I have two items that I want to touch on tonight. First, the weather here is improving and it looks like I can get out both Friday and Saturday night! Yeah!!!!! Next, over on CloudyNights on their DeepSky Objects thread I found a post in the SN2011dh thread that does a super job of showing the SN and how it brightened over time. In case you haven't heard, it has began to darken and as of yesterday SN2011dh was down to magnitude 13.0. Anyway, the author of this work is Mogens Zachariasen and with his permission I am going to post his wonderful GIF animation here. Mogens runs the Astro Optics in Denmark.
Very easy to see in his animation. Here's a link on his images used in the animations. Incredible to think that supernova is as bright as the core of that well known galaxy!
The next thing is from June's Astronomy magazine and it is music appropriate for observing. The article is called Songs of the night and covers some very well known pieces, but a new one really intrigued me and I ended up going over and listening to the pieces that are available. The Sunflower galaxy brought an entire chorus of images to my mind. Some images related to the actual view of a sunflower, well others triggered in me a very large and bright galaxy moving in motion with the many components of stars, star clusters, nebulae, supernova and other such wonderful objects comprising the galaxy. I could hear the discord of a supernova explosion in my mind at points. Most of all, I again recalled the thrill of finding this object for the first time and my excitement in viewing it. I literally saw myself in the music, at the telescope. I had the image of sketching it and trying to capture in my feeable way, the art of the heavens here. Certainly Bruce Lazarus has done a much better job at this then my feeble sketching did at that time. Here is the link to that portion of this wonderful composition called the Sunflower Galaxy.
The first song is called the Somberro Galaxy and it opens with a quick tempo and a variance in the music that brings to my mind the sheer size and the incredible wonder one sees when viewing this tremendous galaxy. I can see the dust lane and the wonderful bulges that protude out from above and below the dust lane. The tempo here is rushed at times, and reminds the observer not to rush this object. It can take time to observe the detail of this wonderful galaxy, and just when you think you've heard and seen everything related to Messier 104, boom, the eyepiece like the music here reveals much more, some subtle and some just taking the awe right out of you. By the time the music ends, and your observation of M104 ends, I was amazed at everything I had just seen and taken in. Some objects just blow you away and the music to M104 easily amplifies that feeling of an object blowing you away. Here is the link to that piece.
Messier 57 or The Ring Nebula opens up to me similar to a piece from Cosmos but yet strikingly different. Here the music captures my mind and imagination as I easily imagine the central star going through its red dwarf stage and then shedding off the outer layers to form the beautiful planetary nebula that we see today in the sky. At times I also hear an elusive key that reminds me that the central star is also elusive and it takes the right seeing conditions, the right scope and eyepiece in order to capture it. Sometimes, some things are just elusive as the music at the end reminds us and that is just okay. Much like music, observing is an experience to be enjoyed, taken in, and immersed in as we participate in the activity. Here is the link to this wonderful song.
M31 The Andromeda Galaxy begins majestically with some dissent (at times I think I hear the influence of the American composer Ives here but then again I am not a musically trained person, I'll have to ask my wife who is what she thinks). Anyway, dissonance is perhaps the best term here. This is a very loud, large, and luminous piece. I think of all the pieces this is the one some may not like the best. Wait for the halfway mark when it turns and turns drastically. It is much like going to a dark site and seeing it for the first time in dark conditions and not in light pollution. The theme then quickly returns and if your not careful, this galaxy will overpower you and you'll miss observing the many fine parts of the galaxy that are viewable. It ends with a crescendo and provides the listener with the majesty this galaxy delivers at the eyepiece. Here is the link to this song.
M42 the Orion Nebula begins musically as a tease to me, and then erupts from this tease into revealing the fast star formation that is occurring here. I can definitely see the young stars flaring into existence, the gases coming together and I definitely see in my mind the Trapezium with its wonder of stars at the heart of M42. The music ends having reminded me that Messier 42 will continue long after I have left this world, producing new stars, new solar systems and in the end, another cycle in the life and death of stars, including some supernova eventually. In the end, the song reminded me that death is not something to be feared, because from death, new life springs and the cycle continues. Here is the link for that song.
Now if you get tired of clicking on each link above, here is a link to the main page where you can listen to them on your own in your own order. If you want to learn more of Bruce Lazarus here is his website. I can't wait to see and hear his completed album on this and one thing is for certain. His music makes me think and is such that it will make for me, the time fly as I am observing. It will also be enjoyable being played in the car and at home in my opinion. An outstanding effort.
Here is a list of the objects/songs he does on the album.
1. Messier 104 – Elliptical and Spiral Galaxy (“Sombrero” Galaxy)
2. Messier 18 – Open Cluster with Red and Blue Stars
3. Messier 51 – “Whirlpool” Galaxy
4. Messier 1 – Expanding Remnant from Exploded Star (“Crab” Nebula)
5. Messier 57 – Ring Nebula
6. Messier 45 – The Pleiades
7. Messier 31 – Andromeda Galaxy
1. Messier 40 - Double Star in Ursa Major
2. Messier 63 - Sunflower Galaxy
3. Messier 42 - Orion Nebula
4. Messier 16 - Eagle Nebula
5. Messier 24 - Star Cloud in Sagittarius
6. Messier 20 - Triffid Nebula
7. Messier 13 - Globular Cluster in Hercules
I eagerly await hearing the Whirlpool Galaxy (appropriate with the SN there right now!), the Crab Nebula ( I think he will nail this one for me), the Eagle Nebula, the Triffid Nebula and M13 or the Globular Cluster in Hercules.