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 12/29/97

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 009-I


1048th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 1/5/98 through Sunday 1/11/98

The Crazy Carousel Ride of The Charbroiled Planet


Greetings! Greetings! Fellow stargazers and while I was thumbing through the new Old Farmer's Almanac I stumbled across the best description I've ever heard of the first planet out from the Sun. Indeed it referred to Mercury, the planet closest to the Sun, as charbroiled and on a carousel ride. And since Mercury's daytime temperature is over 700 degrees Fahrenheit, charbroiled describes it quite well. As for the Carousel ride part? Well if I can expound upon the description of Mercury's orbit as seen from Earth I think you'll be able to understand why Mercury pops in and out of Earth's skies so many times during the year, appearing alternately as a morning star and then as an evening star several times every year, the reason being that Mercury makes one orbit around the Sun every 88 Earth days which means that Mercury makes over 4 trips around the Sun for every one the Earth makes. So from our viewpoint Mercury is usually too close to be seen. The only times we see it is when it is at its farthest points east and west of the Sun. Now when it is at its farthest eastern point point from the Sun we see it after the Sun sets as an evening star. But when it's at its farthest point west of the Sun we see it as the morning star. And whenever it makes an appearance it is rarely visible for more than two weeks at a time. Now if we could plot Mercury's farthest Eastern and Western points from the Sun as it races along in its 88 day orbit, it would look something like this for 1998. The first two weeks of January it is a morning star, seen just before sunrise. Then it zooms too close to the Sun to be seen from Earth and reappears as an evening star during the last two weeks of March. Then in late April and May it appears once again as a morning star. However for viewers in the Northern hemisphere it will be almost impossible to see because of the angle of its orbit. Continuing its carousel ride it next appears as an evening star the first couple weeks of July and then zooming toward the Sun once again it disappears for a few weeks and reappears as a morning star from the end of August through mid-September. Then once again plunges out of sight and reappears as an evening star in late October. But once again we in the Northern hemisphere will not be able to see it. Then finally it will make its last appearance of the year as a morning star from mid December through the first few days of 1999. And guess what? Right now, through the end of this week, Mercury is making a very nice appearance as a morning star. And to find this charbroiled 3 thousand mile wide planet bobbing in and out of Earth's skies like a horse on a carousel, simply go outside about an hour before sunrise, look southeast and if you have a clear flat unobstructed horizon, there you'll see it. A planet that has more ups and downs than Wall Street, but which is however, far more predictable. And yet another good reason 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 12/29/97

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 010-I


1049th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 1/12/98 through Sunday 1/18/98

"The Biggest Grand Scootchie of the Planets Of '98"


Horkheimer: Greetings, Greetings fellow stargazers and OK, I know that some of you real serious astronomy types get your telescopes all in an uproar whenever I create my own astronomical terms for happenings in the heavens. But golly, folks, if astronomy can't be fun then why even bother ? You see, for the past 20 years whenever a couple of planets come real close together I always say that they scootchie up real close. And whenever they get super-close to each other I then say we're in for a grand scootchie. But to be serious whenever two planets come fairly close visually as seen from Earth, astronomers say that the two planets are in conjunction, or if they're super close, in a grand conjunction. But the term conjunction is really only good for the one day or night when the planets are at their closest. I like to watch it all, from the planets slowly scootchieing up on each other to their finally meeting and their slow parting, the de-scootchie, so to speak. And believe me, if you start watching Jupiter and Mars from this week to the 20th you are going to witness the grandest scootchie-up for the entire year of 1988. Let me show you: O.K., we're looking at the skies just as it starts to get dark out, Sunday night, January 11th facing West/Southwest, where you will see brilliant 88 thousand mile Jupiter only five degrees away from dim, 4 thousand mile wide Mars which means that we could fit only 10 Full Moons between them. But if you watch the next week and a half you will see the two of them slowly creep up on each other until on Tuesday night, January 20th they will be closer than any two planets get for the entire year. Let's do some time lapse. O.K., Monday, January 12th, Tuesday, the 13th, Wednesday the 14th and Thursday the 15th when they will be only 3 degrees apart and six Full Moon widths could fit between them. Then on the next night they really close in on each other and will be less than 2 degrees apart, only 4 Full Moons could fit between them. On Sunday the 18th, only 2 1/2 Full Moons could fit between them; Monday the 19th only 1 1/2 Full Moons and Ta Da! on Tuesday January 20th, night of the grand scootchie, or conjunction, Mars will be only 2/10ths of one degree away from Jupiter which means, since you've probably already figured out that a Full Moon is 1/2 a degree wide, that less than half a Full Moon could be slipped between them. Wow! This is going to be a sight. Please, please don't miss this because you won't see them this close together again until January 6, 2018. And if you happen to have a pair of binoculars you should be able to see the discs of these planets and the differences in their colors. And if you have a small cheap telescope you'll see 3, maybe 4 of Jupiter's 4 largest Moons alongside the 2 scootchied up planets. Then for the next few days watch these two planets say farewell and slowly drift apart. It's almost as much fun as watching them come together and one more good reason 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 12/29/97

