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!

8/23/2000 9:30 - 10:00 am Eastern time (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 # 00-36 /1187th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 9/4/2000 through Sunday 9/10/2000

"The Nights Of The Harvest Moon

and Mars And Regulus Meet"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers and mark next Wednesday, September 13th as the official night of the Harvest Moon, but also mark next Tuesday the 12th and Thursday the 14th as the unofficial nights of the Harvest Moon.Let me explain: Now the definition of a harvest moon is simple. It is always the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox, the first day of autumn, which this year is Friday September 22nd. So this year's Harvest Moon is quite early. In fact, the Harvest Moon can occur as late as two weeks after the equinox in early October.

Now the reason we call this full moon the Harvest Moon is because years ago before the invention of electric lights farmers used the light of this bright full moon to harvest their crops all night long. And because the path of the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox makes a much smaller angle with the horizon than any other full moon of the year, the harvest moon doesn't just happen for just one night , it really lasts several nights because it rises close to sunset for several nights in a row. So farmers had at least 3 and sometimes 4 nights of full moon light all night long to harvest by. And personally I just love to watch the harvest moon rise each night because it always appears so big and colorful as it comes up over the horizon and makes me feel connected with our rural past. So happy Harvest Moon nights Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

And now for you early birds , if you go out about an hour before sunrise and look east you'll be able to watch the planet Mars close in on the bright star Regulus. Start watching Sunday morning September 10th when dim Mars will be only 4 degrees away from much brighter Regulus. And in case Mars looks dimmer than you remember, your memory's right because only a year ago Mars was actually brighter than Regulus. The reason it appears so much dimmer now is because it's so much farther away. In fact, on the 10th it will be 236 million miles away which is still a heck of a lot closer than Regulus which is 72 light years away which tells us that Regulus must be intrinsically much much bigger than Mars. Indeed, while Mars is a 4 thousand mile wide planet, Regulus is a 1 million 4 hundred thousand mile wide star which means that we could line up 328 Mars end to end across Regulus, or for a real mind blower, we could fit over 35 million Mars inside it.

So as you watch Mars approach Regulus keep in mind that their apparent closeness is only an optical illusion. They are actually separated by trillions and trillions of miles of space. Now on Tuesday the 12th Mars will be only 2 3/4 degrees away and on Tuesday the 14th only 2 degrees away. But ta da! on Saturday September 16th Mars and Regulus will be at their very closest and will be separated by only 3/4 of 1 degree. Don't miss this close close meeting which astronomers call a conjunction. So there you have it, 3 nights of a harvest moon and a tiny planet closes in a giant star. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

 


Star Gazer Minute

#00-36 M

9/4/2000 thru 9/10/2000

"The Nights Of

The Harvest Moon"

 

Horkheimer: Mark next Wednesday, September 13th as the official night of the Harvest Moon, but also mark next Tuesday and Thursday as the unofficial nights of the Harvest Moon. You see, the Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the first day of autumn and is so-called because before the invention of electric lights farmers used the the light of this bright full moon to harvest their crops all night long. And because the path of the full moon closest to the first day of autumn makes a smaller angle with the horizon than any other full moon it rises close to sunset for several nights in a row so farmers had 3 or 4 nights of full moonlight to harvest by. And you'll have 3 lovely nights of Harvest Moonlight next week to brighten up your skies. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

For GRAPHICS for this script (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. 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!

8/23/2000 9:30 - 10:00 am Eastern time (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 #00-37 /1188th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 9/11/2000 through Sunday 9/17/2000

"This Year's Autumnal Equinox and

The Unusual Effect It Will Have On Drivers"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers and yes indeed, next Friday the Autumnal Equinox will occur at 1:27 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time or your local equivalent, which simply means that at that moment in time Autumn officially begins for the Northern Hemisphere. But what does that word equinox mean anyway? Well as I explain every year, the word 'equinox' comes from the Latin 'equi' which means equal and 'nox' which means night which simply means that on the 2 days of the equinoxes the Spring Equinox and the Autumnal Equinox, the hours of night are equal to the hours of daylight because these are the 2 days when the sun on its yearly journey against the background of stars crosses an imaginary line we call the celestial equator. One crossing marks the first day of spring and the other marks the first day of autumn.

