STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION



STAR GAZER is seen nationally on most PBS stations. 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

Monday 1/26/98

10:30-11:00 a.m. Eastern Time

Schedule 5-B-5

GE 3

Transponder 512

Digital Only

 





Notice : These are working drafts of the scripts for STAR GAZER.

Changes may well be made as production requires.



STAR GAZER Episode #SG 013-I


1052nd Show

To Be Aired : Monday 2/2/98 through Sunday 2/8/98

'A Great Big Red Star For Valentine's Day :

About As Great And Big As It Gets!


Greetings! Greetings! Fellow stargazers and because the color red is always associated with Valentine's Day we thought we'd give you a special cosmic red Valentine, one which you can share with your loved one or even with your not-so-loved one if you choose. Let me show you: O.K., we've got our skies set up for any Valentine's Day night for any year as long as you live. And if you go out on any Valentine's Day night between the hours of 8 and 9, and look due South you'll see a very bright red star shining high above the horizon. Indeed it is the brightest red star we can see with the naked eye from planet Earth and just coincidentally reaches its highest point above the horizon on every Valentine's Day between the hours of 8 and 9 p.m. It marks the shoulder star of the great sky giant, Orion the Hunter and its name is 'Betelgeuse' which in Arabic means 'The Armpit' which isn't very romantic for Valentine's Day, but if you want to give your beloved a really big Valentine, well this is about as big a one as you'll ever find. You see if we do some comparison of Betelgeuse, our Valentine Star, with our own star the Sun and our own planet the Earth you'll understand why. Now we all know that our Earth is 8 thousand miles wide, pretty dinky compared to our Sun which is 865 thousand miles wide. But to really understand their differences in size just try to imagine that we could fit over one million Earth's inside our Sun. However to understand the size of Betelgeuse really takes a stretch because we could fit over 160 million of our Suns inside of it! When it's at its smallest size. And I say smallest size because Betelgeuse is one of those stars that changes its size regularly, like a humongous slowly pulsating heart that beats only once every six years. In fact when Betelgeuse is fully contracted and at its minimum size it is still about 500 times the diameter of our Sun. And when it expands to its maximum size it stretches to almost 900 times our Sun's width. Or if you care to think of it this way, if we could place Betelgeuse where our Sun is, at its minimum Betelgeuse would stretch out all the way past the orbits of Mercury, Venus, Earth, all the way to Mars, and at its maximum would reach all the way to Jupiter. Wow! So there you have it. A great big humongous Valentine for your sweetheart, courtesy of your neighborhood galaxy. And to see it simply go outside any clear Valentine's Night between 8 and 9 p.m., look due South and there you'll see it at its very highest above the horizon. But just to play it safe, and so as not to look like a cheapskate, I still recommend that you purchase that traditional box of chocolates. Besides, it will be great fun to eat by the light of the great Valentine's Star if you simply remember to Keep Looking Up!

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

For graphics for this script (Click) Here

 

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



 


STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION




STAR GAZER is seen nationally on most PBS stations. 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

Monday 1/26/98

10:30-11:00 a.m. Eastern Time

Schedule 5-B-5

GE 3

Transponder 512

Digital Only

 

 





Notice : These are working drafts of the scripts for STAR GAZER.

Changes may well be made as production requires.


 



STAR GAZER Episode #SG 014-I


1053rd Show

To Be Aired : Monday 2/9/98 through Sunday 2/15/98

"Sixteen Hundred Light Years Beyond :

A Journey To A Birthplace Of Stars"