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 #011-I


1050th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 1/19/98 through Sunday 1/25/98

Don't Look Now, But There's A UFO In Your Morning Coffee


Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings, fellow star gazers, and once again UFO Season officially opens this week because believe me that whenever a certain thing happens in the heavens, UFO reports come in from all over. Let me show you: O.K., we've got our skies set up for Tuesday morning this week, about half an hour before sunrise facing East/Southeast and if you have an absolutely clear flat horizon, unobstructed by trees or buildings you will see a very bright UFO-like light hovering along the horizon and to its right a much dimmer light which we can identify as the planet Mercury. And the next day, Wednesday morning, just before dawn our bright UFO light will hover just a little bit higher above the horizon while planet Mercury dips just a little bit lower. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday the same scenario and on Sunday the two will be joined by a lovely crescent Moon. Then on Monday an absolutely exquisite pairing of a very old crescent Moon and an even higher UFO. And some time from Thursday the 20th through the end of January UFO reports will come in. And it's easy to understand why because our UFO is really the planet Venus, the brightest planet in the heavens. And because it keeps switching its appearance from that of a morning star to an evening star and back again, whenever it makes it reappearance in either evening or morning it usually takes takes people unawares. And several factors, not the least of which is called auto kinesis sometimes make Venus appear to move back and forth and up and down in a most un-planet-like but UFO-like fashion. And so, people are rightly fooled. In fact, if you stare at Venus long enough you just may be able to see for yourself it seem to wander up and down or sideways. And although some people think it's funny that other people mistake Venus for a UFO, don't be too hard on anybody because it's a perfectly natural mistake. In fact a few years ago a railroad engineer actually brought his train to a screeching halt when he saw Venus slowly rise in the early dawn in the distance over the middle of the tracks and he thought that he was staring straight into the headlight of an on-coming train. And it gets even better. Because one Naval admiral was very embarrassed by the fact that he actually ordered his ship to fire on Venus. Indeed, every large city probably has records on file of patrol cars being sent out to investigate Venus when it hovers near the horizon. In fact, it is even rumored that jets were once scrambled to chase after the supposed intruder into our air space. But intruder it is not. Indeed, it is 25 million miles away from us this week and if it were sentient and had a sense of humor it would probably smile at us Earthlings who are so frequently fooled and frightened by its comings and goings. So get thee outside some morning just before dawn this week to see an IFO, an Identified Flying Object just before sunrise in the East/Southeast and prove to yourself that it's really fun 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 12/29/97

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 #012-I


1051st Show

To Be Aired : Monday 1/26/98 through Sunday 2/1/98

How To Find Saturn And The Winter Triangle

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings, fellow star gazers, and for those of you who have difficulty finding naked-eye planets, well every once in a while our Moon most graciously lends a helping hand and acts, so to speak, as a celestial pointer. And such is the case this Sunday night, February 1st when a wonderful crescent Moon will place itself right alongside the 6th planet out from the Sun, the beautiful ringed planet Saturn. Let me show you: O.K., we've got our skies set up for the end of this week, Thursday night the 29th at dusk, just as it starts to get dark out, looking West/ Southwest where you will see an exquisite slender crescent Moon cozied right up next to dim, dim Mars. So we're using our Moon first to locate Mars which is very difficult to find right now because it is so dim. And below Mars and the Moon, brilliant Jupiter. Friday at dusk the Moon will have moved quite a bit beyond Mars and Jupiter and even farther beyond on Saturday the 31st. But on February 1st, Wow! The crescent Moon will be so close to Saturn it almost seems to be saying: "Here's the ringed planet. If you've never found it before, now's your chance." So, don't miss this easy way to find Saturn by using the Moon just as it starts to get dark Sunday night, February 1st. And while you're out there consider this: while our Moon is a dinky 2 thousand miles wide and only a quarter million miles away, Saturn, from one side of its ring system to the other is 176 thousand miles wide which means that we could line 88 of our Moons up side by side from one edge of its rings to the other. And talk about distance, it is currently 908 million miles away. And if you have a pair of binoculars use them Sunday night. Now while you're out there you may notice that the Southwest sky has practically no bright stars in it whatsoever. But if you look over to the Southeast the situation will be much different. Indeed, the brightest stars of the entire year will seem to be all huddled together in a group in the Southeast; the stars of Orion the Hunter, Canis Major, the Big Dog and Canis Minor, the Small Dog. And just as Summer has its Summer Triangle of 3 bright stars, so too does Winter have its Winter Triangle, although its three stars are much brighter than those of Summer's triangle. to find them start with the brightest star in the heavens, Sirius in Canis Major, close to the horizon, draw a line Eastward to connect with Procyon, the brightest star of Canis Minor and draw another line up to the bright red star, Betelgeuse, in the shoulder of Orion, and another line back down once again to Sirius. And there you have an absolutely perfect equilateral triangle of extremely bright stars. So, get thee outside to watch the Moon approach and visit Saturn on February 1st and delight in the brightest triangle in the heavens which Winter's clear crisp skies bring us every year. It's easy, 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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