Thursday, May 26, 2011

Great Performances

Supernova Sonata
  NASA - May 26, 2011

To create a sonata from supernovae, first you have to find the supernovae. To do that composers Alex Parker and Melissa Graham relied on the Canada France Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) Legacy Survey data of four deep fields on the sky monitored from April 2003 through August 2006, adopting 241 Type Ia supernovae. Enchanting to cosmologists, Type Ia supernovae are thermonuclear explosions that destroy white dwarf stars. Then, they gave each supernova a note to play, the volume of the note determined by the distance to the supernova. Fainter, more distant supernovae play quieter notes. Each note's pitch was based on a stretch factor measured by how fast the supernova brightens and fades over time relative to an adopted standard time history. Higher stretch factors play higher notes in pitches drawn from the illustrated Phrygian dominant scale. Of course, each supernova note is played on an instrument. Supernovae in massive galaxies were assigned to a stand-up bass, while supernovae in less massive galaxies played their note on a grand piano. Supernova Sonata

Music of the Spheres

American Idol 2011

This truly has been a week of major entertainment from Oprah's farewell shows, to the Glee season finale (Hulu), and Wednesday night's American Idol finale, with two hours of breathing performances by celebrities and those who competed this season. In 2010 I complained that the talent was limited, but not in 2011. This year did not lack in great performances by young adults who will go on to become celebrities. Lauren, my favorite, who I saw as another Carrie Underwood, winner of Season 4, sang together in the season finale. The Season 10 winner was 17 year old Scotty McCreery who sang a duet with Tim McGraw.

Scotty McCreery: I Shared 'Special Moments' with Lauren Alaina