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 1004
Wednesday Sept. 15, 1230-1300/SD06
Includes episodes 1040, 1041, 1042, 1043

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 with iTunes,
for downloading with Quicktime
and we're now on YouTube

 

 
 

STAR GAZER 5 MINUTE

Episode # 10-40 / 1713th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 10/4/2010 through
Sunday 10/10/2010

"Stars For Indian Summer"


Chris: Hey there star gazers. I'm Chris Trigg. This is that time of year when across the middle and northern latitudes of the U.S., a strange and wonderful phenomenon occurs. You see even though the days and nights have been getting chillier and in some places the first frost may have occurred, nevertheless, out of nowhere a few unseasonably warm golden days occur, days called Indian Summer. I have always looked forward to this last echo of summer, which seems to be a miniature season out of time and place. Indian Summer always seemed like summer's last hurrah, its last attempt to remind everyone of its wonder by sneaking into the cold days of autumn and bidding a final farewell. And just as summer seems to have a difficult time leaving, so too do some of the stars which dominated summer nights. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for any night in early October an hour after Sunset your local time. And if you look almost overhead you will see 3 brilliant stars which if we draw lines between them would create a triangle, a triangle traditionally called the Summer Triangle and which strangely, is still very high in the heavens after Sunset throughout October. Now the Summer Triangle is an asterism, a group of stars that you can use to form a mental image in the sky. And you might be asking, "Isn't an asterism the same as a constellation?" Well not really. There are 88 official constellations used by astronomers and many of the star patterns in them are very faint and hard to make out. Constellations are really just divisions of the sky that astronomers made up. They are not all the same shape and are not even the same size. Asterisms are often easier to find and identify.

The Summer Triangle's brightest star is named Vega, and belongs to the tiny constellation Lyra the Harp. The next brightest star is Altair in the constellation Aquila the eagle and the third brightest, Deneb, which marks the tail of Cygnus the swan. The name Vega comes from an Arabic phrase describing it as a vulture so all three of the stars in the Summer Triangle can have a bird connection. These three stars are very different from our star the Sun. Vega is twice as massive and better than three times the width of our Sun and is producing almost 60 times the energy of our Sun. Much younger and hotter, Vega will burn out sooner than our Sun because it is consuming itself much faster. The light we see from Vega left Vega about 25 years ago which is why astronomers say Vega is 25 light years away. Altair is even closer, about 17 light years away. And like Vega, Altair is much hotter than our Sun. Although not quite as big as Vega, Altair is putting out 11 times as much energy as our Sun. The name Altair comes from an Arabic phrase meaning the swooping eagle. In fact many of the star names we use today come from Arabic origins. Now let's turn to the dimmest of the three, Deneb. And Deneb is a good case of "What you see is not what you get." Deneb is a huge star over 100 times the width of our Sun. If we could place Deneb where our Sun is it would extend half way out to the Earth. Deneb is so far away that its light has been traveling for about 1500 years to get here for you to see tonight. Deneb is putting out energy at over 50 thousand times what the Sun is. The word Deneb is, again from the Arabic, a word meaning tail and is used as part of many star names, for example Denebola, the tail of Leo the lion.

Another special thing about the Summer Triangle that unfortunately, most of the people in North America can not take advantage of, is that it straddles the Milky Way. The Milky Way is, under dark skies, what we see of our real home in space, the galaxy to which our Sun belongs. Most of us live in brightly lit urban areas that have so much wasted light thrown up into the night sky that many of us have never seen the real night sky. So some night this month, perhaps on one of the evenings of Indian Summer, go out just after sunset, look almost overhead and focus on the Summer Triangle; Vega, Deneb and Altair. What a wonderful adventure awaits you these autumn nights if you simply remember to keep looking up!

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Star Gazer Minute

#10-40 M

9/6/2010 thru 9/12/2010

"Stars For Indian Summer"


Chris: Every autumn out of nowhere come a few warm days which we call Indian Summer. And to complement them the three stars known as the Summer Triangle can still be seen in early evening. They are called Vega, Altair and Deneb. And these three stars are very different from our star the Sun. Our Sun is the closest star only 8 1/3 light minutes away which means it takes its light 8 1/3 minutes to reach us, so we see it not as it actually exists now but as it existed 8 1/3 minutes ago. Altair is the closest triangle star and is 17 light years away, which means that it takes its light 17 years to reach us. So we see it not as it exists now but as it existed 17 years ago. Wow! Vega is slightly farther, 25 light years away, which means that it takes its light 25 years to reach us so we see it as it existed 25 years ago. Wow again! Deneb however is so incredibly far away, 1500 light years, that it takes its light 1500 years to reach us so we see it as it existed 1500 years ago! Enjoy Indian Summer 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:

GE 3 - PBS Transponder 512 - Digital Only!

