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 2/23/98

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 017-I


1056th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 3/2/98 through Sunday 3/8/98

'In Like A Lion, Out Like A Lamb, and

How To Find Them In March's Skies'


Greetings! Greetings! Fellow stargazers and boy, don't you just love Spring? I mean, although I really love the brilliant stars of Winter, I also really look forward to the soft muted stars of Spring that echo the gentle colors of Earth's landscape in early Spring. And you know, I have always been fascinated by folklore, especially phrases that we learn during childhood and repeat all our lives and frequently have little or no idea where they come from. For instance, I'm sure all of you have heard that old phrase that if March weather comes in like a lion it'll go out like a lamb and vice versa. But have you ever wondered where this phrase came from? Well my astronomical colleague, Guy Ottewell, who produces a wonderful yearly astronomical calendar, has long suggested that maybe this phrase got its imagery from the heavens. Let's take a look: O.K., we've got our skies set up for the first day of March any year, about 8 P.M. your local time. And if you are far from city lights and you go outside and look toward the Northwest you will see the dim stars that make up Aries, the Ram, or Lamb. But if you look almost opposite, about the same height above the horizon in the Northeast you'll see the constellation Leo, the Lion. So, here we have wonderful night sky images that match our phrase, a lion and a lamb, both about the same height above the horizon in early evening on the first of March. But what will you see if you go out at the same time after a month has passed, on March 31st? Well, quite a different story, because on March 31st at 8 p.m. the lion will be almost overhead and the lamb will be smack dab on the western horizon. Now we all know that usually the weather at the end of March is milder than the weather at the beginning of March so our skies at 8 p.m. on the last day of March with the lamb setting support the fact that March is going out like a lamb. However if we turn our skies back to March 1st, 8 p.m. we see that the Lion is rising into the night sky at the beginning of March which supports the fact that March usually begins with fiercer weather...'comes in like a lion'. So perhaps long ago someone tied this all together noticing that on the first day of March Leo the Lion was rising up into the heavens whereas at the end of March Aries, the Lamb, was leaving them, and thus decided to poetically link them both to the weather aand came up with that old phrase, simply borrowing from the heavens in an attempt to correlate the seasonal changing of the constellations with the seasonal changing of the weather. But as far as astronomers are concerned March will always come in with Leo the Lion rising and will always go out with Aries the Lamb setting. Whatever, may you always have clear skies in March for viewing the Lion and the Lamb, which is easy if you 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 2/23/98

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 018-I


1057th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 3/9/98 through Sunday 3/15/98

"Mercury At Its Best For '98, Its Slow Dance With Saturn and Mars,

Plus A Venus/Moon Supershot"


Horkheimer: Greetings, Greetings fellow stargazers and yes indeed, Mercury will make its best appearance for 1998 for about ten days from the end of this week, Sunday the 15th, through Tuesday the 24th, although depending on where you live you'll still be able to see it, although less than at its optimum, from the beginning of this week through the end of the month. And the nifty part is that it will do a wonderful slow dance with the planets Saturn and Mars. Let me show you: O.K., we've got our skies set up for this Sunday night, the 15th and if you go out right after it gets dark out, at dusk, and look due west you will be able to see tiny 3 thousand mile wide Mercury and just above it to its left humongous 75 thousand mile wide Saturn. And if you've got really clear skies and an unobstructed horizon you just may be able to glimpse the very dim 4 thousand mile wide Mars. And over the next few nights if you pay close attention and go out at the same time at dusk you will be able to watch these 3, but especially Saturn and Mercury as they slowly shift their positions in the heavens night after night. Monday the 16th, Tuesday the 17th, Wednesday the 18th, Thursday the 19th, Friday the 20th, (which is the first day of Spring) and Saturday the 21st when Mercury and Saturn will be at their closest, only 5 degrees apart which means we could slip only 10 Full Moons between them. Then on Sunday the 22nd the planets will form an exquisite isoceles triangle. However throughout the next week Mercury will slowly sink closer to the horizon and become dimmer and less easy to view. Monday the 23rd, Tuesday the 24th, Wednesday the the 25th, Thursday the 26th, Friday the 27th and Ta Da! if you have a really clear unobstructed horizon on Saturday the 28th you will be able to see an exquisite very young crescent Moon joining the trio. On Sunday the 29th, an even more exquisite crescent Moon will pass the trio almost like a celestial signpost saying 'So long, Saturn, Mercury and Mars, it's been good to know ya.' So starting this week watch this slow dance of Saturn, Mercury and Mars during Mercury's best appearance of the year! But for you early birds if you go outside about 45 minutes or so before sunrise, Monday the 23rd and look Southeast you will see an old crescent Moon poised in the heavens just to the right of dazzling 8 thousand mile wide Venus, signaling to the whole world that on the next morning, Tuesday the 24th it will be snuggled up along side Venus in what can only be described by a photographer as a super shot opportunity. Don't miss Tuesday the 24th just before sunrise. So there you have it, Mercury at its best doing a slow dance with Saturn and Mars and an exquisite Venus and Crescent Moon on the 24th. What better reason do you need 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 2/23/98

