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!

Half Hour Feed STAH 903
Thursday August 20, 2009, 1130-1200/SD06
Includes episodes 0936, 0937, 0938, 0939


Star Gazer is also available from NASA CORE. A videotape of the current month is available from NASA CORE (Contact us for current price)

NASA Central Operation of Resources for Educators (CORE)
Lorain County JVS-CORE
15181 Route 58 South
Oberlin, OH 44074

Phone: (440) 775-1400
Fax: (440) 775-1460
E-mail: NASA_order@lcjvs.net
http://www.nasa.gov/education/core

Notice : These are working drafts of the scripts for STAR GAZER.
Changes may well be made as production requires.

"Star Gazer" is available with iTunes,
for downloading with Quicktime
and we're now on YouTube

 

 
 

STAR GAZER 5 MINUTE

Episode # 09-36 / 1657th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 9/07/2009 through
Sunday 9/13/2009

"The Moon Visits Two Planets And Venus
Almost Slams Into Leo The Lion"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. Mark three dates on your calendar as the three days just before sunrise the Moon will visit Mars and Venus and Venus will almost slam into Regulus, the star which marks the heart of Leo the Lion.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for this Sunday morning about an hour before sunrise facing east where half way up the sky you'll see a beautiful just past last quarter Moon and hovering just below it the 4,000 mile wide, rouge gold planet Mars. But in case you're rained out on Sunday you can still use the Moon as a finder on Monday although it will be well past Mars so you'll have to look above the Moon to find it. On the next day Tuesday the 15th, the Moon will have traveled significantly farther away from Mars and will be about 2/3rds of the way between it and the brightest planet of them all, 8,000 mile wide Venus.

But the next morning Wednesday the 16th is the one you really want to mark on your calendar because then an absolutely exquisite slender sliver of a crescent Moon will be parked right beside Venus forming a duo that has been seen and marveled at all throughout human history and which even appears on some national flags. I mean this is the kind of Venus and Moon meeting that will absolutely take your breath away. In fact if you look carefully at the Moon you will see what looks like a very dark full Moon nestled within the crescent and this is called Earthshine. You see whereas the bright crescent is lit up directly by light from the Sun, the dark portion of the Moon is lit up by sunlight that is first hitting our Earth then bouncing off the Earth onto the Moon and then bouncing back to Earth once again, a real cosmic ricochet. Don't miss this please.

And while you're out there if you look just below Venus you'll see the bright star named Regulus, which marks the heart of Leo the Lion. It is a wonderful star, five times the diameter of our million mile wide Sun! And if you watch Regulus and Venus every morning the rest of the week you'll see them move closer and closer to each other. On Thursday the 17th they'll only be 3 and 3/4 degrees apart. On Friday the 18th only 2 and 1/2degrees apart, on Saturday the 19th they'll be 1 and 1/2 degrees apart, but ta da! On Sunday September 20th they will reach their absolute closest, only 1 /2 degree apart! And since one full Moon is 1/2 degree wide, this means only one full Moon could fit between them. In astronomical terms this looks like an 'almost' collision. Wow!

Once again: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and shazzamm!, Sunday. So mark three mornings as must see days, Sunday September 13th, Wednesday September 16th, and Sunday September 20th. Three super events in one week's time. Keep looking up!

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

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here


"Star Gazer" is available with iTunes,
for downloading with Quicktime
and we're now on YouTube

Check Out WPBT's Version

 
 
 
 

Star Gazer Minute

#09-36 M

9/07/2009 thru 9/13/2009

"The Moon Visits Two Planets And Venus
Almost Slams Into Leo The Lion"

Horkheimer: On three separate mornings the Moon will visit Mars and Venus and Venus will almost slam into Leo the Lion. This Sunday just before sunrise face east and an exquisite waning Moon will be parked just above 4,000 mile wide Mars. On Wednesday however it will make a breathtaking duo with the brightest planet, 8,000 mile wide Venus, which is the kind of cosmic event that has been marveled at throughout human history and which even appears on some national flags. Finally on Sunday September 20th Venus will almost slam into Regulus the heart star of Leo and will be only one full Moon width away! Wow! Sunday the Moon and Mars, Tuesday the Moon and Venus, and Sunday the 20th Venus and Regulus. Keep looking up!

