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!

Tuesday 8/20/02 - 0930-1030 Eastern Time 4 Shows

One Hour Feed - 5 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 # 02-36 / 1291st Show
To Be Aired : Monday 9/2/2002 through
Sunday 9/8/2002

"Last Chance To See Venus and The Moon
As An Evening Pair
And A Wonderful Star Named Spica"


Horkheimer: Greetings greetings, fellow star gazers. Mark next Monday, September 9th as the last time you'll see brilliant Venus and the Moon as an evening pair until November 2003. Plus if you do some Venus watching early this week you'll be able to see it slowly move away from Spica the brightest star of Virgo. O.K., we've got our skies set up for last Saturday, August 31st about 30 minutes after sunset looking west southwest. And if you had a clear flat horizon you would have seen super dazzling, brightest planet of them all, Venus less than one degree away from the brightest star of Virgo, Spica which visually speaking is very close.

In fact, one degree is less than the width of your little finger tip at arm's length. But as you regular viewers know, things are always moving in the heavens and only a day later on Sunday September 1st Venus and Spica were 1 1/2 degrees apart. And on Monday one could see they were really separating quickly as they were already 2 degrees apart. But by this Saturday over 6 degrees apart. Now 1/2 degree is one full moon wide. So one degree is the width of 2 full moons lined up side by side which means that when Venus and Spica were at their closest last Saturday, they were less than 2 full moons apart but by this Saturday a whopping twelve full moons apart. Which proves once again that if you pay attention to the night sky you'll notice great changes in just a few days time.

And it was such events as this that fascinated our ancestors thousands of years ago and eventually gave rise to the science of astronomy. Indeed it's only been in the past 4 to 5 hundred years that we know why objects in the night sky appear to move as they do. To over simplify it we now know it all has to do with our Earth's daily rotation on its axis, our earth's Orbit about the sun and the orbits of other planets such as Venus about the Sun. And although our ancestors thought that Venus was a far more significant object than much dimmer Spica, nothing could be farther from the truth.

You see the only reason Venus looks so extremely bright is because it is so close. In fact it is only an 8,000 mile wide planet. The reason Spica looks so much dimmer is because it is so much farther away. You see Spica is actually a double star, one 8 million miles wide and the other 4 million. Spica appears dim only because it is 29 million times farther away than Venus. In fact, if Spica were as close as Venus it would appear 2,000 times brighter than our Sun. Wow! At any rate, things really get good Sunday the 8th when a slender sliver of a crescent moon makes its appearance just to the right of Venus and Spica. But the best day to mark on your calendar is Monday the 9th. When Venus and the Moon make their last appearance as a pair in evening skies until November, 2003. And if you include Spica the three of them will make a lovely evening triangle. 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

#02-36M

9/02/2002 thru 9/08/2002

"Venus And The Moon And Spica"

Horkheimer: Mark Monday September 9th as the last time you'll see Venus and the Moon as an evening pair until November 2003. Look west southwest and a slender sliver of a Moon will make an exquisite triangle with Venus and the brightest star of Virgo, Spica. Venus is one of the brightest objects in the night sky even though it's only a very close 8,000 mile wide planet. Spica appears dimmer only because it's 29 million times farther away. You see it is actually a double star, one 8 million miles wide and the other 4 million. And if Spica were as close as Venus it would appear 2,000 times brighter than our Sun. Don't miss this super sky triangle!. 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!