Half Hour Feed STAH 1004
Wednesday Sept. 15, 1230-1300/SD06
Includes episodes 1040, 1041, 1042, 1043


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 with iTunes,
for downloading with Quicktime
and we're now on YouTube

 

 
 

STAR GAZER

Episode #10-41 /1714th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 10/11/2010 through Sunday 10/17/2010

"The Hunter's Moon For 2010 And Use The Moon To Hunt For Jupiter"


Chris: Hey there star gazers. I'm Chris Trigg. This month the Moon will be doing double duty as it first helps you to make sure you know which bright light in the night sky is Jupiter around October 19th. And then it will serve as this year's hunter's Moon on Friday the 22nd let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for October 18, 8:30 p.m. facing southeast. Now sometimes when star gazers see the Moon it's not always a welcome sight, as the Moon can ruin an evening's star gazing. But this month the Moon will help you find Jupiter. Monday Oct. 18th, the 11 day old, waxing gibbous Moon will be about 15 degrees to the right of Jupiter. Or think of it this way. Find that big, bright Moon in the east, then look down and to the left of the Moon and that bright white light is the king of the planets, Jupiter. The next night Oct. 19th the Moon will be a bit bigger and brighter and even closer to Jupiter, only 6 degrees above it.

The Moon will be about 250 thousand miles away and its light will take only 1 1/3 seconds to get here. Jupiter will be 1500 times farther away then the Moon, 380 million miles and Jupiter's light will take almost 34 minutes to reach us. The next night Oct. 20th the Moon will have passed on beyond Jupiter but will still be close enough that it can still be used as a sign post for you Jupiter gazers. This October is an especially good time to take a look at Jupiter because it is just past opposition, which means Jupiter is still very close to Earth which makes it even brighter and bigger than usual.

Another reason to take a look at Jupiter this October is that Jupiter's Great Red Spot is easier to see in a small telescope or even with binoculars because Jupiter has, temporarily at least, lost one of the dark equatorial bands that circle it. The south equatorial band has faded since last year at this time and with this band out of the way the Great Red Spot is easier to see. This fading of the equatorial belt has happened before but Jupiteronomers do not fully understand why it happens. And an even better reason to keep watching Jupiter is that this south equatorial band will likely reappear quickly with little or no warning. Again no one can tell you quite why. Maybe you'll be the astronomer who will figure it out.

Now let's switch gears and talk about the Moon. Go out after sunset Friday October 22nd and the bright full Moon you'll see rising is traditionally called the Hunter's Moon. And it is the next full Moon after the Harvest Moon. Its name refers to the time after the harvest has been finished when the fields have been cleared which makes it easier for hunter's to see and catch animals and birds to add to the harvest feast. Now full Moons happen on average every 29 1/2 days. So they don't match the month exactly, in fact some years have 13 full Moons.

The Moon has been credited with all kinds of influence on human affairs but none of it stands up to scientific scrutiny. Because the Moon has such a strong influence on the tides in the ocean it is often wrongly assumed that the Moon has a strong influence on us as well. The reality is far different. A mother holding her child will exert 12 million times as much tidal force on her child as the Moon but the Moon still gets blamed anyway. So use the Moon to verify which light in the sky is the planet Jupiter on Oct. 18, 19 and 20. Then go out Friday night and enjoy the hunter's Moon on Oct. 22nd. Keep looking up!

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Please give us your comments. (Click Here)

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

Check Out WPBT's Version

 
 
 
 

Star Gazer Minute

#10-41 M

10/11/2010 thru 10/17/2010

"The Hunter's Moon For 2010 And Use The Moon To Hunt For Jupiter"


Chris: The Moon does double duty this month as it first helps you find the planet Jupiter and then serves as this year's Hunter's Moon. Get out on Oct. 18th around 8:30 p.m. and look southeast. The 11 day old waxing Moon will be the brightest thing you'll see but down to its left is the bright planet Jupiter. The next night the 19th the Moon will have moved closer to Jupiter and will be right above it. The next night the Moon will be to the left of Jupiter but is still close enough to help you be sure you have the right planet. Then on Friday night Oct. 22nd get out after sunset, look east and the big bright full Moon you'll see rising is this year's Hunter's moon. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday use the Moon to find Jupiter, then on Friday night enjoy this year's Hunter's full Moon. 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 1004
Wednesday Sept. 15, 1230-1300/SD06
Includes episodes 1040, 1041, 1042, 1043


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 with iTunes,
for downloading with Quicktime
and we're now on YouTube

 

 
 

STAR GAZER

Episode # 10-42 / 1715th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 10/18/2010 through Sunday 10/24/2010

"Our Annual Seven Sinister Sisters Halloween Show"


Chris: Hey there star gazers. I'm Chris Trigg. 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. In fact this year the Moon won't rise until almost three in the morning and it will be a waning crescent Moon. So this year let's take a look at 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 they 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. Halloween actually means All Hallow's Eve. 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 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 stars are much younger than our Sun, maybe only 2% of the Sun's age. And they are fairly close compared to other stars. The light you see tonight left them while Galileo was still alive, not long after he used his new invention, the telescope, to see them better. The Pleiades are what astronomers call an open cluster of stars. There are really hundreds of stars here in the sky but on a good clear dark night you'll do well to see six stars here. Try it yourself and see how many you can see with just your naked eye.

