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!

Friday 8/20/04 - 1800-1830 Eastern Time 4 Shows

Half Hour Feed - 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 # 04-36 / 1396th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 9/6/2004 through
Sunday 9/12/2004

"The World Will Not End On Sept. 29th!
(Even Though A Rather Large Asteroid
Will Make Its Closest Approach"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. You may or may not have heard a rumor that a rather large asteroid will slam into Earth this month. And while it is true that on Wednesday September 29th, a 3 mile wide asteroid named Toutatis will pay its closest visit since the year 1353, as for the rest, let me give you the real lowdown.

O.K., if we could go out into space and look down at our solar system with super human vision we would notice that the first five planets in their order out from the sun are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and Jupiter, each of which is a pretty good sized chunk of real estate ranging from 3,000 miles wide to 88,000 miles wide. But if we had super duper vision we would also notice the 3 mile long by 1 1/2 mile wide dumbbell shaped asteroid Toutatis whose orbit extends as far out as the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and which every 4 years pays a very close visit, astronomically speaking, to our planet Earth.

Indeed Wednesday Sept. 29th asteroid Toutatis will pay its closest visit in 651 years and won't be this close again for another 558 years. In fact, this is one of the largest asteroids ever known to have come this close to us in recorded history. But despite the doom'sday rumors, even at its closest point on the 29th it will be four times as far away from us as our Moon, almost one million miles away. And we certainly don't worry about our Moon slamming into us every month and it's only a quarter of a million miles away, so enough with the rumors and now on to some of the weird stuff.

You see asteroid Toutatis is really bizarre. Scientists have bounced radar off it on previous flybys and it looks something like a dumbbell, but it doesn't spin on a single axis like the planets, instead it tumbles through space. So if you were on Toutatis the stars wouldn't seem to slowly circle around a central axis but would instead criss cross the sky, never following the same path twice, not exactly a great place for star gazers. And although our planet Earth as seen from Toutatis would usually only look like a bright star, when it makes its closest approach on the 29th our Earth as seen from Toutatis would look about the same size as a full Moon looks from Earth. So maybe while we're singing "Shine on Harvest Moon" at the end of September Toutatians may be singing "Shine on Harvest Earth".

Now some people have been saying that if you know where to look in the sky even amateur astronomers will be able to see Toutatis on the 29th with a pair of binoculars or a small telescope. But there's one small catch, you also have to be in the southern hemisphere because it will be passing close to Alpha and Beta Centauri, the two bright stars which point to the Southern Cross. So good luck Toutatis hunting if you're far below the equator and put that hard hat away for another day. 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

#04-36 M

9/06/2004 thru 9/12/2004

"The World Will Not End On Sept. 29th!
(Even Though A Rather Large Asteroid
Will Make Its Closest Approach"

 

Horkheimer: On September 29th 3 mile wide asteroid Toutatis will pay its closest visit in 651 years, but it will not slam into Earth as rumored. Toutatis, whose orbit takes it as far out as the asteroid belt, visits Earth every 4 years and on the 29th will be only one million miles away. But that's 4 times farther away than our Moon and we don't worry about our Moon slamming into us. Toutatis is really weird. It's dumb bell shaped and tumbles through space so stars as seen from Toutatis would constantly criss cross the sky never in the same place twice. And on the 29th our Earth as seen from Toutatis would look the same size as a full Moon does from Earth. If you're south of the equator you may see it pass close to the Southern Cross. Keep Looking Up!

How did you like this episode?
Please give us your comments. (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!

Friday 8/20/04 - 1800-1830 Eastern Time 4 Shows

Half Hour Feed - 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 #04-37 /1397th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 9/13/2004 through Sunday 9/19/2004

"Next Week's Autumnal Equinox:
What It's Really All About And One
Very Obvious Effect It Will Have On You"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. Next week, Wednesday Sept. 22, at precisely 12:30 p.m. EDT or your local equivalent, the Autumnal Equinox will occur which means that at that moment in time autumn officially begins for the northern hemisphere. But what really is the Autumnal Equinox? And what obvious effect on that day can you notice? Let me show you.

