The Musical Side of Christiaan Huygens

Christiaan Huygens

Do you remember that probe we sent to Titan?  You know, the one that was the first ever to land on Saturn’s largest moon?  Well that was the Huygens probe and was part of the Cassini-Huygens mission.  I bring this up because it was named after Christiaan Huygens, a man that has contributed a huge amount to science:  early telescopic studies of the rings of Saturn, the invention of the pendulum clock, and the discovery of several interstellar nebulae and double stars to name a few.  But even if you are familiar with Christiaan Huygens you still may not know that he actually contributed quite a bit to the world of music as well.

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A Secret Ocean Has Been Discovered

Mega Ocean

Yes, the oceans are quite large.  You wouldn’t want to get lost in one.  But did you know that there was a recent discovery of an ocean reservoir that has a volume three-times larger than all the other oceans combined?  This finding is making scientists rethink the origins of Earth’s water supply.

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Astronomers Discover new Mega-Earth

Mega-Earth

Five Hundred and Sixty light years away, in a constellation called “Draco,” circling an old star named “Kepler-10,” resides a recently discovered planet that is twice the size and 17 times heavier than our own Earth.  This so called “Mega-Earth” was announced on Monday at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Boston.

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Scientists Tell Congress We’ll Find Alien Life In Our Lifetime

SETI finding alien life

How great would it be to wake up one morning and find out that Scientists have finally discovered proof of intelligent alien life out beyond our planet?  I’ve often wonder if I’d live to see the day when the answer to the question “are we alone in the galaxy” is finally answered.  Well, recently at a House Committee on Science, Space and Technology hearing Wednesday (May 21), Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute gave us a timeline for when this question might be answered when he said, “”It’s unproven whether there is any life beyond Earth.  I think that situation is going to change within everyone’s lifetime in this room.”

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SPECTACULAR METEOR SHOWER……. MAYBE.

North America is predicted to have the best view of a possible new meteor shower from Comet 209P/LINEAR Friday night through Saturday morning (May 23-24, 2014). (Deborah Boyd-EarthSky)

We have had some astronomical disappointments of late but we might just see a really nice meteor shower this Friday night into Saturday morning. 

Where to see the Camelopardalid meteor showerMeteors from the May 24th’s early-morning display can appear anywhere in the sky, but they will appear to originate from a point (called the radiant) in the constellation Camelopardalis, the Giraffe. Stars are plotted for 2 a.m. local daylight time as seen from mid-northern latitudes. Sky & Telescope illustration.

I plan on being up with my Nikon and mosquito spray to hopefully get some nice shots of the unexpected astronomical display.   What a nice late spring surprise and who knows, maybe an nice annual event. I will share photos here on Saturday… if all goes well.

Creating a Planetarium Soundscape: Part 2 – From Studio to Theater

Part 2 - Creating a Planetarium Soundscape

In the first part of “Creating a Planetarium Soundscape” I covered what it was like going from script to the voice-over recording process.  But now we’re going to go into what it’s like to actually craft the music, sound effects, and 5.1 surround sound mix of a planetarium soundtrack.

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Creating A Planetarium Soundscape: Part 1 – From Script to Recording Booth

Part 1 - Creating a Planetarium Soundscape

What does it sound like to sling-shot around Jupiter or to crash land on Venus? What does it sound like when molecules rapidly vibrate around each other or when you’re able to fly through a nebula? Writing music for a visual medium can be challenging enough as it is, but when you’re attempting to rhapsodize upon experiences that people have a hard time wrapping their head around it can create a whole new realm of difficulty. I mean, how do you summarize the feeling of approaching a star that’s ten times more massive than our Sun? But aside from the creative aspect, the task of writing music for planetarium productions is completely different than writing music for any other visual medium.

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Never Before Seen: New Moon Forming in Saturn’s Rings

New Moon forming in Saturn's rings

For the first time ever, scientists are witnessing the formation of a new moon as it forms within Saturn’s outer rings.  According to a recent report, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft recently discovered this icy formation, currently being called “Peggy,” on April 15th as it disturbed the smooth lines of the ring system.  But will it grow any larger, leave the ring system, or will it fizzle out and break apart?

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