Pictures of the Pleiades show a blue cloud around them. We now know that the Pleiades are really passing through this cloud. The Pleiades 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!



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Please give us your comments. (Click Here)

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

Check Out WPBT's Version

 
 
 
 

Star Gazer Minute

#10-42 M

10/18/2010 thru 10/24/2010

"Our Annual Seven Sinister Sisters Halloween Show"


Chris: 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




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 1004
Wednesday Sept. 15, 1230-1300/SD06
Includes episodes 1040, 1041, 1042, 1043


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 with iTunes,
for downloading with Quicktime
and we're now on YouTube

 

 
 

STAR GAZER

Episode # 10-43 / 1716th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 10/25/2010 through Sunday 10/31/2010

"The Morning Star Returns And The Moon Shows You Saturn"

Chris: Hey there star gazers. I'm Chris Trigg. An old crescent Moon and the prettiest planet Saturn will put on quite a show in the predawn skies next week plus the morning star will reappear. Let me show you.

O.K., we're facing east Wednesday Nov. 3rd before dawn. And if you can drag your lazy bones out of bed you'll be able to see a beautiful, very thin crescent Moon low in the eastern sky. Down to its left you'll find the ringed planet Saturn which not that long ago was in the western sky at Sunset. The next day, Thursday the 4th, the Moon will be even thinner and down to the right of Saturn. The light from the Moon will take a little over one second to get here but the light from Saturn will take almost an hour and a half!

Saturn is an amazing object in even a small telescope. Many professional astronomers will tell you they can still remember the first time they saw the rings of Saturn when they were kids. Saturn is the second largest planet in our Sun's family measuring about 75,000 miles across its middle. It's one of four planets that astronomers call gas giants. Saturn is not a solid rocky planet like our Earth but has a rocky core surrounded by tens of thousands of miles of gas. In fact Saturn's density is so low that if you could find a big enough tub of water Saturn would float in it. Its rings are about as wide as two Jupiter's.

The rings are mostly water ice and reflect a lot of light from the Sun. Recent space probes have sent back so many images of Saturn and the rings that it is sometimes hard to remember that it wasn't that long ago that we knew very little about them. When Galileo first saw Saturn through his small telescope he thought Saturn might be a triple planet. We now know Saturn is mostly hydrogen and like Jupiter it radiates more energy into space than it gets from the Sun. Saturn is a favorite target of amateur astronomers with telescopes large and small. The view of Saturn will actually get better over the next few years as its rings will appear to get wider through 2017.

There will probably be a flood of UFO reports starting next week as the morning star makes its appearance in the pre-dawn sky. Now you may remember that we had an evening star that was seen in the evening sky all summer long. Now we have a morning star and could it be that the evening star and the morning star are the same object. Well yes such is the case. Indeed the name we now give to the morning star and the evening star is the name the Romans gave it, Venus. And although our ancestors thought Venus was a star we now know that it is an 8,000 mile wide Earth-sized planet.

All summer long Venus was to the east of the Sun as seen from Earth and was visible as the evening star in the west after sunset. It sank lower each night throughout September and finally disappeared below the horizon. Then on October 27th it passed directly between our Earth and Sun and then it rapidly moved to the west of the Sun and is now visible as the morning star rising in the east before sunrise. Venus is the brightest planet because Venus reflects the most light of any planet in our solar system. Why? Well Venus is completely enshrouded by a brilliant cloud cover, which acts like a giant 8,000 mile wide mirror that reflects much more sunlight back to Earth than say Mercury or Mars. But there's something else fascinating about Venus.

You see, when you look at Venus through a telescope it will look like a skinny crescent Moon. Why is this? Well, just like our Earth and Moon, one side of Venus is always lit by the Sun and one side is dark. We are now looking mostly at Venus' night side while its day side is facing away from us. As Venus moves in its orbit it will rapidly change from a crescent and will also get smaller as it moves away from us in its orbit. So, see the crescent Moon and Saturn in the morning sky on Nov. 3rd and 4th and watch Venus reappear and dominate the morning sky through out November. Keep looking up!

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Please give us your comments. (Click Here)

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

Check Out WPBT's Version

 
 
 
 

Star Gazer Minute

#10-43 M

10/25/2010 thru 10/31/2010

"The Morning Star Returns And
The Moon Shows You Saturn"


Chris: The crescent Moon will point the way to Saturn and the morning star will reappear next week, maybe. Wednesday Nov. 3rd face east before dawn and look for a lovely crescent Moon low in the sky. Down to its left you'll spot the ringed planet Saturn. The light you see from the Moon will take 1.2 seconds to get here but Saturn's light will take almost an hour and a half. Saturn is a real treat in a small telescope. Sometime next week or the week after you'll notice a very bright light low in the eastern sky before dawn, the morning star is making its return. It will be in the morning sky all winter long and is better known as Venus. Nov. 3rd and 4th the crescent Moon and Saturn plus Venus returns to the morning sky. 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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