STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION



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

Satellite feed info:

GE 3 - PBS Transponder 512 - Digital Only!

Friday 8/19/05 - 1030-1100 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 5 MINUTE

Episode # 05-36 / 1448th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 9/05/2005 through
Sunday 9/11/2005

"The False Dawn Of Omar Khayyam:
What It is And How To Find It"

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. 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 before dawn when there's no Moon in the sky you're far from city lights and see if you can see what an ancient poet saw. I'm Jack Horkheimer, keep looking up!

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"Jack Horkheimer : Star Gazer" is underwritten by a grant from
Noven Pharmaceuticals
Committed to expanding the universe of transdermal drug delivery for the benefit of patients and partners.


Star Gazer Minute

#05-36 M

9/05/2005 thru 9/11/2005

"The False Dawn Of Omar Khayyam:
What It is And How To Find It"

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 at its best any September morning when there is no Moon out. 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
Noven Pharmaceuticals
Committed to expanding the universe of transdermal drug delivery for the benefit of patients and partners.


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


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

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







STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION

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

Satellite feed info:

GE 3 - PBS Transponder 512 - Digital Only!

Friday 8/19/05 - 1030-1100 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 #05-37 /1449th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 9/12/2005 through Sunday 9/18/2005

"Weekend Of The Harvest Moon
And How To Use The Moon To Find Mars"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. Mark Wednesday the 21st as a night you can use the Moon to find the brilliant planet Mars, which is racing toward us. And mark this weekend as the weekend of the Harvest Moon.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for this Saturday and Sunday night just after sunset facing east where you will see an exquisite full Moon called the Harvest Moon which is the name given to the full Moon closest to the autumnal equinox the first day of autumn. And since the autumnal equinox this year is on Thursday September 22nd, this Saturday's full Moon becomes this year's Harvest Moon. Now although the Moon is officially full at 10:01 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time this Saturday thus making Saturday the official night of the Harvest Moon, traditionally the Harvest Moon lasts more than one night. And includes the two almost full Moons two nights before the official full Moon and the two almost full Moons two nights after. So we have five nights of the Harvest Moon.

You see normally the Moon rises approximately 50 minutes later each successive night except for the Moon closest to the autumnal equinox, which rises only 20 to 25 minutes later each night. The reason for this is that the path of the Moon closest to the equinox makes a much smaller angle with the horizon than at any other time of year. Before the invention of electric lights having a full Moon several nights just after sunset was important to farmers at harvest time because it meant they could work after sunset for several evenings in a row to gather in their crops by the light of the Harvest Moon. Today farming at night is done with artificial lighting and harvesting goes on 24 hours a day. So the Harvest Moon has lost its original significance although one thing it has not lost is its incredible beauty because for five nights we'll see it rise shortly before or shortly after sunset.

And all rising full Moons always look bigger and more colorful, usually reddish-orange, than when they're overhead because when the Moon is close to the horizon we see it through thicker and dustier layers of our Earth's atmosphere. And it is the dust in our Earth's atmosphere, which causes the orangeish color and at this time of year reminds a lot of people of the orange color of a pumpkin. In fact some say that the man in the Moon face may be what started the tradition of carving jack o'lantern faces on pumpkins.

And this year something has been added because if you wait until around 10 p.m. you'll see the planet which is racing for a super Halloween rendezvous with Earth, brilliant Mars rising over the horizon. And to make sure you've found it go out around 10 p.m. Wednesday Sept. 21st and you'll see an exquisite waning gibbous Moon only 5 degrees above Mars, which means you can use the Moon as a Mars finder that night. So happy Mars finding and happy Harvest Moon. 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
Noven Pharmaceuticals
Committed to expanding the universe of transdermal drug delivery for the benefit of patients and partners.


