Star GazerJack Horkheimer

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The executive director of the Space Transit Planetarium at the Miami Museum of Science for more than 35 years, Horkheimer is best known as the writer and host of a 5-minute TV show, Star Gazer, seen on PBS stations and on Worldnet for 31 years, where he described what people could see in the sky — if they simply looked. “Science is show biz,” he once said, and he was right. “The word ‘planetarium’ is so antiquated it stinks,” he said in 1975. “People aren’t interested in star lectures anymore. I’d call it cosmic theater, a theater of the universe, a multimedia theater. People have got to be turned on.” That he did: shortly after he took over, the International Journal for Planetarium Educators called Miami’s planetarium the “most imaginative” in the United States, and planetariums all over the country used Horkheimer’s program materials. Years ago, he wrote his own epitaph: “‘Keep Looking Up’ was my life’s admonition; I can do little else in my present position.” Horkheimer had moved to Miami because doctors suggested a warm, humid climate to help with a degenerative lung disease. It killed him August 20, at 72.

Author’s Note: Happily, after Horkheimer’s death, several different hosts stepped up to keep it going. It was thus renamed Star Gazers and was still airing weekly as of 2018.

From This is True for 22 August 2010