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 1003
Tuesday Aug. 24, 1230-1300/SD06
Includes episodes 1036, 1037, 1038, 1039

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 # 10-36 / 1709th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 9/6/2010 through
Sunday 9/12/2010

"Mercury in the Morning And Jupiter At Night"

Chris: Greetings star gazers. This show was produced before your favorite star gazer Jack Horkheimer passed away on Aug. 20th but he still wants you to know what's up in the night sky. This September is the month for close and bright planets, Jupiter and Uranus in the evening and Mercury in pre-dawn skies. Let me show you.

O.K., get out about an hour before sunrise in mid September and be sure you have a clear view to the east. Look low in the east just above the horizon for a pinkish light and that will be Mercury. Mercury will be getting higher and easier to find every morning after the 13th and will be at its best around Sept. 18th, 19th and 20th. If you look at Mercury through a small telescope you can watch it go through phases just like the moon. Wow! Let's look at that again. Mercury, an hour before sunrise, in the east, Sept. 13, 15, 17, 18, 19 and 20.

Mercury is the planet closest to the Sun and goes around the Sun the fastest. This means that Mercury quickly pops in and out of view in the morning and evening sky, it's never there for more than a week or two and it never gets very far from the Sun which means it's never very high in a dark sky. So you have to get your look at Mercury at just the right time.

Meanwhile in the evening, look low in the east just after sunset and the king of the planets, bright Jupiter and the second planet out from the Sun after Jupiter, Uranus, will appear very close together. Jupiter now is closer than it has been in the last 47 years and on Sept. 21 will be at its closest, biggest and brightest of this year. Jupiter is the biggest planet, over 88,000 miles wide, that's eleven Earths wide, wow!

Jupiter will rise higher hour after hour until midnight and will be in the sky nearly all night long. This is happening because Jupiter is at opposition on the 21st, which means Jupiter is opposite the Earth from the Sun and thus closest to Earth. Our Earth goes around the Sun faster than Jupiter and passes Jupiter every 13 months. But because the Earth and Jupiter do not orbit the Sun in perfect circles they are not always the same distance apart when we Earthlings pass by. This year Jupiter is especially close and will not be this close again until 2022. So this means that this September will be the best time to look at Jupiter for many years!

Another special thing to look for as you watch Jupiter is the blue green planet Uranus, which will be especially close to Jupiter around Sept. 19. You will be able to see Uranus with above Jupiter just a pair of binoculars but using a telescope will be even more fun. Uranus will appear to be so close to Jupiter that only one full moon could fit between them.

But there is something else that is special about Jupiter and that is that it looks different from last year. Jupiter usually has two prominent dark bands across its middle that are visible in even a small telescope but one of them has disappeared! Here are a couple of shots by Dr. Don Parker showing Jupiter last year and this year. See the difference?

So enjoy Mercury in the morning from Sept. 13th through the 20th and Jupiter and Uranus in the evenings. And as Jack has always said, Keep looking up!

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Please give us your comments. (Click Here)

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

Check Out WPBT's Version

 
 
 
 

Star Gazer Minute

#10-36 M

9/6/2010 thru 9/12/2010

"Mercury In The Morning And Jupiter At Night"

Chris: Mercury, Jupiter and Uranus are the stars in this September's planet show. Mercury is putting on its best morning show of the year in the east an hour before sunrise. From the 13th through the 20th watch Mercury climb higher and get brighter each day. In the evening sky after sunset look to the east for the biggest planet of all Jupiter, which is especially close, bright and big this September. Jupiter is sharing the sky with the 7th planet Uranus, which is usually hard to spot. But by using Jupiter as a finder this is a great time to spot both planets at the same time in the same binocular view. Mercury in the morning and Jupiter and Uranus at night! 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 1003
Tuesday Aug. 24, 1230-1300/SD06
Includes episodes 1036, 1037, 1038, 1039


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 #10-37 /1710th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 9/13/2010 through Sunday 9/19/2010

"The Harvestest Of Harvest Moons"


Horkheimer: Greetings star gazers. This show was produced before your favorite star gazer Jack Horkheimer passed away on Aug. 20th but he still wants you to know what's up in the night sky. The autumnal equinox will occur Wednesday night September 22nd at 11:09 pm EDT and only six hours later the Moon will be full and will be this year's Harvest Moon. And along with it comes the great Harvest Moon illusion. But just what is a Harvest Moon anyway?