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

 

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here


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


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

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






STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION

STAR GAZER is seen nationally on most PBS stations. There is a five minute and a one minute version available each week. If it is not currently on your PBS station we suggest you contact your local PBS programming director and let them know it is available free to all PBS stations. 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!

Half Hour Feed STAH 903
Thursday August 20, 2009, 1130-1200/SD06
Includes episodes 0936, 0937, 0938, 0939


Star Gazer is also available from NASA CORE. A videotape of the current month is available from NASA CORE (Contact us for current price)

NASA Central Operation of Resources for Educators (CORE)
Lorain County JVS-CORE
15181 Route 58 South
Oberlin, OH 44074

Phone: (440) 775-1400
Fax: (440) 775-1460
E-mail: NASA_order@lcjvs.net
http://www.nasa.gov/education/core


Notice : These are working drafts of the scripts for STAR GAZER.
Changes may well be made as production requires.


"Star Gazer" is available with iTunes,
for downloading with Quicktime
and we're now on YouTube

 

 
 

STAR GAZER

Episode #09-37 /1658th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 9/14/2009 through Sunday 9/20/2009


"Find The False Dawn Of Omar Khayyam
The Last Two Weeks Of This September"


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 elsewhere in "The Rubaiyat" Omar made a poetic allusion to a mysterious "false dawn" as opposed to the real dawn, which can only be seen at a certain time of year. And this year the last two weeks of this September are your best chances to see it for 2009 because there will be no bright moonlight to overpower this delicate astronomical phenomenon. Let me tell you all about it and what you have to do to find it.

O.K. If we could go way out into space and look 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 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 under the right conditions. And those conditions require that there is no moonlight out and that you must be far away from city lights because even the faintest moonlight or urban lighting will wipe out the extremely delicate, ethereal glow of the false dawn. As a general rule if you can see the Milky Way from where you're observing you'll have a good chance to see this it.

To find it look toward the east about 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 one third to half way up to the zenitha ghostly, faintly glowing, rounded pyramid of light. Now the scientific name of this phenomenon is the zodiacal light and it's caused by sunlight scattering from all those trillions and trillions of dust particles which make up the great cosmic cloud.

And although Omar didn't mention it, this 'false dawn' also has an evening counterpart the '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 would be seeing the zodiacal light's sister phenomenon called the gegenschein or counterglow. And I 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 during the last two weeks of this month, be sure you're far from city lights and see if you are as inspired as an ancient poet. Keep looking up!

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

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here


"Star Gazer" is available with iTunes,
for downloading with Quicktime
and we're now on YouTube

Check Out WPBT's Version

 
 
 
 

Star Gazer Minute

#09-37 M

9/14/2009 thru 9/20/2009

"Find The False Dawn Of Omar Khayyam
The Last Two Weeks Of This September"

Horkheimer: Almost a thousand years ago the Persian Poet Omar Khayyam wrote about a 'false dawn', which can only be seen in September and which you can see the last two weeks of this month if you're far from city lights because there will be no Moon out to hide its faint glow. 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 Earth. Astronomers call it the zodiacal light. And the last two weeks of this month are your best chance to see it this year. See what inspired an ancient poet and maybe inspire yourself. Keep looking up.


Please give us your comments. (Click Here)


For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here


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




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

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


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




 


STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION


STAR GAZER is seen nationally on most PBS stations. There is a five minute and a one minute version available each week. If it is not currently on your PBS station we suggest you contact your local PBS programming director and let them know it is available free to all PBS stations. 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!