You see, if you watch the sun rise on the first day of spring you will see that it rises due east. However if you watch the sun rise each successive day you will notice that it will rise a little bit father north of east each day until it reaches its farthest point northeast on the first day of summer, the summer solstice, after which it will back up and retrace its path, rising a little bit less northeast each successive day until on the first day of autumn it will once again rise due east, after which it will rise a little bit farther south of due east until on the the first day of winter, the winter solstice, it will rise at its farthest point southeast after which, you guessed it, it will slowly retrace its its journey north. And this entire cycle repeats year after year after year.

Now almost all ancient cultures kept track of this rising and setting of the sun at different places on the horizon throughout the year and by doing so they noticed that the seasons coincided with where the sun rose. And they eventually figured out that one sun cycle equaled on year, one complete cycle of the 4 seasons. which was very important to our ancestors who needed something to keep track of the seasons so they could know when to plant and harvest. Of course keeping track of this constantly changing rising point of the sun is not as important to modern man because we keep track of time and the seasons with atomic clocks and calendars. Even so if you want to see one very obvious effect the equinox still has on people today, try this little experiment.

You see because the sun always rises due east and sets due west on the equinoxes this means that if you drive to work on a due east highway the sun will set directly over the yellow line in the middle of the road. So next Friday if you're driving to and from work at sunrise and sunset on a due east/west highway see this wonderful evidence of the equinox for yourself. It's fun! and it's science. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

 

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

 


Star Gazer Minute

#00-37 M

9/11/2000 thru 9/17/2000

"Driving To Work

On The First Day of Fall"

 

Horkheimer: Have you ever wondered why the first day of fall, which is next Friday the 22nd, is called the Autumnal Equinox? Well in Latin, 'equi' means equal and 'nox' means night, and on the first day of fall the length of night is equal to the length of day. But did you also know that on the first day of fall the sun will rise directly due east and set directly due west. You can prove it yourself because if you drive to work on a due east highway at sunrise, the sun will rise directly over the yellow line in the middle of the road and if you drive home on a due west highway the sun will set directly over the yellow line in the middle of the road. So put those visors down, have a happy Autumnal Equinox and Keep Looking Up!

 

For GRAPHICS for this script (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. 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!

8/23/2000 9:30 - 10:00 am Eastern time (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 # 00-38 / 1189th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 9/18/2000 through Sunday 9/24/2000

"Moon and Planet Games

For The Last Week of September"
 

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers and what a better way to say goodbye to September than to see some exquisite pairings of an old crescent moon with a star and a planet, and a young waxing crescent moon with a returning planet. Let me show you. O. K., we've got our skies set up for 1 week ago, Saturday morning September 16th, 1 hour before sunrise facing east. And if you were one of the lucky ones you were able to see the tiny 4 thousand mile wide planet Mars in an extremely close visual meeting with the 1.4 million mile wide star Regulus, a meeting known as a conjunction. In fact, they were separated by only 8 tenths of one degree.

Now the reason I'm showing you these two as they appeared a week ago is because I want you to see how quickly Mars moves against the background of stars. Because if you go out this Sunday, the 24th, 1 hour before sunrise Mars will have moved 5 degrees past Regulus and will be well below it. And as an added treat and almost on a straight line, an exquisite waning crescent moon complete with earthshine will hover above the two. But the real sky picture will be on Monday, September 25th when an even skinnier crescent moon, complete with earthshine, will form an exquisite triangle with Mars and Regulus. Don't miss this!

And if you have a really clear flat horizon, the next day, Tuesday the 26th, an even skinnier sliver of a moon will be below the two and and once again, almost on a straight line. Sunday the the 24th, Monday the 25th, Tuesday the 26th. And please keep in mind as you look at these 3 that our moon is a 2 thousand mile wide world only 1/4 of a million miles away while Mars is a 4 thousand mile wide world 230 million miles away. But Regulus ... well it's a mind-blowing 1.4 million miles wide and 72 light years beyond. In fact, we could line up over 300 Mars end to end across Regulus' middle or 650 moons. Wow!