Star Gazer Minute

#05-37 M

9/12/2005 thru 9/18/2005

"Weekend Of The Harvest Moon
And How To Use The Moon To Find Mars"

Horkheimer: Next week you can use the Moon to find Mars, which is racing toward us and this weekend we'll have an exquisite Harvest Moon. This Saturday and Sunday just after sunset face east and you'll see an exquisite pumpkin colored full Harvest Moon which is the name given to the full Moon closest to the autumnal equinox, the first day of autumn. Its pumpkin orange color and markings look something like a jack o'lantern face and some say this is where the tradition of carving jack o'lanterns came from. Around 10 p.m. brilliant Mars will also be above the eastern horizon and on Wednesday the 21st a waning gibbous Moon will be parked right above it. 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
Noven Pharmaceuticals
Committed to expanding the universe of transdermal drug delivery for the benefit of patients and partners.


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




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

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


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




 


STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION


STAR GAZER is seen nationally on most PBS stations. There is a five minute and a one minute version available each week. If it is not currently on your PBS station we suggest you contact your local PBS programming director and let them know it is available free to all PBS stations. Visit http://www.pbs.org/stationfinder/index.html for help in locating your local PBS station.

You may take STAR GAZER off satellite for personal use, classroom use, astronomy club use, etc. without written permission.

Satellite feed info:

GE 3 - PBS Transponder 512 - Digital Only!

Friday 8/19/05 - 1030-1100 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 # 05-38 / 1450th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 9/19/2005 through Sunday 9/25/2005

"The Sun During The First Week Of Autumn
The Moon Visits Saturn And A Mars Update"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. Since this is the first week of autumn you can have some fun with the Sun plus I'm going to show you how to use the Moon to find Saturn and we'll update you on Mars, which as of this week is brighter than any star in the sky.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for this Thursday morning September 22nd, the first day of autumn, which astronomically speaking is the day of the autumnal equinox just before sunrise. And if you wait until sunrise you will notice that the Sun will rise exactly due east. Then if you go out at the end of the day at sunset and look west you will see that the Sun will set exactly due west. Now believe it or not the Sun rises exactly due east and sets exactly due west on only two days of the year on the first day of autumn, the autumnal equinox and the first day of spring, the vernal equinox. That's because on these two days the Sun lies exactly on the celestial equator, which is what marks the equinoxes in the first place. Check it out yourself because practically speaking the Sun will rise and set almost due east all week long. After which it will start to rise and set a little bit farther south each day.

And now to find the beautiful ringed planet, any day this week or next look east about an hour before sunrise and you'll see the two bright stars of Gemini, Castor and Pollux and directly below them wonderful Saturn, which still looks great through a small telescope. It's exactly the same brightness as Procyon the bright star off to its right, which marks the eye of Orion's little dog. But if you're one of those who always has a hard time finding any planet you can use the Moon as a finder next week on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Tuesday the 27th an exquisite old crescent Moon will be parked just below Castor and Pollux and right above Saturn, all four almost in a straight line and on Wednesday the 28th an even slimmer crescent, complete with earthshine which looks like a dark full Moon nestled within the crescent, will be parked right next to Saturn, only 5 degrees away. It doesn't get any easier to find it than this.

And now let me update you on Mars which in 6 weeks will be at its brightest until the year 2018. Simply go outside around 10 p.m. This week and next still facing east and it will bedazzle you with its reddish rouge gold color. As of this week it is outshone in the night sky by only Venus, Jupiter and the Moon. Now is the time to start watching Mars because although it will reach its very brightest the first week of November it will still be super bright all through October. So please start your Mars watch now. 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
Noven Pharmaceuticals
Committed to expanding the universe of transdermal drug delivery for the benefit of patients and partners.

 


Star Gazer Minute

#05-38M

9/19/2005 thru 9/25/2005

"The Moon Visits Saturn And A Mars Update"

Horkheimer: This week Mars is officially brighter than any star in the sky plus you can use the Moon to find Saturn. Any morning this week and next look east an hour before sunrise and you'll see the two bright stars of Gemini Castor and Pollux and directly below them wonderful Saturn. It's the same brightness as Procyon the bright star to its right which marks the eye of Orion's little dog. And next week you can use the Moon as a Saturn finder. On Tuesday the Moon will be parked right above Saturn and on Wednesday right next to it. Around 10 p.m. face east and Mars will bedazzle you and in only 6 weeks will be at its brightest until the year 2018. 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
Noven Pharmaceuticals
Committed to expanding the universe of transdermal drug delivery for the benefit of patients and partners.