O.K., the word equinox comes from the Latin words equi and nox. Equi means equal and nox means night, which further means that on the two days of the equinoxes the Autumnal Equinox and the Spring Equinox, the hours of night are equal to the hours of daylight because these are the two 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 notice that it rises exactly due east. However if you watch the Sun rise each successive day you will notice that it will rise a little bit farther north of east each successive 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 north of east each successive day until on the first day of autumn, the Autumnal Equinox, it will once again rise due east. After which it will rise a little bit farther south of due east each successive day until on the first day of winter, the Winter Solstice it will rise at its farthest point south east. After which, you guessed it, it will slowly retrace its journey northward. 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 because by doing so they noticed that the seasons coincided with where the Sun rose. So they figured out that one Sun cycle equals one year, one complete cycle of the four seasons, which was very important to them because they needed to know exactly when to plant and harvest. Of course keeping track of this constantly changing rising point of the Sun is not as important to us because we keep track of time and the seasons with calendars and atomic clocks.

Even so if you want to see one very obvious effect the equinox still has on us today try this little experiment. 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 at sunrise on the equinox the Sun will rise directly over the yellow line in the middle of the road. Conversely if you drive home at sunset on a due west highway on the equinox the Sun will set directly over the yellow line in the middle of the road. And if it doesn't your highway is not true due east and due west. So put those Sun visors down next Wednesday and experience this wonderful evidence of the equinox for yourself. It's fun and it's science. 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

 

"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

#04-37 M

9/13/2004 thru 9/19/2004

"Next Week's Autumnal Equinox:
What It's Really All About And One
Very Obvious Effect It Will Have On You
"

Horkheimer: Next Wednesday the 22nd is the first day of fall, the Autumnal Equinox. But what does that mean anyway? Well in Latin equi means equal and nox means night. And on the autumnal equinox the hours of night are equal to the hours of day. But did you also know that on the first day of fall the Sun rises directly due east and sets directly due west? You can prove it to 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 at sunset the Sun will set directly over the yellow line in the middle of the road. So put those sun visors down next Wednesday! Happy Autumnal Equinox and Keep Looking Up!


Please give us your comments. (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!

Friday 8/20/04 - 1800-1830 Eastern Time 4 Shows

Half Hour Feed - 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 # 04-38 / 1398th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 9/20/2004 through Sunday 9/26/2004

"The Five Nights Of The Harvest Moon!
And Two Fun Things You Can Do With It!"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. Next week we will be treated to several nights of the Harvest Moon. But what exactly is a Harvest Moon? Let me explain. A harvest according to the dictionary is simply the act of gathering in a crop or the harvested crop itself and for centuries at this time of year across North America and Europe the fall harvest took place. So traditionally the full Moon closest to the first day of fall, the Autumnal Equinox, was called the Harvest Moon. And since the Autumnal Equinox occurs this week on Wednesday the 22nd next Tuesday night the 28th will be the official night of the Harvest Moon, although traditionally the Harvest Moon doesn't last just one night but also includes the almost full Moons two nights before the full Moon and the almost full Moons two nights after.

You see the Moon normally rises approximately 50 minutes later each successive night except for the Harvest Moon which rises only 20 to 25 minutes later each night. 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 before the invention of electric lights this was very important to farmers at harvest time because it meant that they could work after sunset for several evenings in a row gathering in their crops by the bright light of the Harvest Moon. Today however with mechanized farming and artificial lighting, harvesting goes on 24 hours a day. So the Harvest Moon has lost its original significance.

Although one thing it will never lose is its incredible beauty. Because for five nights we will see it rise shortly before or shortly after sunset. And all rising full Moons always look bigger and more colorful, usually orangeish like a pumpkin, than when they're overhead. The reason the Moon looks more colorful as it rises is because we see it through thicker and dustier layers of our Earth's atmosphere than when it's overhead. And although it looks bigger at the horizon it is just an illusion, which you can prove to yourself.

In fact, if you take a dime and hold it out at arm's length when the Harvest Moon is close to the horizon you will see that it covers exactly the same amount of the Moon as it does when the Moon is at its highest. And if you want to try another Moon illusion simply bend over at the waist and look at the rising Harvest Moon upside down between your legs and bingo! It will instantly look smaller than when you look at it right side up. So don't miss the five nights of the Harvest Moon next week, beginning on Sunday night the 26th, through Thursday night the 30th. Believe me it will be more than a dimes worth of fun and a dozen times more beautiful! Keep Looking Up!


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


Star Gazer Minute

#04-38M

9/20/2004 thru 9/26/2004

"The Five Nights Of The Harvest Moon!
And Two Fun Things You Can Do With It!"