Horkheimer: Greetings, Greetings fellow stargazers and how would you like to see one of the true wonders of the universe close up? Let me show you : O.K., we've got our skies set up so that we're facing due South any February, any year, in early evening, between the hours of 8 and 10 p.m. your local time and right in front of you, there you'll see him, the brightest star pattern of Winter, Orion the mighty Hunter, identifiable even to school children by his three equally spaced belt stars lined up in a row; 2 bright stars marking his shoulders; and 2 bright stars marking his knees. But it's not any of these stars which happens to be the favorite object of amateurs around the world. No indeed, it is the middle star of the three dim stars suspended below Orion's Belt which are popularly called the Sword Stars. But if you look very closely at the middle star of the sword it looks strange, kind of fuzzy. And no matter how hard you try to focus on it it won't appear as a sharp, crisp point of light. In fact, if you look at it with a pair of binoculars it will look slightly bigger but even fuzzier. But the strangeness of that middle sword star becomes even more apparent if we take a very long time exposure photograph of it through a good amateur telescope because what develops is truly mind blowing. Indeed, the middle sword star is not a star at all but a huge nursery of many stars born less than a million years ago with many more still cocooned in their embryonic gas clouds, yet awaiting birth; and called the Orion Nebula, is incredibly far away...16 hundred light years beyond which means when we look at it in our century we see the light that left it 16 centuries ago. And now let's take a journey just a few hundred light years out into space so we can get a closer look. And as we draw closer and closer and closer keep in mind that while our entire Solar System is less than one light day in diameter, this birth place of stars is 30 light years in diameter. That's more than 20 thousand times the diameter of our entire Solar System. There is enough gaseous star stuff here to make 10 thousand more stars like our Sun. And believe it or not only 4 newly born stars within it, spaced like a baseball diamond, light up all the surrounding gas from which new stars will be born. And although 16 hundred light years away is still so incredibly bright that even our ancestors noted that the middle star in the sword appeared not to be a star at all, but some strange kind of fuzzy light. So some time this February go outside between 8 and 10, look due South and contemplate this wonder of the universe that we in our time are privileged to be the first to truly understand. Wow! What a wonderful time to Keep Looking Up!

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

For graphics for this script (Click) Here

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


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




STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION




STAR GAZER is seen nationally on most PBS stations. 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

Monday 1/26/98

10:30-11:00 a.m. Eastern Time

Schedule 5-B-5

GE 3

Transponder 512

Digital Only

 





Notice : These are working drafts of the scripts for STAR GAZER.

Changes may well be made as production requires.


STAR GAZER Episode #SG 015-I


1054th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 2/16/98 through Sunday 2/22/98

A Venus/Moon Goodie and

A Preview Of Coming Summer Attractions


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings, fellow star gazers, and while Benjamin Franklin is reputed to have said "The Early Bird Get's The Worm", far more people have been reputed to say "So who wants a worm early in the morning anyway?" At any rate for those of you who are early risers we've got something much better than a worm for you. Indeed, if you've been getting up about an hour to an hour and a half before sunrise every morning for the past couple of weeks and looked over toward the southeast, then you've undoubtedly seen the dazzling brilliant light of the second planet out from the Sun,Venus which in itself is reason enough to get up early in the morning. But if you never get up early in the morning may I suggest that you mark one morning on your calendar to try it for a change, and that is Monday morning, February 23rd because if you get up one to two hours before sunrise and look Southeast February 23rd you will see an absolutely breathtaking pairing of an exquisite crescent Moon and the brightest planet of them all, Venus. And if you happen to have a pair of binoculars and can hold them real steady, or if you have a small telescope, you will even be able to see that Venus will display a crescent shape not unsimilar to that of the Moon's. But there the similarity ends because while our Moon is a 2 thousand mile wide world only one quarter of a million miles away, Venus on the other hand is an 8 thousand mile wide world and is 41 million miles away on the morning of Monday, February 23rd. And while you're out there if you look just to the right of this exquisite pairing of distant worlds you'll see a wonderful preview of coming summer attractions because slightly farther to the South you will see the familiar teapot-shaped portion of our old summer friend, Sagittarius, and to its right the exquisite, looks-just-like-its -name Scorpion-shaped pattern of stars called Scorpius with its bright red heart star Antares, which is not quite bright enough to be a match with Winter's exquisite Betelgeuse in the shoulder of Orion the Hunter. And just as a reminder for those of you who may have forgotten from our summer episodes just how big Antares really is, let me refresh your memory and tell you once again that the heart of Scorpius is a whopper, a true super giant among stars because while our own star The Sun, is so big we could fit over one million Venuses inside it, Antares is so huge we could fit over 216 million of our Sun's inside it. Or to put it another way, Antares would have room enough for 13 quadrillion of our Moons. Wow! So, there you have it. An absolutely awesome cosmic experience for the morning of Monday, February 23rd. A beautiful crescent Venus, an exquisite crescent Moon, plus a true super star of our local universe just waiting for you to become an early bird for just one morning. And you can forget the worm if you promise to remember to Keep Looking Up!

