive. At 2 a.m. Daylight Saving Time or 1 a.m. Standard Time look south east and just to the left of the brightest star Sirius and the less bright Procyon you'll see Mars. And if you're far from city lights it will look like there is a small cloud behind him. Through a pair of binoculars however you'll see 40 stars surrounding him which is a star cluster named The Beehive. Through a telescope there are at least 200 stars here, 5 of which are red giants and Mars is in front of this cluster for one night only. The night before he's above it, the night after, he's below it. So after you set your clocks back catch Mars in The Beehive. 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 904
Friday September 18, 2009, 1130-1200/SD06
Includes episodes 0940, 0941, 0942, 0943


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
Lorain County JVS NASA CORE / 15181 Route 58 South / 440/775-1400 / FAX 440/775-1460 /
http://www.nasa.gov/education/core
nasa_order@lcjvs.net


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



"Star Gazer" is available with iTunes,
for downloading with Quicktime
and we're now on YouTube

 

 
 

STAR GAZER

Episode # 09-43 / 1664th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 10/26/2009 through Sunday 11/01/2009

"Our Annual Seven Sinister Sisters
Halloween Show"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. Because Halloween greeting cards often depict a witch riding a broom in front of a full Moon many people have the mistaken notion that there is a full Moon every year on Halloween when in fact we won't have a full Moon on Halloween again until 2020. So every year I like to point out something that is even spookier than a witch and a full Moon because every Halloween you can see seven sinister sisters flying across the sky at midnight. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for the witching hour of midnight, any Halloween facing south. And if you look up almost overhead you will see the tiny cluster of stars called The Pleiades, but which are more popularly known as the Seven Sisters. And to various cultures long ago, when ever the seven sisters reached their highest point at midnight, which happens every year at the end of October and beginning of November, this was seen as a sort of cosmic signal telling people that this was the time of year to honor their dead ancestors. Now astronomically speaking, whenever any object reaches its highest point in the heavens we say that it has culminated. And whenever The Pleiades culminated at midnight many ancient cultures held great ceremonies in honor of the dead, which is basically where our Halloween comes from.

There was also a popular belief that great natural catastrophes had occurred on some of the nights when The Pleiades culminated at midnight. In fact some legends claim that the Great flood and the Ten plagues of Egypt, even the legendary sinking of Atlantis, occurred when The Pleiades culminated at midnight. Indeed, this belief was so widespread that the ancient Aztec and Maya conducted spectacular ceremonies when The Pleiades culminated at midnight because they believed that the world had already been destroyed and recreated not once but four times when the Seven Sisters were overhead at midnight. Even the pyramid of the sun at Teotihuacan, Mexico was oriented to the setting of The Pleiades as were all of the city's west facing streets. And coincidentally many ancient Greek temples were also lined up with the setting or the rising of the Seven Sisters.

Now although The Pleiades no longer reach their highest point, that is culminate, exactly at midnight on the same nights as they did in ancient times, nevertheless, they are still almost at their highest every Halloween at midnight as a modern reminder that our ancestors were deeply moved and affected by the cosmos and used many cosmic coincidences to determine important religious and ceremonial events in their lives. In fact some people still believe that the next time the world ends it will also happen on a Pleiades overhead at midnight night. But I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you.

So get thee outside this Halloween or any Halloween at midnight and look almost overhead for the beautiful Seven Sisters, or as i like to call them on Halloween night the Seven Sinister Sisters. And as you look at them remind yourself that these same stars have been seen by hundreds of generations who used them to determine their own special days of the year to honor their dead. And I hope you'll start a tradition of your own and look for these celestial siblings at midnight every Halloween which I think is even more wonderful than a full Halloween Moon. 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 with iTunes,
for downloading with Quicktime
and we're now on YouTube

Check Out WPBT's Version

 
 
 
 

Star Gazer Minute

#09-43 M

10/26/2009 thru 11/01/2009

"Our Annual Seven Sinister Sisters
Halloween Show"

Horkheimer: most people have the mistaken notion that there is a full moon for a witch to ride across every Halloween when in fact we won't have a full moon on Halloween until 2020. But you can see something even more wonderful at midnight every Halloween. Simply look up any Halloween at midnight and you'll see the star cluster called the Seven Sisters flying across the sky. Many ancient cultures believed that when the Seven Sisters were at their highest point in the heavens at midnight strange things happened, like the Great Biblical Flood, the Plague of Locusts, even the Sinking of Atlantis. The Aztec and Maya believed that the world had been destroyed and recreated four times when the Pleiades were overhead at midnight. So should we rename them the Seven Sinister Sisters? Make a date with them at midnight on Halloween. 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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