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!

8/20/2001 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 # 01-36 / 1239th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 9/3/2001 through Sunday 9/9/2001

"September's Morning and Evening
Planet Show
And A Rare Occultation Of Saturn!"

 

Horkheimer : Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers and this September we have a wonderful planet in evening skies and 3 equally wonderful planets in morning skies which will each be paid an extremely close visit by the moon. Plus, the planet Saturn will experience what is known as an occultation.

O.K., We've got our skies set up for Saturday, September 1st, 9 P.M., facing due south where you will see Mars still brighter than any star in the evening sky although much farther away from us and much dimmer than it was at its closest visit in 13 years on the first night of summer when it was only 42 million miles away. Since then Mars has really been zipping away from us. Indeed, on September 1st it was 65 million miles away and it will continue to speed away and move eastward across the sky as the month progresses.

And you'll be able to watch Mars as it moves across the teapot shaped portion of Sagittarius where on September 30th it will have an extremely close meeting with the brightest star of the teapot's handle, the star called Nunki. O.K., on Saturday the 8th Mars is just above the end star in the teapot's spout. On Saturday the 15th it is nearing the top star in the teapot's lid; on Saturday the 22nd it is just past it and ta da! On Sunday September 30th Mars and Nunki will make an exquisite duo.And believe it or not every single day this month Mars will move half a million miles farther away. That's 15 million miles in just 30 days. Whereas Mars was 65 million miles away on September 1st, it will be 80 million miles away on September 30th.

Now for you early birds, go out this Sunday an hour before sunrise, face due east and you'll see an exquisite crescent moon zeroing in on the wonderful ringed planet Saturn which is now at its best for viewing since the 70's and which this month looks more three-dimensional through a small telescope than at practically any other time because of the position of its rings. And ta da! The next morning, September 10th, the moon will be so close to Saturn it will knock your socks off. Plus, just before sunrise those of you in the western part of the U.S. and Canada will actually see an occultation of Saturn which means that the moon will pass right over it and block it from view. If you have a pair of binoculars don't miss this!

On Tuesday the moon will be half way between Saturn and Jupiter and ta da! On Wednesday the 12th the moon and Jupiter will be huddled side by side in an absolutely beautiful pairing! Don't miss this either. The 13th the moon is well on its way toward Venus and Friday it's even closer. And one might ask, if we've had 2 extremely close moon/planet pairings, could we possibly have a third in the same month? Ta da! Yes! Because on Saturday September 15th an exquisite slender sliver of a moon will hover just to the left of Venus making an outrageously beautiful sight. Once again : the moon and Saturn on the 10th, the moon and Jupiter on the 12th and the moon and Venus on the 15th. Wow! I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!


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


Star Gazer Minute

#01-36 M

9/03/2001 thru 9/09/2001

"Four Planets For September"


Horkheimer : This September we have 4 planets for your perusal.
Mars is still brighter than any star in the evening sky and will move across the teapot of Sagittarius all month long. And on the 30th it will make an exquisite duo with Nunki the brightest star in the handle.

Look east before sunrise Monday September 10th and the moon will be so close to Saturn it will knock your socks off and on Wednesday the 12th it will be huddled right up next to Jupiter. Plus on Saturday the 15th an exquisite slender sliver of a moon will hover just to the left of Venus. 3 great moon/planet pairings on the 10th, 12th and 15th. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!


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

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

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


Don't miss the cartoon version of

'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of


* This week's Sky At A Glance and Planet Roundup from Sky & Telescope.
This week's Sky At A Glance displays current week only.

Starry Night Deluxe was used to produce this episode of Star Gazer







STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION



STAR GAZER is seen nationally on most PBS stations. There is a five minute and a one minute version available each week. If it is not currently on your PBS station we suggest you contact your local PBS programming director and let them know it is available free to all PBS stations. You may take STAR GAZER off satellite for personal use, classroom use, astronomy club use, etc. without written permission.

Satellite feed info:

GE 3 - PBS Transponder 512 - Digital Only!

8/20/2001 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 #01-37 /1240th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 9/10/2001 through Sunday 9/16/2001

"How To Find The 'False Dawn'
Of Omar Khayyam... Next Week"

Horkheimer : Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers and now many of you remember that famous line " a jug of wine, a loaf of bread and thou beside me singing in the wilderness..." Well, that romantic piece of verse has been around for almost a thousand years and was written by the Persian poet, Omar Khayyam in his famous book of poetry, The Rubaiyat. But did you know that in addition to being a poet Omar Khayyam was an astronomer? In fact, in The Rubaiyat Omar makes a poetic allusion to a 'false dawn' which we now know to be a scientific reality. And not only can we show you when and where to find it, but we can also tell you something about it that Omar could never know. We can tell you what the 'false dawn' actually is. Let me show you:

O.K., If we could go way out in space and look back down on our solar system with super-human vision, we would notice a faint almost imperceptible vast cloud extending outward from the sun in the plane of the orbits of Mercury, Venus, Earth and slightly beyond. An enormous cloud of cosmic dust. And while one would expect it would be impossible to see it from earth, nevertheless in September when the plane of our earth's orbit is almost vertical to the horizon, we can see this vast cloud, which we now know is the 'false dawn' Omar Khayyam wrote about.

