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RIP Jack Horkheimer, Astronomically Cool Geek

On Friday afternoon Jack Horkheimer, veteran astronomer and naked-eye-astronomy enthusiast, died of “a respiratory ailment” at the age of 72.

He was the executive director of the planetarium at the Miami Museum of Science and Space Transit, but was most well known for his weekly PBS series.  It’s called Jack Horkheimer: Star Gazer and he started doing it in 1976.

I was first introduced to Mr. Horkheimer’s short weekly show in Astronomy 101, my last year in college, when our professor would cap off every Friday class with it.  To a bunch of humanities students just trying to get their Science/Math requirement out of the way, Horkheimer was embarrassingly enthusiastic.  His videos wouldn’t take no for an answer; shaming, awing, and assaulting us with the incredible, awesome things that you can experience just by looking at the sky every now and then.

And doing it all from an unbearably ridiculous green screen mock up of him sitting on a planetary ring.

For the same experience, here is his show on what the night sky will hold in the coming week.

And here his final recorded show, covering this Labor Day Weekend.

We wish you clear skies for your (as Mr. Horkheimer would say) looking up.

(via The Miami Herald.)

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