Tuesday 8/20/02 - 0930-1030 Eastern Time 4 Shows

One Hour Feed - 5 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 #02-37 /1292nd Show
To Be Aired : Monday 9/09/2002 through Sunday 9/15/2002

"The Annual Return Of The False Dawn
Of Omar Khayyam And
How To Find It Next Week"

Horkheimer: Greetings greetings, fellow star gazers. Almost a thousand years ago the Persian poet Omar Khayyam in his book of poetry "The Rubaiyat" wrote his most famous line " a jug of wine, a loaf of bread and thou beside me singing in the wilderness". But did you know that besides being a poet Omar Khayyam was also an astronomer? In fact, elsewhere in "The Rubaiyat" Omar makes a poetic allusion to a "false dawn" which can only be seen at a certain time of year. And although no one a thousand years ago could even suspect what this "false dawn" really is, we now know it to be a scientific reality. And we can not only tell you what it is, we can also tell you exactly when and where to find it. Let me show you:

O.K., if we could go way out in space and look down on our solar system with superhuman 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 this super faint cloud from Earth, nevertheless in September when the plane of our Earth's orbit is almost vertical to the horizon, we can. And we now know it is the 'false dawn' Omar Khayyam wrote about.

Now although the best time to see this 'false dawn' is every September, to see it, you absolutely must be far away from city lights when there is no moonlight to hide its faint glow, like next week. If you can see the Milky Way from where you live, then you'll also have a good chance of seeing this rare phenomenon. Look for this 'false dawn' in the east 2 hours before sunrise, 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 about half way up to the zenith about 40 degrees ... an ethereal 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. And although Omar didn't mention it, this 'false dawn' also has an evening counterpart ... A 'false dusk', the evening zodiacal light, 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. Additionally, if you ever see a similar oval-shaped glow directly overhead at midnight you could 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 morning 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 next week before dawn and see if you can see what an ancient poet saw. 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

#02-37 M

9/09/2002 thru 9/15/2002

"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 away from city lights and there is no Moon out. Look east about 2 hours before sunrise for a very dim cone shaped patch of light about the brightness of the Milky Way extending from the horizon almost half way up to the zenith. Although Omar couldn't know it, his 'false dawn' is actually a humongous cloud of cosmic dust extending from the sun past Mercury and Venus and slightly beyond our Earth. Astronomers call it the 'zodiacal light' and you can see it next week when it will be at its best. 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

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here

"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!

Tuesday 8/20/02 - 0930-1030 Eastern Time 4 Shows

One Hour Feed - 5 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 # 02-38 / 1293rd Show

To Be Aired : Monday 9/16/2002 through Sunday 9/22/2002

"Weekend Of The Harvest Moon
And The Autumnal Equinox"

Horkheimer: Greetings greetings, fellow star gazers. Yes indeed, this weekend is the weekend of the fabled Harvest Moon because the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox is always called the Harvest Moon and this year the equinox occurs Sunday the 22nd and Monday morning the 23rd and the moon is officially full on Saturday the 21st.

Now the first moment of autumn which astronomers call the autumnal equinox for the northern hemisphere occurs whenever our Sun crosses the celestial equator. And that is actually a specific minute in time which changes from year to year. This year the moment of the autumnal equinox is Monday September 23rd at 12:55 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time which is actually Sunday night in other time zones.

At any rate, the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox is always called the Harvest Moon, which means that it usually occurs in September but occasionally in October. Now this year's Harvest Moon occurs extremely close to the equinox because the Moon is full on September 21st. Now the reason we call the full moon closest to the equinox the Harvest Moon is that traditionally the autumn harvest took place at this time and before the invention of electric lights farmers worked after sunset under the bright light of the harvest moon bringing in their crops. Not just for one night but for several nights.

You see for all practical purposes, the harvest moon lasts for three or four nights. That's because it rises close to sunset for three or four nights in a row. The astronomical reason for this is that the path of the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox always 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, this weekend we may see orangeish moonrises several nights in a row.

And contrary to popular opinion although the Harvest Moon looks like it's 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 the 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.