Now for those of you who like to do your planet, moon and star gazing in the evening,simply go out Friday evening, September 29th at dusk while it's still a little light out and look west/southwest and if you have a clear unobstructed horizon you will see the brilliant 8 thousand mile wide planet Venus, only 130 million miles away on the 29th and beside it, an outrageously exquisite slender sliver of a waxing crescent moon complete with earthshine, a sight which can only be described as stunning. Saturday night will also be very good because then an only slightly fatter moon complete with earthshine will have moved up and to Mars' left. Friday the 29th and Saturday the 30th after sunset, and the 24th and 25th before sunrise. What a lovely way to say goodbye to the beautiful month of September. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

 


Star Gazer Minute

#00-38 M

9/18/2000 thru 9/24/2000

"The Moon and Planets

of The Last Week of September"

 

Horkheimer: Next week say goodbye to September with two exquisite pairings of a waning and a waxing moon with stars and planets. On Monday the 25th an hour before sunrise an exquisite 2 thousand mile wide waning old crescent moon, complete with earthshine will form a lovely triangle with the 4 thousand mile wide planet Mars and the 1.4 million mile wide star Regulus. Then Friday the 29th at dusk look west for the brilliant returning 8 thousand mile wide planet Venus and a waxing new crescent moon also complete with earthshine. What a beautiful way to bid farewell to September.I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

For GRAPHICS for this script (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. 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!

8/23/2000 9:30 - 10:00 am Eastern time (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 #00-39 /1190th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 9/25/2000 through Sunday 10/1/2000

"The Summer Triangle Gives Way

To the Autumn Square"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers and as I've often reminded you, when ever the seasons change on earth, so too do the stars change overhead, thus the phrase "The stars of the season". Now that phrase 'stars of the season' usually refers to the major stars and star groups that reach their highest position above the horizon in mid-evening, so because autumn began one week ago we should already see a change in the stars overhead. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for any night during the first week of October and if you go outside and look just west of overhead you will see the 3 bright stars which make up the points of the Summer Triangle, the brightest being Vega in the constellation Lyra the Harp, the second brightest Altair in Aquila the Eagle, the third brightest Deneb in Cygnus the Swan. Now as you may recall during the first week of summer, at the end of June, the Summer Triangle was just rising in the east at 10 p.m. and if you went out at 10 p.m. each successive week all summer long you would have noticed that the Summer triangle was a little bit higher in the sky each week and at the end of August was directly overhead at 10 p.m. Now if you looked northeast at 10 p.m. at the end of August you would have also noticed that the autumn constellation Cassiopeia, a group of 5 stars which when connected by lines looks like the letter "M" or "W" on its side was just rising. And if you looked due east you would have seen 4 dimmer stars which, if you draw lines between them, make up a great square or rectangle, which is called the Great Square of Pegasus, the Autumn Square.

Then if you went out each week in September at 10 p.m. you would have noticed that the Summer Triangle was slowly moving past overhead and beginning its descent toward the western horizon while the Autumn Square was ascending higher and higher in the east so that by the first week of October it is almost overhead. And I think it rather poetic that the 3 blazing stars that make up the Summer Triangle are replaced by the much dimmer and softer stars of the Autumn Square because autumn is after all the softest and gentlest season of the year. So some night this week go out and see for yourself that the heavens above have their own seasons just as our earth has below. Look first for summer's Triangle beginning its descent toward the western horizon, then look for autumn's Cassiopeia, just to the east of north, and above it almost overhead, the much dimmer and gentler and almost poetic Autumn Square which the ancient Babylonians said was the doorway to paradise. And if autumn is a visual paradise on earth, how appropriate that this lovely cosmic square heralds the season. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

 

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

 


Star Gazer Minute

#00-39 M

9/25/2000 thru 10/1/2000

"The Summer Triangle Gives Way

To the Autumn Square"

 

Horkheimer: You know, whenever the seasons change on earth so too do the stars overhead, thus the phrase "The stars of the season" which refers to the stars highest above the horizon in mid-evening. And since autumn has just begun we can already see that change. Go ouside at 10 p.m. any night the first week of October, look west of overhead and you will see the 3 brilliant stars of the Summer Triangle beginning their slow descent toward the horizon while replacing them almost overhead are the 4 much dimmer and softer stars which make up the Autumn Square. How appropriate because autumn is after all the softest and gentlest season of the year. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

For GRAPHICS for this script (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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