Half Hour Feed STAH 903
Thursday August 20, 2009, 1130-1200/SD06
Includes episodes 0936, 0937, 0938, 0939


Star Gazer is also available from NASA CORE. A videotape of the current month is available from NASA CORE (Contact us for current price)

NASA Central Operation of Resources for Educators (CORE)
Lorain County JVS-CORE
15181 Route 58 South
Oberlin, OH 44074

Phone: (440) 775-1400
Fax: (440) 775-1460
E-mail: NASA_order@lcjvs.net
http://www.nasa.gov/education/core


Notice : These are working drafts of the scripts for STAR GAZER.
Changes may well be made as production requires.


"Star Gazer" is available for downloading
with Quicktime and we're now on YouTube

 

 

 
 

STAR GAZER

Episode # 09-38 / 1659th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 9/21/2009 through Sunday 9/27/2009

"The Mystery Of The Wandering Stars"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. Imagine that you are an ancient Egyptian / Babylonian / Greek or Roman and that you enjoy stargazing. The difference between stargazing back then however and stargazing now would be quite dramatic because there would be no urban lighting and no industrial pollution. So the heavens would be filled with many more stars than we can see today unless we go to the tops of the highest mountains or as far away from urban lighting as possible.

Now as an ancient human you would notice that most of the stars remain in fixed positions relative to one another and that they only change their positions in entire groups depending on the hour of the night or the season of the year. For instance whenever you looked at the stars we now call the Big Dipper they would appear to be in the same positions relative to each other as would the stars we call Cassiopeia, Orion the hunter or Scorpius the scorpion, etc. You would know where they are located at various times of the night and year. And you could even use them as a nightly and seasonal clock, which we can still do.

But there would be some stars that puzzle you. In particular five of them because not only do they slowly change their positions among the fixed patterns of stars they also change their brightness, being sometimes very dim and sometimes very bright. On top of which, one would occasionally stop, go backwards for a while, then reverse direction and go forward again. Talk about weird! Now the ancient Greeks called all the objects in the night sky 'asteres', which means 'stars'. In fact that's where we get our star shaped pattern on computers, the asterisk.

But the seven peculiar objects were given a special name from the rest. They were called 'asteres planetes'. The Greek word 'planetes' means 'wandering' so the 'asteres planetes' were the 'wandering stars', which today we simply call the planets. And in much of western civilization we still use the planet names derived from the Romans who derived their planet names from the Greeks and Babylonians. We know them as Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn plus the Moon and our Sun. Together they are known as 'The Seven Classical Planets'. And our ancestors thought they were deities, gods who could influence human behavior. And although they came up with some very clever solutions as to why they changed position none of them were correct.

Today we know these objects wander because they are so much, much closer to us than the stars and that they along with our Earth are in constant rapid orbit around the sun. And strangely every one of us still pays daily tribute to these seven ancient classical planets because the seven days of the week are named after them in almost all languages. In English Sunday is named for the Sun, Monday for the Moon, Tuesday for Mars, Wednesday for Mercury, Thursday for Jupiter, Friday for Venus and Saturday for Saturn. Think of that next Moonday when you have to get up to go to work. Keep looking up!


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

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here


"Star Gazer" is available with iTunes,
for downloading with Quicktime
and we're now on YouTube

Check Out WPBT's Version

 
 
 
 

Star Gazer Minute

#09-38 M

9/21/2009 thru 9/27/2009

"The Mystery Of The Wandering Stars"

Horkheimer: Have you ever heard of stars that wander? Pretend that you're an ancient Greek or Roman and you're used to seeing the star patterns we call the Big Dipper, Orion, Scorpius, etc. and you're aware that almost all the stars remain fixed in relative position to each other although they move as groups throughout the night and year. Then imagine how bewildered you'd be at a handful of stars, which change position and wander from night to night. If you're Greek you call all the stars 'asteres' which means 'stars', however you call the ones that move 'asteres planetes', the 'wandering stars', which is where we get our word planet. So if you see a star that looks out of place you're probably seeing a planet. Keep looking up!