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 019-I


1058th Show
To Be Aired : Monday 3/16/98 through Sunday 3/22/98

Friends, Romans, Countrymen, Lend Me Your 'Year'...

(New Year, That Is)

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings, fellow star gazers, and Happy New Year, a belated Happy New Year that is, about 2200 years late, for if this is the month of March, this is the month of the Vernal Equinox, the First Day of Spring, and thus the beginning of the new year, at least in ancient Rome until 153 B.C. You see, before 153 B.C., March 25th, the date of the Vernal Equinox back then, was the beginning of the Roman new year. And even the name for the month stood for the beginning of things new, March being named for mars, the god and planet in charge of the new year's growth, who at that time had not yet been declared the god of war. So, long before Julius Caesar got his on the Ides of March, all Roman citizens were used to wishing each other Happy New Year on what we call the First Day of Spring. Makes sense to me. After all, why begin the year in January when days are shortest, nights longest and weather coldest? Why indeed? I'm glad you asked me that. You see, it seems that some Roman senators got the idea that the day after elections, the day when the Roman consuls assumed their new positions would be better suited as the beginning of the new order of things and since that day was January 1st, they shoved New Years Day back from March 25th. So the real reason we celebrate January 1st as the beginning of our New Year today is simply because of ancient Roman politics. And if I'd a been around at that time I'd have been mad as a March Hare because the the Equinox is a wonderful astronomical moment in time to begin the new year for it is the precise moment in time when our Sun lies smack dab on the Celestial Equator and begins its ascent into the Northern Celestial Hemisphere and that precise moment, the first moment of Spring, occurs this week at 2:55 p.m., EST on Friday the 20th. Now one of the fascinating things that has happened for thousands of years past and will happen for thousands of years hence is that the Sun always rises due East and sets due West on, and for a few days before and after, the Equinox. So that if you were driving your Roman chariot to work on a due East highway during the week of the Equinox at sunrise you would see the Sun rise directly over the yellow line in the middle of your ancient Roman road. Likewise if you're driving your 20th century chariot on a due East highway at sunrise at the time of the Equinox you'll also see the Sun rise over the yellow line. And vice versa, going home in your chariot due West at sunset you'll see the Sun set over the yellow line; which leads one to speculate that perhaps the real reason the Roman senators moved the New Year to January from March was to ensure that those Romans who partied too much on New Year's Eve would not be blinded by the rising Sun as they drove their horses home. What ever, have a great First Day of Spring this week on Friday the 20th! Get out those shades as you drive to and from work, and whatever you do 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 2/23/98

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 020-I


1059th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 3/23/98 through Sunday 3/29/98