Now the best time to see this 'false dawn' is in September but you must be far away from city lights and when there is no moonlight to hide this glow, like next week. If you can see The Milky Way you will also have a good chance of seeing this rare phenomenon. Look for it in the east 2 hours before the real dawn. It will look like a wedge or cone-shaped dim patch of light about the same brightness as The Milky Way and it will extend from the horizon almost half way up to the zenith about 40 degrees ... A faintly glowing rounded pyramid of light. Now the scientific name of this phenomenon is the zodiacal light and it's caused by sunlight scattered from all those trillions and trillions of dust particles.

Plus we now know that although Omar didn't write about it, his 'false dawn' has an evening counterpart ... a 'false dusk', which looks pretty much the same except that it is visible 2 hours after sunset in the west in March when the plane of our earth's orbit is also almost vertical to the horizon. Plus, if you ever see a similar oval-shaped glow directly over head at midnight you could just be seeing the zodiacal light's sister phenomenon called the gegenschein or counterglow. And I personally wonder whether any poet ever wrote about that. At any rate, remember that September is the month to see the 'false dawn' of Omar Khayyam, the zodiacal light, which I admit is very elusive. But once you've found it I think you'll know why it appeared in poetry centuries before it appeared in scientific writings. So get thee outside before dawn for the 'false dawn'. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!


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

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



Star Gazer Minute

#01-37 M

9/10/2001 thru 9/16/2001

"The 'False Dawn' Of Omar Khayyam"

Horkheimer : Almost a thousand years ago the Persian poet Omar Khayyam wrote about a 'false dawn' and you can see it every September if you're far from city lights and there is no moon out. Look east about 2 hours before sunrise for a very dim patch of light about the brightness of the Milky Way which extends from the horizon almost half way up to the zenith. Although Omar couldn't know about it, his 'false dawn' is actually a humongous cloud of cosmic dust extending from the sun, past Mercury and Venus and slightly beyond Earth. And it's amazing we can actually see it! Today we call it the zodiacal light. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

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


For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

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

 


Don't miss the cartoon version of

'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of




 
* This week's Sky At A Glance and Planet Roundup from Sky & Telescope.

This week's Sky At A Glance displays current week only.


Starry Night Deluxe was used to produce this episode of Star Gazer






STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION


STAR GAZER is seen nationally on most PBS stations. There is a five minute and a one minute version available each week. If it is not currently on your PBS station we suggest you contact your local PBS programming director and let them know it is available free to all PBS stations. You may take STAR GAZER off satellite for personal use, classroom use, astronomy club use, etc. without written permission.

Satellite feed info:

GE 3 - PBS Transponder 512 - Digital Only!

8/20/2001 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 # 01-38 / 1241st Show

To Be Aired : Monday 9/17/2001 through Sunday 9/23/2001

"Why Is The Summer Triangle Overhead
On The First Night Of Fall? "

Horkheimer : Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers and yes indeed, the first day of autumn is upon us... The day astronomers call the autumnal equinox which is that second day of the year, the vernal equinox , the first day of spring being the first, when the hours of darkness are roughly equal to the hours of daylight in most areas of the world ... And also the second day of the year the sun appears to rise due east and set due west so that if you drive to work on a due east highway the sun will appear to rise directly over the center line of the road and vice versa if you drive home on a due west highway at sunset, the sun will appear to set directly over the yellow line.

And personally I love this time of year with its muted colors and gentle days of which the poet Edward Robinson wrote, "Where long the shadows of the wind had rolled, green wheat was yielding to the change assigned. And as by some vast magic undivined, the world was turning slowly into gold." But as gentle as autumn days are, when autumn officially arrives on Saturday the 22nd at 7:04 P.M., if you go outside just after dark and look overhead you will see that early autumn nights do not echo the softness of the season, but instead blaze with the bright hot stars of summer. Why?

O.K., We've got our skies set up for just after dark September 22nd, the first evening of fall and if you look almost overhead you will see 3 very bright stars, Vega, Deneb and Altair. And if we draw lines between these 3 stars they form a huge equilateral triangle known to almost everyone as the great Summer Triangle. So what gives? Why is the Summer Tiangle overhead on the first evening of fall? When the stars of the season are usually those stars which are most prominently seen in early evening.

Well, early autumn is the exception to the rule partially because of daylight saving time. So I personally refer to the Summer Triangle as the Summer and Early Autumn Triangle because it isn't until about a month later in late October that the Summer Triangle is well west of overhead in early evening. Even so, there is one good thing to be said about the Summer Triangle being so blatantly overhead on the first night of autumn because it does serve as a brilliant cosmic reminder of the contrasts of the seasons because if you look east of the triangle you will see that the traditional stars of autumn which have just risen are much, much dimmer ... The gentle stars of Pegasus and Cassiopeia and Perseus leading the way for the late night arrival of my favorites of all autumn stars, the Seven Sisters.