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




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

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


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




STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION


STAR GAZER is seen nationally on most PBS stations. There is a five minute and a one minute version available each week. If it is not currently on your PBS station we suggest you contact your local PBS programming director and let them know it is available free to all PBS stations. Visit http://www.pbs.org/stationfinder/index.html for help in locating your local PBS station.

You may take STAR GAZER off satellite for personal use, classroom use, astronomy club use, etc. without written permission.

Satellite feed info:

GE 3 - PBS Transponder 512 - Digital Only!

Friday 8/19/05 - 1030-1100 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 # 05-39 / 1451st Show

To Be Aired : Monday 9/26/2005 through Sunday 10/2/2005

"The Moon Visits The Goddess Of Love
And The Rival Of Mars
Plus Mars Becomes Master Of The Eastern Sky"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. This month Mars dominates the eastern sky in early evening and is almost at its brightest as it continues to come closer each week. And next week the Moon not only visits the planet named for the goddess of love Venus but also parks incredibly close to the star antares whose name literally means the "Rival of Mars".

O.K., we've got our skies set up for 10 p.m. your local daylight savings time this week and next facing east where the brightest object you'll see will be reddish gold 4,000 mile wide Mars which by Halloween will be the third brightest object in the sky outshone only by the Moon and Venus. It's racing toward us and at the beginning of October is only 49 million miles away. But by the end of the month on October 29th, the date of its closest approach to Earth, it will be 6 million miles closer, only 43 million miles away. And that's close for Mars. In fact, it won't be this close again until 2018. And if you compare it to where it was way back 13 months ago on September 6th, 2004 it was 248 million miles away 205 million miles farther away than it will be on October 29th.

Right now you can easily see some detail on its surface through a small telescope. But please don't make the mistake of thinking you are going to see it the way we do with the hubble space telescope. Remember it's only a 4,000 mile wide planet, only half the size of our 8,000 mile wide Earth. Now, just for fun, if you want to see how Mars usually looks you can go out just after sunset where you will see its sometimes look alike rival. Let me show you. O.K., we've got our skies still set up for this week and next but instead of facing east we're facing southwest where you'll be absolutely dazzled by Earth sized 8,000 mile wide Venus which is always the brightest planet and which this week is only 86 1/2 million miles away.

Then if you look up to Venus' left you'll see the reddish gold star that marks the heart of Scorpius the scorpion and whose name literally means the rival of Mars because Mars often looks just about the same color and brightness, although right now Antares can't even touch Mars in brilliance. And when Mars is far away from us on the other side of its orbit it actually becomes much dimmer than Antares. So sometime this week and next visually compare Antares' and Mars' brightness. And in case you're one of those who has a hard time making sure you've found the right star or planet, well next Thursday October 6th an exquisite crescent Moon complete with earthshine will be parked right beneath Venus and on Friday October 7th will almost slam into Antares. Once again, Moon and Venus, October 6th, Moon and Antares, October 7th. Wow! What a way to open October, the Moon visits two exquisite objects and Mars enters the final stretch. 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
Noven Pharmaceuticals
Committed to expanding the universe of transdermal drug delivery for the benefit of patients and partners.


Star Gazer Minute

#05-39-M

9/26/2005 thru 10/2/2005

"The Moon Visits The Goddess Of Love
And The Rival Of Mars
Plus Mars Becomes Master Of The Eastern Sky"

Horkheimer: This month Mars dominates the eastern sky and next week the Moon visits Venus and Mars' rival. At 10 p.m. face east and Mars will dazzle you. It's only 49 million miles away now but by the end of October it will be 6 million miles closer. And won't be this close again until 2018. Face southwest at sunset and you'll be dazzled by brilliant Venus. And to Venus' left you'll see Antares a star whose name means the rival of Mars because it and Mars often look about the same color and brightness though not now because Mars totally outshines it. To make sure you've found it, on the 6th a crescent Moon will be parked right beneath Venus and on the 7th will almost slam into Antares. 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
Noven Pharmaceuticals
Committed to expanding the universe of transdermal drug delivery for the benefit of patients and partners.


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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