The Strange Case Of The Brightest Star We See The Most Often

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings, fellow star gazers, and before you all shout Sirius as the brightest star we see the most, let me just say guess again because while the star Sirius is the brightest star we can see with the naked eye from planet Earth, there is another star, not quite as bright, in fact it is only the 6th brightest star in the sky, but it is indeed the brightest star we see most often in the heavens from the Northern Hemisphere. That is simply because it is the brightest star closest to the pole star, the North Star. Consequently it is visible more nights of the year from the Northern Hemisphere than any other bright star. Let me show you: O.K., we've got our skies set up so that we're facing due North any early Spring evening between the hours of 8 and 10. And to find this brightest star we see in the sky more than any other bright star simply locate the Big Dipper, then shoot an imaginary arrow through the 2 stars that mark the rim of the cup in the direction away from the handle, and your arrow will land smack dab on the bright yellow star named Capella which is the brightest star of the constellation Auriga, the Charioteer. But Capella means ' The Goat Star'. You see, long ago, Auriga was depicted as both a charioteer and as a goat herder. In fact, you can see that Capella is the mother of the herd and her 3 kid goats are very close by. At any rate while the concept of a goat in the heavens isn't all that poetic to me, nevertheless the true nature of Capella as a celestial object is absolutely wonderful. Although it looks yellowish to the naked eye, and although through even the greatest telescope on Earth it appears as a single star, nothing could be farther from the truth. Indeed, back in 1899 an instrument called a spectroscope revealed that Capella is two stars, each several times larger than our Sun, separated by only 70 million miles. But a few years later two more stars were discovered, two tiny red dwarf stars orbiting almost 1/5 of a light year away. So when we look up at Capella we are actually seeing two giant yellow stars orbiting each other and two red dwarf stars orbiting each other. And if you'd like to make a scale model, the late Robert Burnham, Jr. says that the two giant yellow stars would be two globes 13 and 7 inches in diameter, about 10 feet apart but that the two red dwarfs would be only 3/4 of an inch in diameter, 420 feet apart. And at this scale, 21 miles would separate the dwarfs from the giants. Wow! So go outside any clear Spring night between the hours of 8 and 10 and shoot an arrow through the cup stars of the Big Dipper to the wondrous quadruple star system we see as a single star, Capella. How marvelous it is 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 2/23/98

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 021-I


1060th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 3/30/98 through Sunday 4/5/98

Prepare For The Most Spectacular Celestial Gathering Of The Year!!!

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings, fellow star gazers, and if you only go out star gazing once this entire year, make sure that it's during this month just before dawn on April 22nd, 23rd and 24th. And most especially Thursday the 23rd when you will see what will indeed be the most spectacular gathering of the 3 brightest night time objects in the heavens, a gathering which, according to some astronomers will be one of the most stunning conjunctions of the Moon, Venus and Jupiter in many years. And to really enjoy it you should begin a Venus/Jupiter watch now. Let me show you: O.K., we've got our skies set up for Wednesday morning April 1st, no foolin' just before dawn facing East/ Southeast where you will see the absolutely brilliant 8 thousand mile wide second planet out from the Sun, Venus and to its lower left, 88 thousand mile wide, and also brilliant, Jupiter, only 18 degrees apart which means that we could line up 36 Full Moons end to end between them. But if you watch morning after morning at the same time just before sunrise you will see Jupiter rise higher and higher in the heavens and inch closer and closer to Venus. And keep in mind that two Full Moons lines up end to end equal 1 degree. O.K.? Thursday, April 2nd, Friday, April 3rd, Saturday, April 4th and Sunday April 5th, only 15 degrees apart. Monday the 6th, Tuesday the 7th, Wednesday the 8th, Thursday the 9th, Friday the 10th, then on Saturday the 11th only 10 degrees apart. Sunday the 12th, Monday the 13th, Tuesday the 14th, Wednesday the 15th, Thursday the 16th and on Friday the 17th we'll start going in for the kill as these two beauties will be only 5 degrees apart. Saturday the 18th only 4 degrees and on Sunday the 19th only 3 degrees, Monday the 20th 2 degrees and Tuesday the 21st only 1 1/2 degrees apart and to their right an exquisite crescent Moon appears to be drifting toward them. On Wednesday the 22nd only 6/10 of a degree apart and an even more exquisite crescent moon appears closer and then , ta da! Thursday morning, April 23rd celestial fanfare should surely accompany this scene because as you look East/Southeast half an hour to an hour before sunrise Venus and Jupiter will be a mere half a degree apart and an absolutely exquisite crescent Moon will join them forming one of the most spectacular gathering of the three brightest night time objects you will ever see. Boy, I really can't say enough about how much I want all of you out there to see this. I mean it will be truly spectacular. So start your Jupiter/Venus watch right now. Feel the cosmic excitement build day after day. After all it's some of the grandest free entertainment you'll ever get and it's yours for the taking 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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