And you can prove it to yourself. Look up at the Harvest Moon as it rises, then turn around. And then if you bend over at the waist and look at the moon upside down between your legs, it will magically shrink 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 this weekend on the nights of the Harvest Moon. 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

#02-38 M

9/16/2002 thru 9/22/2002

"Weekend of The Harvest Moon"

Horkheimer: The full moon closest to the autumnal equinox is always called the Harvest Moon. So this Friday, Saturday and Sunday is the weekend of the Harvest Moon. Now although the Harvest Moon always looks twice as big when it rises as when it's overhead you can prove this is only an illusion. Just take a dime and hold it at arm's length in front of the Moon when it rises and when it's overhead and you'll see that the Moon doesn't change size. The dime just covers it whether it's at the horizon or overhead. It only 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 great 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





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!

Tuesday 8/20/02 - 0930-1030 Eastern Time 4 Shows

One Hour Feed - 5 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 #02-39 / 1294th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 9/23/2002 through Sunday 9/29/2002

"Venus At Greatest Brilliancy
And Two Wonderful Morning Planets"

Horkheimer: Greetings greetings, fellow star gazers. And have we ever got 3 bright planets for you. One for those of you who like to do early evening planet viewing and two for those who like to do your planet watching a bit later. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for the middle of this week, Thursday September 26th facing almost due west where the Sun will have just set because the sun always sets due west at the time of the autumnal equinox which was last Sunday. And if you have a clear almost flat horizon and look southwest you will see Venus almost ablaze because this week it is at its greatest brilliancy. In fact, it is 17 1/2 times brighter than the brightest star, Sirius. Indeed, the only objects in the sky brighter than Venus this week will be the Moon and the Ssun. But you're going to have to look right after sunset because it is so close to the horizon.

Venus is often called our twin sister planet because it's almost the same size as Earth, only 8,000 miles in diameter. And the reason it shines so brightly is two fold. It's extremely close to us right now and it has the highest albedo of all the planets which means that it is the most reflective, the reason being that Venus is completely enshrouded in a perpetual cloud cover. And this cloud cover acts like a great mirror and reflects sunlight very well.

Now whenever Venus appears in evening skies it is traditionally called the 'evening star' even though it's a planet. And conversely whenever it appears in morning skies before sunrise, it's called the 'morning star'. And it will leave our evening skies as the 'evening star' in about 3 weeks and won't reappear in morning skies as the 'morning star' until early November. So see it now.

If you go out around midnight Friday the 27th and look east you'll see a wonderful almost last quarter moon just above 75,000 mile wide Saturn. And as the hours go by Saturn will rise higher and higher in the heavens and the moon will slowly glide towards it so that by midnight Saturday the 28th, the Moon will be right beside Saturn and will glide with it across the sky for the rest of the night. And if you've got a telescope now would be the time to drag it out. Because this year Saturn is at its best since 1973 and its rings are tilted for optimum viewing.

Now if you get up with the chickens go out an hour or so before sunrise Sunday morning and Saturn will be almost overhead and below it you'll see the second brightest planet, 88,000 mile wide Jupiter. And you can watch the Moon get skinnier and move closer to Jupiter every day; on Monday the 30th it will be close to Castor and Pollux, the twin stars of Gemini and on Tuesday October 1st, it will be between them and Jupiter. Then ta da! on Wednesday morning the 2nd it will be parked right alongside old Jupe. Once again, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. And for a bonus, on Thursday it will be parked right next to Regulus, the brightest star of Leo the lion. Venus in early evening and Saturn and Jupiter in early morning. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!


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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

#02-39 M

9/23/2002 thru 9/29/2002

"Three Bright Planets"

Horkheimer: We've got three bright planets for you this week and next. On the 26th, 30 minutes after sunset, look south west and you'll see Venus at its greatest brilliancy, 17 1/2 times brighter than the brightest star Sirius and see it now because it will leave evening skies in only 3 weeks. At midnight the 28th the last quarter moon will be right beside 75,000 mile wide Saturn and by dawn it will be almost overhead. Below it you'll see 88,000 mile wide Jupiter. And the moon will move closer to Jupiter each day. On Monday it will be close to Gemini's Castor and Pollux and on Tuesday between them and Jupiter. And on Wednesday it will be parked right alongside it. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. 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!