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

For graphics for this script (Click) Here


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

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




STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION




STAR GAZER is seen nationally on most PBS stations. 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

Monday 1/26/98

10:30-11:00 a.m. Eastern Time

Schedule 5-B-5

GE 3

Transponder 512

Digital Only





Notice : These are working drafts of the scripts for STAR GAZER.

Changes may well be made as production requires.


 

STAR GAZER Episode #SG 016-I


1055th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 2/23/98 through Sunday 3/1/98

The Moon and Saturn and

The New Year's Star Two Months Later

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings, fellow star gazers, and if you've ever had the good fortune to look through even the smallest, cheapest department store telescope at the 6th planet out from the Sun, the ringed planet Saturn, then like most people Saturn is probably your favorite planet. But if you're one of those who has a hard time finding the planets we can make it really easy for you this upcoming weekend because Saturday and Sunday nights, the 28th and the 1st, an exquisite crescent moon will float in the heavens close by each evening. Let me show you: O.K., we're looking west just after sunset, Saturday night, February 28th where you will see an exquisite 3 day old crescent Moon hovering in the heavens just below the ringed planet. And on Sunday night, March 1st, just after sunset, the 4 day old Moon will have gotten just slightly fatter and will hover above the 6th planet. Of course you won't be able to see the rings with the naked eye, but the exquisite pairing on each evening with the Moon will still provide a beautiful naked eye sight. Then if you wait for a couple of hours, go outside around 8 P.M. your local time and look due South where you will see directly above the Southern horizon our old friend Sirius, the brightest star visible from planet Earth, which I always call the New Year's Star because it is always due South and as high as it can get at midnight every New Year's Eve, like a bright beacon welcoming in the New Year. But now 2 months later, because of our Earth's rotation on its axis and its movement along its orbit around the Sun, the New Year's Eve Star reaches its highest point above the horizon 4 hours earlier at 8 o'clock your local time on March 1st. And although we tell you about the New Year's Eve Star every year, we never have enough time in that episode to tell you what this star is really all about. You see while our Sun is 865 thousand miles wide, Sirius is almost twice as wide. And talk about temperature! While our Sun's surface temperature is 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, Sirius is 18,000 degrees. So its much greater size and temperature actually make Sirius 25 times more luminous than our Sun. But another reason it shines so brightly is because among the naked eye stars it is the 3rd closest to us, the Sun being the 1st, Alpha Centauri being 2nd. In fact Sirius is only 8 1/2 light years away, just a hop, skip and a jump, astronomically speaking. But even more fascinating is the fact we know it is approaching us at a speed of over 4 1/2 miles per second. So will we ever collide? Not a chance, but because it is also moving sideways, in just the past 2 thousand years Sirius has changed its position in the sky about one and a half times the diameter of our own Moon. So, get thee outside this upcoming weekend for an exquisite two night pairing of our Moon and Saturn and at 8 o'clock look due South for a four hour earlier replay of the New Year's Eve Star. It's fun if you just Keep Looking Up!

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

For graphics for this script (Click) Here


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

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


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