Jack Horkheimer: Star Gazer
Star Gazers is a five-minute astronomy
Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth...

 show on public television
Public broadcasting
Public broadcasting includes radio, television and other electronic media outlets whose primary mission is public service. Public broadcasters receive funding from diverse sources including license fees, individual contributions, public financing and commercial financing.Public broadcasting may be...

 previously hosted by Jack Foley Horkheimer
Jack Horkheimer
Jack Horkheimer, born Foley Arthur Horkheimer , was the executive director of the Miami Space Transit Planetarium. He was best known for his astronomy show Jack Horkheimer: Star Gazer, which started airing on PBS on November 4, 1976.-Early life:Jack Horkheimer was born in 1938 to a wealthy family...

, executive director of the Miami Space Transit Planetarium
Miami Science Museum
The Miami Science Museum is an attraction located in the city of Miami, Florida USA. The museum itself also contains the Space-Transit Planetarium, Weintraub Observatory and a wildlife center. The museum is currently working to transplant the museum from its current location to Park West at...

. A series of guest astronomers hosted until 2011, when Dean Regas, James Albury and Marlene Hidalgo became permanent co-hosts. On the weekly program, the host informs the viewer of significant astronomical
Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth...

 events for the upcoming week, including key constellations, stars and planets, lunar eclipse
Lunar eclipse
A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes behind the Earth so that the Earth blocks the Sun's rays from striking the Moon. This can occur only when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are aligned exactly, or very closely so, with the Earth in the middle. Hence, a lunar eclipse can only occur the night of a...

s and conjunctions, as well as historical and scientific information about these events.

The program is available free to all Public Broadcasting Service
Public Broadcasting Service
The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

 (PBS) Public television stations, educational institutions and astronomy clubs. A month of episodes can be recorded from a satellite feed which occurs approximately two weeks before the official broadcast dates.


In 1964, Jack Horkheimer started working at the Miami Space Transit Planetarium for the Miami Museum of Science after meeting the museum's president, Arthur Smith. By the early 1970s, he was appearing on news programs talking about astronomy. He was approached by Florida's PBS affiliate, WPBT
WPBT is a PBS member public television station that serves the entire South Florida region, and even including portions of the Treasure Coast, the only television station to serve the entire metropolis...

, to do a series of half-hour programs about astronomy titled, Horkheimer's Heavens. Horkheimer agreed on the condition that WPBT help him create a series of 5-minute shows on stargazing. This was the beginning of Jack Horkheimer: Star Hustler.

The show debuted on November 6, 1976 on Florida public television. From 1976 until 1985, the show was very studious, with Horkheimer being calm and speaking quietly like an educator rather than an entertainer. This changed in 1985 after the show's executive producer, Ed Waglin, told Horkheimer that he needed to appeal to a general audience, rather than to astronomers.

In May 1985, the show went national, being broadcast on PBS stations around the United States with the enthusiastic Horkheimer that most people are familiar with. For the first two years of the national broadcast, Horkheimer hated the show and would not watch it, saying, "Well this is certainly different from any Jack Horkheimer that I know." After that, Horkheimer realized that he was playing a character in order to generate enthusiasm for the show. The show started broadcasting in foreign markets in 1989.

From its inception until 1997, the show was named Jack Horkheimer: Star Hustler. With the rise of the Internet, however, viewers let the show's producers and WPBT know that, instead of the program's web site showing up at the top of search results, search engine
Search engine
A search engine is an information retrieval system designed to help find information stored on a computer system. The search results are usually presented in a list and are commonly called hits. Search engines help to minimize the time required to find information and the amount of information...

s were giving results for the Hustler
Hustler is a monthly pornographic magazine aimed at men and published in the United States. It was first published in 1974 by Larry Flynt. It was a step forward from the Hustler Newsletter which was cheap advertising for his strip club businesses at the time. The magazine grew from a shaky start to...

adult magazine. As a result, the producers renamed the show Star Gazer to avert any confusion, accidental or purposeful.

On August 20, 2010, Jack Horkheimer died. For more than a year after Horkheimer's death, the program continued to be produced under the title Jack Horkheimer: Star Hustler, using the same opening sequence which featured Jack Horkheimer's name and face. During that time, the program continued to use the same format with a series of guest hosts filling in for Horkheimer.

The show's theme music from its debut in 1976 until October 2011 was Isao Tomita
Isao Tomita
, often known simply as Tomita, is a Japanese music composer, regarded as one of the pioneers of electronic music and space music, and as one of the most famous producers of analog synthesizer arrangements...