So get thee out in early evening the first night of autumn or any evening the next few weeks and experience the crispness of autumn air on earth and the lovely mixture of bold summer stars and gentle autumn stars in the heavens and feel the magic of the changing of the seasons. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

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

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


Star Gazer Minute

#01-38 M

9/17/2001 thru 9/23/2001

"Why Is The Summer Triangle Overhead
On The First Night Of Fall?"

 

Horkheimer : The stars of the season are usually those that are prominent in early evening in a given season. But autumn is the exception. Look overhead after dark the first evening of fall and you'll see the 3 bright stars of the Summer Triangle. Which i think should be renamed the Summer and Early Autumn Triangle. To find autumn's stars in early evening you'll have to look east for Pegasus, Cassiopeia and Perseus, and not until later will you see autumn's favorite stars the Seven Sisters. What a strange but poetic mixture of bright summer stars and dim autumn stars announcing the change of the season. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

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

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

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

 


Don't miss the cartoon version of
'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of




 
* This week's Sky At A Glance and Planet Roundup from Sky & Telescope.

This week's Sky At A Glance displays current week only.


Starry Night Deluxe was used to produce this episode of Star Gazer





STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION




STAR GAZER is seen nationally on most PBS stations. There is a five minute and a one minute version available each week. If it is not currently on your PBS station we suggest you contact your local PBS programming director and let them know it is available free to all PBS stations. You may take STAR GAZER off satellite for personal use, classroom use, astronomy club use, etc. without written permission.

Satellite feed info:

GE 3 - PBS Transponder 512 - Digital Only!

8/20/2001 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 #01-39 /1242nd Show
To Be Aired : Monday 9/24/2001 through Sunday 9/30/2001

"A Magic Trick You Can Do
With A Dime And The Harvest Moon"

 

Horkheimer : Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers and mark next Tuesday, October 2nd as the night of the Harvest Moon. Now although most everyone has heard of the Harvest Moon, I know that a lot of people don't really know what that means, especially people who have lived in urban areas all their life.

Now according to the dictionary a harvest is simply the act of gathering in a crop, or the harvested crop itself. And for centuries at this time of year across the North American continent and Europe the autumn harvest took place and so traditionally the name Harvest Moon was given to the full moon closest to the first day of autumn, the autumnal equinox which was last Saturday the 22nd. And the Harvest Moon was very important in bringing in the harvest before the invention of electric lights because it meant that farmers could work after sunset and continue to gather in their crops by the bright light of the moon and not just for one night, but for several nights.

You see, for all practical purposes the Harvest Moon doesn't last for just one night, it lasts for 3 or 4 nights. And that's because it rises close to sunset 3 or 4 nights in a row. The astronomical reason for this is that the path of the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox makes a much smaller angle with the horizon than at any other time of the year. Now whenever any full moon is close to the horizon we always look at it through thicker and dustier layers of our earth's atmosphere which often makes the moon look orangeish as it rises. So next week we may see orangeish moonrises several nights in a row.

But contrary to popular opinion, although the Harvest Moon looks like it's much much bigger when it rises than when it's overhead, you can prove to yourself that this is only an optical illusion. How? Simply take one thin dime and hold it out at arm's length as next week's Harvest Moon climbs up over the horizon and you will see that it covers exactly the same amount of the moon as it does if you hold it out at arm's length in front of the moon when it's high up overhead. The reason it seems larger when it's close to the horizon is due to the optical illusion of seeing the moon close to familiar foreground objects, such as trees and buildings. If however there are no foreground objects or if the foreground objects are totally unfamiliar or strange to you, the moon will almost magically shrink.

You can prove it to yourself by simply bending over at the waist and looking at the Harvest Moon upside down between your legs as it rises and it will look smaller because then familiar trees and buildings will be seen in a way that makes them totally unfamiliar. Believe it or not the moon really does look smaller when you look at it upside down than when you look at it right side up. Try it yourself next week on the nights of the Harvest Moon. It's amazing and it's fun. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

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


Star Gazer Minute

#01-39M

9/24/2001 thru 9/30/2001

"A Dime And The Harvest Moon"

 

Horkheimer : Last Saturday was the first day of fall, the autumnal equinox. And since the full moon closest to the equinox is always called the Harvest Moon, next Tuesday's full moon is it for 2001. Now although it will look almost twice as big when it rises as when it's overhead, it's only an optical illusion. In fact if you take a dime and hold it at arm's length in front of the moon when it rises, and when it's overhead you'll see that the moon doesn't change size. The dime just covers it whether it's at the horizon or overhead. It just seems bigger when it's near the horizon because it's close to familiar foreground objects like trees and buildings. It's one of nature's grandest optical illusions. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

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

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

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

 


Don't miss the cartoon version of

'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of


* This week's Sky At A Glance and Planet Roundup from Sky & Telescope.
This week's Sky At A Glance displays current week only
Starry Night Deluxe was used to produce this episode of Star Gazer

 



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