Naked Eye Astronomy for Parents

A little knowledge can make you into an astrophysicist in the eyes of your child. Jack Horkheimer is your inside guy for artificially inflating your intelligence.

I got to know Jack in my youth via our PBS TV station. His 5 minute show came on after Doctor Who and before the station went off the air, usually around 12:30 a.m. on Sundays. He’s an odd fellow, seemingly old with a bad comb-over, or maybe a toupee, or worse — his hair was real. And there was a certain rashness to his voice that was mesmerizing while you’re half asleep and he pummels you with naked eye astronomy information too fast to ever be useful. Naked eye? Yeah, looking at the night sky without a telescope.

Last week’s episode discusses Tuesday’s meteor shower:

Thank goodness in 2009 Jack is still here, still doing his show, and he still has the hair, albeit most likely dyed now. The only significant difference is his show used to be called Star Hustler and now he’s a tame Star Gazer. Apparently kids googling the phrase Star Hustler were seeing inappropriate content. No joke. It’s in Jack’s FAQ.

The great news is his show is on Youtube, so you can replay a sequence until you’ve assimilated the information into your cerebral cortex. Even better, the Leonid meteor shower is coming up Tuesday morning.

The bad news is that prime viewing time is after midnight. However, you’ll probably see at least one shooting star if you go out with your kid after sunset. And if not, it’s still cool to be sitting out under the night sky wrapped up warm looking at stars with your kid on your lap.

This week’s episode discusses Cassiopeia:


3 Responses to “Naked Eye Astronomy for Parents”

  1. Judy B says:

    I fondly remember his little filler show on PBS, and that theme music! Our 17 month old has recently become obsessed with the MOON, so maybe he’ll love Jack when he grows up too.

    November 16th, 2009 at 8:32 am

  2. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    Does this guy come out of Texas A&M? I think I vaguely remember him

    November 16th, 2009 at 10:17 am

  3. Mary says:

    Thanks for sharing. I remember watching the Leonid meteor shower back in high school. We talked about it in Physics class and I got permission to be outside early in the morning. It was cold, but pretty cool. Although, I really wish my parents would have let me get out of the city for better viewing.

    November 17th, 2009 at 6:43 am

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