's electronic rendition of Claude Debussy
Claude Debussy
Claude-Achille Debussy was a French composer. Along with Maurice Ravel, he was one of the most prominent figures working within the field of impressionist music, though he himself intensely disliked the term when applied to his compositions...

's Arabesque No. 1
Arabesques (Debussy)
The Two Arabesques , L. 66, is a pair of arabesques composed by Claude Debussy. They are two of Debussy's earliest works, composed between the years 1888 and 1891, when he was still in his twenties....

, from Tomita's album Snowflakes Are Dancing
Snowflakes are Dancing
Snowflakes Are Dancing is an electronic music album by Isao Tomita, recorded in 1974 and first released as a Quadradisc in April. The album consists entirely of Tomita's arrangements of Claude Debussy's "tone paintings", performed by Tomita on a Moog synthesizer...

. According to the former Star Gazer website, this is the most frequently asked question the producers receive.

On October 3, 2011, the program's name was changed to Star Gazers. The show's new opening sequence featured a new logo and new theme music done in a alternative/progressive/space rock style (like Muse
Muse (band)
Muse are an English alternative rock band from Teignmouth, Devon, formed in 1994. The band consists of school friends Matthew Bellamy , Christopher Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard...

). With the name change, the program's format was also changed to include two co-hosts who appeared together in each episode. A new website for the show was launched as well. The show still retains the old format of the show using Green Screens, and still ends with Horkeimer's closing phrase; "Keep Looking Up."


The show educates viewers about astronomical events for the coming week and about astronomy and astronomical history in general. Viewers learn about various constellations
Constellations: An International Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal of critical and democratic theory and successor of Praxis International. It is edited by Andrew Arato, Amy Allen, and Andreas Kalyvas...

 and how to find different stars. Horkheimer used catchy phrases to help viewers remember the procedures for locating astronomical bodies. "Arc to Arcturus, speed on to Spica", was a common phrase used to define the technique to find Arcturus and Spica
Spica is the brightest star in the constellation Virgo, and the 15th brightest star in the nighttime sky. It is 260 light years distant from Earth...

 using the handle of the Big Dipper
Big Dipper
The Plough, also known as the Big Dipper or the Saptarishi , is an asterism of seven stars that has been recognized as a distinct grouping in many cultures from time immemorial...

. Following the arc of the handle will lead to Arcturus as shown in the diagram.

Another method Horkheimer used to teach viewers about the stars was to tell stories about them. The Pleiades
Pleiades (star cluster)
In astronomy, the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters , is an open star cluster containing middle-aged hot B-type stars located in the constellation of Taurus. It is among the nearest star clusters to Earth and is the cluster most obvious to the naked eye in the night sky...

, also known as the seven sisters, was a constellation he would tell stories about. Stars with unique names, such as Zubenelgenubi and Zubeneschamali were also used in the shows to help inform the viewers.

When astronomical events were in the news, Horkheimer would speak of them, giving viewers much more detailed information. When Comet Hale-Bopp
Comet Hale-Bopp
Comet Hale–Bopp was perhaps the most widely observed comet of the 20th century, and one of the brightest seen for many decades...

 arrived in 1997 and when Halley's comet was visible in 1986, he did shows about them. In 1997, specific shows were made when Mars Pathfinder
Mars Pathfinder
Mars Pathfinder was an American spacecraft that landed a base station with roving probe on Mars in 1997. It consisted of a lander, renamed the Carl Sagan Memorial Station, and a lightweight wheeled robotic rover named Sojourner.Launched on December 4, 1996 by NASA aboard a Delta II booster a...

 landed on Mars
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. It is often described as the "Red Planet", as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance...

 and when the spacecraft Galileo orbited Jupiter
Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest planet within the Solar System. It is a gas giant with mass one-thousandth that of the Sun but is two and a half times the mass of all the other planets in our Solar System combined. Jupiter is classified as a gas giant along with Saturn,...

, both of which were major headlines in the news.

The show has many catchphrases that viewers associate with Jack Horkheimer. Horkheimer's appearances on the show are always marked with his opening line, "Greetings, greetings, fellow star gazers!" and his signature closing line, "Keep looking up!" These are the most widely recognizable quotes from the show but there were also others in common usage throughout the series.

Horkheimer used "So get thee outside..." to encourage viewers to watch the stars. When describing the heavens he would often say "Let me show you." When introducing a picture of the night sky, he would often say, "O.K., we've got our skies set up for..." and then add a date and time.