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

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here


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




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

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


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




STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION


STAR GAZER is seen nationally on most PBS stations. There is a five minute and a one minute version available each week. If it is not currently on your PBS station we suggest you contact your local PBS programming director and let them know it is available free to all PBS stations. 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:

Half Hour Feed STAH 903
Thursday August 20, 2009, 1130-1200/SD06
Includes episodes 0936, 0937, 0938, 0939


Star Gazer is also available from NASA CORE. A videotape of the current month is available from NASA CORE (Contact us for current price)

NASA Central Operation of Resources for Educators (CORE)
Lorain County JVS-CORE
15181 Route 58 South
Oberlin, OH 44074

Phone: (440) 775-1400
Fax: (440) 775-1460
E-mail: NASA_order@lcjvs.net
http://www.nasa.gov/education/core


Notice : These are working drafts of the scripts for STAR GAZER.
Changes may well be made as production requires.



"Star Gazer" is available for downloading
with Quicktime and we're now on YouTube

 

 

 
 

STAR GAZER

Episode # 09-39 / 1660th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 9/28/2009 through Sunday 10/04/2009

"Two Weird Ways To Have Fun With
The Harvest Moon Illusion"


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers. This Sunday October 4th is the official night of the Harvest Moon. And along with it comes the great Harvest Moon illusion, which you can prove is an illusion in two fun but weird ways. But just what is a Harvest Moon anyway? Well 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 North America and Europe the fall harvest took place.

Now traditionally the full Moon closest to the first day of fall, the autumnal equinox, is called the harvest moon. And since this year the autumnal equinox occured on September 22nd the full Moon this Sunday is the closest to the equinox and thus the Harvest Moon. Simple. But there is more to a Harvest Moon than that because even though there is only one official night of the Harvest Moon the visual effects last for three nights, October 3rd, 4th and 5th.

You see normally the Moon rises approximately 50 minutes later each successive night except for the Harvest Moon, which rises only 20 to 25 minutes later each successive night. The 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 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 at least three nights in a row gathering in their crops by the bright light of the harvest moon. Today mechanized farming is all done with artificial lighting so that aspect of the Harvest Moon has lost its original significance. But what it will never lose is its incredible beauty in early evening. Because for three nights we will see it rise just before or just after sunset. And all rising full moons always look much bigger and more colorful than when they're overhead.

Now the reason the full 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. Now the reason the full Moon always looks bigger when it's closer to the horizon than when it's overhead is one of the grandest illusions of nature, which you can prove is an illusion yourself this Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Simply take a dime, hold it at arm's length when the Harvest Moon is close to the horizon just after sunset and again when it's at its highest around midnight and you'll see that your dime will cover exactly the same amount of the moon. Wow!

But an even more fun way to prove this illusion is to bend over at the waist and watch the rising Harvest Moon upside down between your legs. Because, bingo, it will instantly look smaller than when you look at it right side up. The reason for this is still being argued. But believe me it's one heck of an illusion. So don't miss next week's three nights of the Harvest Moon because it will be absolutely gorgeous and may even look like an orange pre-Halloween jack o' lantern. And remember whether you're right side up or upside down, keep looking up!


How did you like this episode?


Please give us your comments. (Click Here)

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here


"Star Gazer" is available with iTunes,
for downloading with Quicktime
and we're now on YouTube

Check Out WPBT's Version

 
 
 
 

Star Gazer Minute

#09-39 M

9/28/2009 thru 10/04/2009

"Two Weird Ways To Have Fun With
The Harvest Moon Illusion"

Horkheimer: This Saturday, Sunday and Monday are the nights of the Harvest Moon. Just after sunset look east and you'll see a huge pumpkin colored full Harvest Moon rising. Now everyone knows that when the Moon rises it always looks much bigger than when it's overhead. But this is only an illusion, which you can prove yourself. Simply take a dime, hold it at arm's length when the Moon is rising and again when it's at its highest around midnight. You will see that your dime covers exactly the same amount of the Moon. For Moon illusion number two bend over at the waist and look at the rising Moon upside down between your legs and bingo! It will instantly look smaller than when you look at it right side up. Try it. Happy Harvest Moon, right side up or upside down. Keep looking up!


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

For GRAPHICS for this script (Click) Here


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




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

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


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


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