Horkheimer: Next week we'll be treated to five nights of the Harvest Moon. The Harvest Moon is the name given to the full Moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox, which is this Wednesday. So next Tuesday will be the official night of the Harvest Moon although the Harvest Moon also includes the almost full Moons two nights before and two nights after because instead of normally rising 50 minutes later each successive night it rises only 20 to 25 minutes later each night, which historically gave farmers more moonlight to help them harvest their crops thus its name. So don't miss these five nights of a pumpkin colored Harvest Moon from Sunday night the 26th through Thursday the 30th. Shine on Harvest Moon and Keep Looking Up!


How did you like this episode?
Please give us your comments. (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!

Friday 8/20/04 - 1800-1830 Eastern Time 4 Shows

Half Hour Feed - 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 #04-39 / 1399th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 9/27/2004 through Sunday 10/03/2004

"The Goddess Of Love Pays A Super
Close Visit To The Heart Of Leo The Lion
And An Old Moon Makes A Foursome
With Saturn And Gemini"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. This Sunday October 3rd the brightest planet of them all named for the goddess of love Venus will pay a super close visit to Regulus the heart star of Leo the Lion, a cosmic duo that will take your breath away. Plus on October 7th a very old Moon will make a foursome with and show you how to find Saturn, Castor and Pollux. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for this Saturday October 2nd just before sunrise facing east where the brightest thing you'll see will be our old friend 8,000 mile wide super brilliant Venus, our so called sister planet because it's almost the same size as Earth. And parked just below it and usually looking very bright when it's in the sky all by itself but not so bright because it's parked next to super brilliant Venus, is Regulus the heart star of the ancient constellation Leo the Lion. Only one degree will separate them, or if you like to think of it this way since a full Moon is half a degree wide two full Moons will separate Venus from Regulus which is visually very close.

But ta da! every once in a while a super close meeting occurs which can be absolutely stunning. In fact on the next morning Sunday October 3rd Venus and Regulus will be snuggled up side by side only 1/5 of one degree apart. That's less than the width of a quarter Moon. And I strongly encourage you to look at them through a pair of binoculars to get an even more exceptional view and see Regulus' blue color more vividly.

Of course with all things cosmic this close meeting is only an illusion. In fact, on Sunday the 3rd Venus will be 98 million miles away from us while Regulus will be over 5 million times farther away, 85 light years beyond. So Regulus must be pretty big and bright to be seen at such a distance. And in fact it is 5 million miles wide which is over 5 times the diameter of our own Sun and 160 times brighter. It's so huge we could fit 282 million Venuses or Earths inside it. Wow!

On Monday the 4th they will once again be one degree apart from each other but Venus will now be below rather than above Regulus. And if you want to see how rapidly they move go out the following Sunday October 10th and you will see they are a whopping 8 degrees apart and joined by an exquisite 26 day old waning crescent Moon. Once again Saturday the 2nd, Venus approaches Regulus, Sunday they practically visually collide and then on Monday they change places in the heavens, and on the 10th are much farther apart and joined by an exquisite Moon.

But if that's not enough for you next week Thursday October 7th just above Venus and Regulus you'll see an exquisite 23 day old crescent Moon and directly above it the twin stars of Gemini Pollux and Castor and beside it the wonderful ringed world Saturn which we are visiting right now with our Cassini spacecraft. Fabulous cosmic goodies just before sunrise. A great reason to get up with the chickens. Keep Looking Up!

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


Star Gazer Minute

#04-39 M

9/27/2004 thru 10/03/2004

"The Goddess Of Love Pays A Super
Close Visit To The Heart Of Leo The Lion
And An Old Moon Makes A Foursome
With Saturn And Gemini"

Horkheimer: This Sunday the brightest planet Venus will pay a super close visit to Regulus the blue heart star of Leo the Lion. Start watching on Saturday just before sunrise when you'll see 8,000 mile wide Venus only one degree away from Regulus which is about the width of 2 full Moons. On Sunday however, they'll be snuggled up side by side and so close, less than 1/5 of one degree apart that less than 1/4 moon could fit between them. It's all an illusion however because while Venus will be only 98 million miles away, Regulus will be 5 million times farther, 85 light years beyond. And think about this, Regulus is 5 times as wide as our Sun and 160 times brighter! So huge we could fit 282 million Venuses inside it. Keep Looking Up!

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


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