As Star Hustler, each episode began with the announcer reciting this poem as the host walks onto the set:


The show is produced in advance and one month of episodes is transmitted to PBS stations and others approximately two weeks prior to broadcast. The show is broadcast on over 200 PBS stations. It is also available on NASA's
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 Central Operation of Resources for Educators, Worldnet and the Armed Forces Network. Individuals can download the show free from the official website, view the program on YouTube or watch podcast
A podcast is a series of digital media files that are released episodically and often downloaded through web syndication...

s via Apple's iTunes Store
ITunes Store
The iTunes Store is a software-based online digital media store operated by Apple. Opening as the iTunes Music Store on April 28, 2003, with over 200,000 items to purchase, it is, as of April 2008, the number-one music vendor in the United States...


It was originally designed to air on PBS stations just before sign-off, but since many PBS stations now stay on the air continuously, the show is often aired in between other shows. Additionally, WPBT now provides a one-minute "capsule" version of each episode with a brief summary of the week's events.

Episodes usually feature Horkheimer in front of a green screen
Green Screen
The Green Screen international wildlife film festival is held annually in Eckernförde, Germany. The festival shows full-length and short nature documentaries about animals in their natural habitat. It is the only festival of its kind in Germany...

, where he appears to sit on top of a planetary ring on one side of the screen. Horkheimer then uses the screen to illustrate starfields and diagrams appropriate to his subject.


Jack Horkheimer
Jack Horkheimer
Jack Horkheimer, born Foley Arthur Horkheimer , was the executive director of the Miami Space Transit Planetarium. He was best known for his astronomy show Jack Horkheimer: Star Gazer, which started airing on PBS on November 4, 1976.-Early life:Jack Horkheimer was born in 1938 to a wealthy family...

 was the creator, writer and original host of the series until his death on August 20, 2010. Horkheimer created the series in 1976 in cooperation with WPBT. He had been creating presentations for the Miami Space Transit Planetarium when he started the series. Horkheimer often appeared on news programs to host astronomical events.

Jack Horkheimer's final broadcast was for the week of August 30 to September 5, 2010, and can be seen at . The show was his 1,708th episode and was titled, Celebrate Labor Day The Cosmic Way With A Giant Triangle Of Stars Overhead. The show was recorded approximately one month before Horkheimer's death.

Chris Trigg, the Energy Officer at the Miami Science Museum, temporarily took over the position as special guest host while Horkheimer was ill. Horkheimer had previously written episodes for the entire month of September 2010. Trigg stepped in and taped the episodes for that month to keep the show running. His first episode was the show's 1,709th titled, "Mercury In The Morning And Jupiter At Night", and can be seen at .

After Horkheimer's death, Trigg took over the position as host and recorded episodes for the months of October and November of 2010. The episodes were written and produced by Bill Dishong. The episodes were uploaded to YouTube on September 22, 2010 and can be seen at the Miami Science Museum's channel here .

Jack Kelly, Vice President for Production at WPBT, announced in November 2010 that a national search for a new host would start in December 2010. Dean Regas of the Mount Lookout observatory in Cincinnati was the first to try out and, in November 2010, filmed episodes for the month of December. Regas was given topics for future shows and asked to write scripts for the January shows of 2011. Regas went back in December and filmed the January episodes. Ed Romano, an amateur astronomer from Rhode Island, hosted the February 2011 episodes. James Albury, Coordinator of the Kika Silva Pla Planetarium
Kika Silva Pla Planetarium
The Kika Silva Pla Planetarium is a 34-foot in diameter, domed theater that seats 60 people. The planetarium uses two projection systems. A SciDome digital projection system produced by Spitz Inc. and an optical-mechanical Chronos Space Simulator manufactured by Goto...

 at Santa Fe College, was the host for the month of April. Dean Regas returned as host for the months of March and May 2011.

In June 2011, Regas and Albury were named as permanent co-hosts. The September 2011 episodes ended with the announcement that the program would be appearing in October 2011 with the new name, "Star Gazers" and the new website stargazersonline.org. Marlene Hidalgo will join the program as co-host in October 2011.


There have been 36 seasons of Jack Horkheimer: Star Gazer and the show has produced more than 1,750 episodes as of July 2011. Horkheimer's last season was 2010 and he had hosted 1,708 episodes at that point.

See also

  • The Sky at Night
    The Sky at Night
    The Sky at Night is a monthly documentary television programme on astronomy produced by the BBC. The show has had the same permanent presenter, Sir Patrick Moore, from its first airing on 24 April 1957, making it the longest-running programme with the same presenter in television history.The...

  • StarDate (radio)
    StarDate (radio)
    StarDate is a science radio program of the University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory.The show began in 1976 as a astronomy telephone message service established by science journalist Deborah Byrd. This evolved at Austin radio station KLBJ-FM into the daily radio program Have You Seen the...

    , a daily syndicated radio show highlighting upcoming celestial events

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.