Well according to the dictionary a harvest is 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 autumnal equinox, is called the Harvest Moon. And since the autumnal equinox Wednesday night will be followed by the full Moon only six hours later this year we are following the lead of astronomer Fred Schaaf and calling it the Harvestest Moon. The last time this happened was 1991 and the next time will be 2029.

But the Harvest Moon means even more because even though there is only one official night of the Harvest Moon the visual effects last for three nights, September 22, 23 and 24th. Now normally the Moon rises about 50 minutes later each successive night but the Harvest Moon rises only 20 to 25 minutes later each successive night. This is because 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 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 it 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. 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 close to the horizon than when it's overhead is one of the grandest illusions of nature.

And you can prove it's an illusion yourself this Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. 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 and as Jack always says, "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

#10-37 M

9/13/2010 thru 9/19/2010

"The Harvestest Of Harvest Moons"

Horkheimer: Next Wednesday is the night 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!


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 1003
Tuesday Aug. 24, 1230-1300/SD06
Includes episodes 1036, 1037, 1038, 1039


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 # 10-38 / 1711th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 9/20/2010 through Sunday 9/26/2010

"The Super Bright Star Which Shines On The Autumnal Equinox"


Horkheimer: Greetings star gazers. This show was produced before your favorite star gazer Jack Horkheimer passed away on Aug. 20th but he still wants you to know what's up in the night sky. Last Wednesday September 22nd was the first day of autumn, the autumnal equinox. But did you know that if you go outside any night during the first weeks of autumn of any year and look straight up you will see one of the brightest stars in the heavens almost overhead? And that our Sun and Earth are actually flying toward it and getting closer every day? Let me show you.

O.K. we've got our skies set up for any clear night the first weeks of autumn between the hours of 8 and 9 p.m. your local time. And if you look straight up almost overhead you will see an extremely bright star right next to four dimmer stars which if connected by lines would make a lopsided rectangle which is more properly called a parallelogram. These stars plus a handful of others make up the ancient constellation Lyra the Harp.

But Lyra's brightest star Vega is the real attention grabber. It is the fifth brightest star and compared to our Sun is a doozy. For starters while our Sun is 865 thousand miles wide, Vega is over twice as wide, two million miles. And Vega's blue-white color tells us that it is a super hot star, much hotter than our own yellow-orange Sun. In fact our Sun's surface temperature is a mere ten thousand degrees Fahrenheit whereas Vega's is a blistering 17,000 degrees. So because Vega is much bigger and hotter it is 60 times brighter! Talk about getting a suntan in a hurry!

But one of the really nifty things about Vega is that it once was and will again be our North Star, a much brighter one than our current North Star which is the end star of the handle of the Little Dipper. You see the North Star is simply the star directly above our Earth's north pole, the one towards which our Earth's axis points. But because of a regular very slow wobbling motion of our Earth, like a top slowing down, our Earth's axis doesn't always point to the same spot in the heavens. In fact our Earth's axis traces out a great circle in the sky.

Right now our Earth's axis is pointed to a spot on that circle very close to our current North Star. But the Earth's axis slowly drifts constantly changing where it points in that circle. A hundred years from now it will point even closer to our current North Star but a thousand years from now it will be well past it. And once every 26,000 years it points to Vega. So 14 1/2 thousand years ago Vega was the north star of our cave man ancestors and Vega will be our north star once again eleven and a half thousand years from now. Wow!

But what I really love about Vega is that it marks the direction our Sun and Earth are headed. In fact our Sun and Earth are racing towards Vega at the incredible speed of 12 miles per second. But Vega is so far away it would take our Sun almost 500 million years to reach it. And unfortunately by the time we get there Vega will have already moved. So don't pack your bags for Vega yet.