Tuesday 8/20/02 - 0930-1030 Eastern Time 4 Shows

One Hour Feed - 5 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 #02-40 / 1295th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 9/30/2002 through Sunday 10/06/2002

"Mars And Mercury Pair Up
And The Rival Of Mars Says Good-bye"

Horkheimer: Greetings greetings, fellow star gazers. Well it's time to say farewell to the ancient rival of Mars and say hello to Mercury as it joins Mars and makes its best appearance as a morning star for 2002. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for this upcoming Tuesday October 8th, 30 minutes after sunset facing southwest where you'll see a slender sliver of a crescent moon complete with earth shine, then on Wednesday the 9th a slightly larger crescent will park itself right next to the 3 stars that mark the top of Scorpius the scorpion and will be just to the right of Mars' ancient rival, the star our ancestors named Antares which literally means 'the Rival of Mars'. Antares is the heart of the scorpion and just coincidentally is a red star like a heart should be. And even more coincidentally it is a variable star that slowly pulsates and changes its size and even the hue of its color; sometimes looking very red and sometimes kind of orangeish red.

And in fact, whenever Mars appears close to Antares they do look alike thus giving visual proof to Mars' rival namesake. But they're similar in appearance only. In fact, few objects could be so dissimilar. Mars is a tiny 4,000 mile wide planet while Antares is a humongous star, so huge that if we could replace our Sun with Antares it would stretch out past the orbits of Mercury, Venus and Earth, even past the orbit of Mars. But next week we have to bid Antares and Scorpius farewell because they are getting ready to disappear below the horizon. After all Scorpius is a summer constellation.

Now if you look right behind Scorpius, you'll see the teapot portion of Sagittarius now positioned in such a way that if it were full of cosmic tea, the tea would be pouring out on the scorpion's tail. Maybe that's why Scorpius is in such a hurry to leave every early October. In fact only two hours after sunset, Scorpius and Antares will be gone. But if you look east about 45 minutes before sunrise, you will see Antares' namesake, tiny 4,000 mile wide, reddish-orange Mars. And on Friday Oct. 4th an exquisite old crescent moon will be between Mars and Regulus, the brightest star of Leo.

Plus if you've got a clear flat horizon you may even see tiny 3,000 mile wide Mercury make its reappearance. Now if you watch from day to day, Mercury will rise higher and higher and get brighter and brighter. And by the 3rd week of October will be at its brightest. On Saturday the 5th an extremely old crescent moon will be parked right alongside Mercury. And each day Mercury will rapidly move closer to Mars.

In fact on Thursday the 10th, Mercury and Mars will be at their closest, less than 3 degrees apart. So start your Mercury/ Mars watch now and see for yourself if Mercury deserves its name the pink planet. You see, because it never gets very high above the horizon, we always see it through dirty, dense layers of Earth's atmosphere which frequently makes Mercury look pink. So there you have it, Mercury and Mars, just before sunrise and a farewell to Mars' rival right after sunset. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!


How did you like this episode?
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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

#02-40 M

9/30/2002 thru 10/06/2002

"Farewell To The Rival Of Mars"

Horkheimer: It's that time of year to say farewell to the ancient rival of Mars. On Wednesday the 9th an exquisite crescent Moon will be parked just to the right of the star Antares, which marks the heart of the Scorpius and whose name literally means "the Rival of Mars" because whenever Mars appears close to Antares they look alike. In fact, however, Mars is a 4,000 mile wide planet, while Antares is a star so huge that if we could replace our Sun with Antares it would stretch out all the way past the orbit of Mars. Say good-bye to Antares and Scorpius because they will soon disappear. And if you look behind Scorpius, you'll see the teapot of Sagittarius pouring tea on the scorpion's tail. How undignified. 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.

 


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



[SmilinJack]Return to the [STAR GAZER Main Page]