South Florida PBS (WPBT and WXEL) signature series Star Gazers, the world’s only weekly television series on naked eye astronomy since 1976, will launch a new season on public television with a new host and university science partner beginning December 1, 2019.
Each weekly episode of Star Gazers educates viewers about astronomical events for the upcoming week that can be seen without the aid of a telescope, including key constellations, stars and planets, lunar eclipses and conjunctions, along with historical and scientific information about these events. The popular astronomy series has continued in distribution from South Florida PBS (originally as WPBT) since the beloved original award-winning series hosted by the late Miami Space Transit Planetarium executive director Jack Horkheimer. Since Horkheimer’s passing in 2010 Star Gazers has retained the spirit of accessible astronomy Horkheimer established, with the current hosts encouraging viewers to “Keep looking up!” at the close of each program.
“From the beginning, WPBT has brought Star Gazers to public television in partnership with Miami’s top astronomers, and South Florida PBS (WPBT and WXEL) is proud to continue that legacy nearly 50 years on,” said South Florida PBS’s president and CEO, Dolores Sukhdeo. “We couldn’t ask for better support in this endeavor than Dr. Ata Sarajedini and the team at Florida Atlantic University, or for a more enthusiastic guide for our viewers than Trace Dominguez.”
New series host Trace Dominguez is widely praised as an award-winning and inspiring science communicator, content creator and curiosity explorer. His decade of work as a science educator includes the launch of one of YouTube’s first daily science shows among his dozens of popular online channels dedicated to discovery; the Webby-winning launch of a 360-degree camera on a weather balloon to the stratosphere; and co-hosted segments with President Obama during the White House’s Science Week. Said Dominguez of his new role on Star Gazers as an ambassador of astronomy, “If it's out there, I'm looking for a better way to understand it - and I’m very excited to join my new friends in public television for this adventure.”
Series consultant Ata Sarajedini, Ph.D., Dean of the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science at Florida Atlantic University and Scientific Editor for the Journals of the American Astronomical Society, added, “Star Gazers is a unique opportunity for FAU to share our strengths as a research university in a way that benefits the community at large and opens up astronomy to everyone. We are grateful for this partnership with South Florida PBS and hope to expand upon it with future projects.” The award-winning astronomer has made extensive use of the Hubble Space Telescope and has an exceptional ‘h-index’ scholar score of 45 for scientific publication.
Star Gazers guides viewers to search the skies based on visibility in the eastern United States, but viewers across the country in different time zones can still benefit from the short episodes that public television stations air either between regularly scheduled programming or online. In addition to the weekly briefs on current events in the night sky, the series includes ‘evergreen’ segments about astronomical phenomena like black holes. The episodes may also be used as part of classroom teaching plans.
Major funding for Star Gazers is provided by The Batchelor Foundation; The William J. and Tina Rosenberg Foundation; and Trish and Dan Bell.
About South Florida PBS
South Florida PBS is Florida’s largest public media company, including Public Broadcasting stations WXEL, serving the Palm Beaches and WPBT, serving Miami-Dade and Broward counties. South Florida PBS connects organizations and institutions across our region and preserves South Florida's history. Leading the way in this global society, South Florida PBS serves diverse communities from Key West to the Sebastian Inlet and from the Atlantic Ocean west to Lake Okeechobee. South Florida PBS is committed to creating and presenting unique arts, education and cultural heritage programming, and serves as a model for telling unique local stories across a variety of digital media platforms. National productions presented to public television stations by South Florida PBS include James Patterson’s Kid Stew, Battleground Everglades, Changing Seas, and Blue Chip Kids. For more information, visit http://www.southfloridapbs.org/home/.
About Florida Atlantic University
Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of critical areas that form the basis of its strategic plan: Healthy aging, biotech, coastal and marine issues, neuroscience, regenerative medicine, informatics, lifespan and the environment. These areas provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit fau.edu.