Just go out any night the first few weeks of autumn between 8 and 9 p.m., look overhead and contemplate the incredible beauty of this brilliant blue white star. And as Jack always says, "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

#10-38 M

9/20/2010 thru 9/26/2010

"The Super Bright Star Which Shines On The Autumnal Equinox"


Horkheimer: Every year during the first weeks of autumn the fifth brightest star Vega shines directly overhead in early evening. It is twice as big as our Sun, much hotter and 60 times brighter. And every 26 thousand years our Earth's axis points to Vega, which makes it our North Star, a much brighter one than our current North Star in the Little Dipper's handle. It was our cave man ancestors' North Star 14 1/2 thousand years ago and it will be the North Star again 11 1/2 thousand years from now! Our Sun and Earth are actually racing toward it at the incredible speed of 12 miles per second. But it's so far away it would take us 500 million years to reach it. So don't pack your bags for Vega yet. Just look overhead all next week for this brilliant blue -white beauty. 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 1003
Tuesday Aug. 24, 1230-1300/SD06
Includes episodes 1036, 1037, 1038, 1039


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 # 10-39 / 1712th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 9/27/2010 through Sunday 10/03/2010

"Say Farewell To Summer's Cosmic Triangle And Welcome To Autumn's Cosmic Square"

Horkheimer: Greetings star gazers. This show was produced before your favorite star gazer Jack Horkheimer passed away on Aug. 20th but he still wants you to know what's up in the night sky. And as Jack has often reminded you, whenever the seasons change on Earth, so too do the stars change overhead, thus the phrase "the stars of the season". Now that phrase 'stars of the season' usually refers to the major stars and star groups that reach their highest position above the horizon in mid-evening, so because autumn officially began a week and a half ago on Wednesday September 22nd we should already see a change in the stars overhead. Let me show you.

O.K., we've got our skies set up for any night during the first two weeks of October around 10 p.m. daylight time and if you look just west of overhead you will see the 3 bright stars which make up the points of the Summer Triangle, the brightest being Vega in the constellation Lyra the Harp, the second brightest, Altair in Aquila the Eagle, the third brightest, Deneb in Cygnus the Swan. Now during the first week of summer, at the end of June, the Summer Triangle was just rising in the east at 10 p.m. but if you went out at 10 p.m. each successive week all summer long you would have noticed that the Summer Triangle was a little bit higher in the sky each week at 10 p.m. and by the end of August was almost directly overhead at 10 p.m. but if you looked to the northeast at 10 p.m. at the end of August you would have also noticed that the autumn constellation Cassiopeia, a group of 5 stars which when connected by lines looks like the letter "m" or "w" on its side, was just rising.

And if you looked just above and east of Cassiopeia you would have also seen 4 dimmer stars which, if you draw lines between them, make up a great rectangle or square and which is called the Autumn Square or the Great Square of Pegasus, because it is part of the huge constellation Pegasus, the winged horse. Then if you went out each successive week in September at 10 p.m. you would have noticed that the Summer Triangle was slowly moving past overhead and beginning its descent toward the western horizon while the autumn square of Pegasus was ascending higher and higher in the east, so that by the first two weeks of October it is almost overhead at 10 p.m. instead of the Triangle. And I think it is rather poetic that the 3 blazing hot stars that make up the Summer Triangle are replaced by the four much dimmer and softer stars of the Autumn Square because autumn is after all the softest and gentlest season of the year.

So some night this week and next go out and see for yourself how the heavens above have their own seasons just as our Earth has below. Look first for the Summer Triangle west of overhead beginning its descent toward the western horizon, then look for autumn's Cassiopeia, in the northeast, and finally almost overhead, autumn's Great Square which the ancient Babylonians believed was the doorway to paradise. And if, indeed autumn is a visual paradise on Earth, how appropriate that this lovely portal to a cosmic paradise heralds in the loveliest of seasons. And as Jack always says, "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

#10-39 M

9/27/2010 thru 1/03/2010

"Say Farewell To Summer's Cosmic Triangle And Welcome To Autumn's Cosmic Square"

Horkheimer: Whenever the seasons change on Earth so too do the stars change overhead, thus the phrase "the stars of the season", which refers to the stars highest above the horizon in mid evening. And since autumn has just begun we can already see that change. In fact if you look just west of overhead at 10 p.m. you will see the three blazing hot stars of the Summer Triangle beginning their descent toward the horizon while replacing them almost overhead are the four much dimmer and softer stars which make up autumn's Great Square, which the ancient Babylonians believed was the portal to paradise. How appropriate that summer's bright triangle gives way to autumn's dimmer square because after all autumn is the softest and loveliest season of the year. 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


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