Theory and Observation

We continue our series of excerpts (and discussion) from the outstanding survey paper by George F. R. Ellis, Issues in the Philosophy of Cosmology.

Thesis F1: Philosophical choices necessarily underly cosmological theory.
Some cosmologists tend to ignore the philosophical choices underlying their theories; but simplistic or unexamined philosophical standpoints are still philosophical standpoints!

Cosmology, and indeed all human inquiry, is based on (at least) two unproven (though certainly reasonable) assumptions:

  1. The Universe exists.
  2. The human mind is at least to some degree capable of perceiving and understanding the Universe.

Any cosmological theory will have additional foundational unproven assumptions.  These are called axioms.  Ellis admonishes us to at least be aware of them, and to admit to them.

8.1 Criteria for theories
As regards criteria for a good scientific theory, typical would be the following four areas of assessment: (1) Satisfactory structure: (a) internal consistency, (b) simplicity (Ockham’s razor), and (c) aesthetic appeal (‘beauty’ or ‘elegance’); (2) Intrinsic explanatory power: (a) logical tightness, (b) scope of the theory—the ability to unify otherwise separate phenomena, and (c) probability of the theory or model with respect to some well-defined measure; (3) Extrinsic explanatory power, or relatedness: (a) connectedness to the rest of science, (b) extendability—providing a basis for further development; (4) Observational and experimental support, in terms of (a) testability: the ability to make quantitative as well as qualitative predications that can be tested; and (b) confirmation: the extent to which the theory is supported by such tests as have been made.

As you can see, a theory is not an opinion.  It must be well-supported by facts.  It must be internally consistent.  It must have explanatory power.  The Russian physicist A. I. Kitaĭgorodskiĭ (1914-1985) put it succinctly: “A first-rate theory predicts; a second-rate theory forbids, and a
third-rate theory explains after the event.”  Einstein’s special and general relativity are spectacular examples of first-rate theories.  In over 100 years of increasingly rigorous and sophisticated experiments and observations, relativity has never been proven to be incorrect.

Ellis emphasizes the importance of observational and experimental support in any scientific theory.

It is particularly the latter that characterizes a scientific theory, in contrast to other types of theories claiming to explain features of the universe and why things happen as they do.  It should be noted that these criteria are philosophical in nature in that they themselves cannot be proven to be correct by any experiment.  Rather their choice is based on past experience combined with philosophical reflection.  One could attempt to formulate criteria for good criteria for scientific theories, but of course these too would need to be philosophically justified.  The enterprise will end in infinite regress unless it is ended at some stage by a simple acceptance of a specific set of criteria.

So, even our criteria about what makes a good scientific theory rest upon axioms that cannot be proven.  But unlike religion, scientific theories never posit the existence of any supernatural entity.

Thesis F3: Conflicts will inevitably arise in applying criteria for satisfactory cosmological theories.
The thrust of much recent development has been away from observational tests toward strongly theoretically based proposals, indeed sometimes almost discounting observational tests.  At present this is being corrected by a healthy move to detailed observational analysis of the consequences of the proposed theories, marking a maturity of the subject.  However because of all the limitations in terms of observations and testing, in the cosmological context we still have to rely heavily on other criteria, and some criteria that are important in most of science may not really make sense.

String theory? Cosmic inflation?  Multiverse? If a theory is currently neither testable nor directly supported by observations, is it science, or something else?

Ellis, G. F. R. 2006, Issues in the Philosophy of Cosmology, Philosophy of Physics (Handbook of the Philosophy of Science), Ed. J. Butterfield and J. Earman (Elsevier, 2006), 1183-1285.

Symphonies by Women

Last Updated: December 8, 2023

How many women have achieved the compositional milestone of writing a symphony for full orchestra?  The answer is, quite a few!  What follows is what I believe to be a comprehensive list of all symphonies written by women.  If you know of others—or if you find anything here that needs correcting or adding to—please post a comment.  So many of these works have been unjustly neglected.  The day will come (hopefully soon) when any short list of the greatest composers will include women.

When I originally started this list back in 2017, I had in mind only including works explicitly with titles such as Symphony No. 1, Symphony No. 2, and so on. But I’ve since learned that what constitutes a “symphony” defies any rigid definition, particularly when considering 20th- and 21st-century works. So, I’ve capitulated to include anything named “symphony” or “sinfonia” by the composer. Still, if you find any works here that really shouldn’t be included here as symphonies, please post a comment and I will consider removing them.

Looking towards the future, one composer to watch will certainly be Alma Deutscher.  Her first of what will hopefully be many symphonies is eagerly anticipated.

I’ve created a forum where you can post and listen to any available performances or recordings of works listed here (and in general) that are not yet (or currently) commercially available.  I hope you will consider participating, and please do tell others about it. Composers are welcome to post their own work, too!

Classical Music Little-Known Favorites

Els Aarne (1917-1995)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2

Rosalina Abejo (1922-1991)
Gregoria Symphony (1950)
Pioneer Symphony (1954)
Thanatopsis Symphony (1956)
The Trilogy of Man Symphony (1971)
Guerilla Symphony (1972)
Dalawang Pusong Dakila [Two Great Hearts] Symphony (1975)
Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Bayan, a choral symphony (1979)
Symphony No. 3, “Hold High the Torch” (1981)
Jubilee Symphony (1984)
Brotherhood Symphony (1986)
Symphony of Psalms (1988)
Symphony of Life (1988)
Symphony of Fortitude and Sudden Spring (1989)
Beatriz Symphony
Marian Symphony

Lejla Agolli (1950-)
Symphony in C♯ minor (1973)

Maria Theresia Ahlefeldt (1755-1810)
Symphony in F major

Eleanor Alberga (1949-)
Symphony No. 1, “Strata” (2022)

Liana Alexandra (1947-2011)
Symphony No. 1, op. 1 (1971)
Symphony No. 2, op. 16, “Hymns” (1978)
Symphony No. 3, op. 24, “Diachronies-Harmonies” (1981)
Symphony No. 4, op. 28, “Contemporary Rhythms” (1984)
Symphony No. 5 (1986)
Symphony No. 6 (1989)
Symphony No. 7 (1996)
Symphony No. 8, “Variations” (2003)
Symphony No. 9, “Jerusalem” (2003)

Franghiz Ali-Zadeh (1947-)
Symphony (1976)

Julia Alonso (1889-1977)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2

Olga Alyushina (1975-)

Maria Charlotte Amalie (1751-1827) [Duchess of Saxe-Gotha]
Symphony [for orchestra of 10 instruments]

Karen Amrhein (1970-)
Symphony of Seasons

Elfrida Andrée (1841-1929)
Symphony No. 1 in C major (1869)
Symphony No. 2 in A minor (1893)
Symphony in one movement, F minor
Organ Symphony No. 1 in B minor (1892)
Organ Symphony No. 2 in E♭ major for organ and brass (~1892)

Minni Kim-Huai Ang (1966-)

Dina Appeldoorn (1884-1938)
Symphony No. 1, “May Symphony” (1915, rev. 1916 & 1925)
Symphony No. 2, “Wie in lauter Helligkeit” (1916)
North Sea Symphony (1924)

Adelaide Orsola Appignani (1807-1884)
Sinfonia (1834)

Kimberly Archer (1973-)
Symphony No. 1, “For Those Taken Too Soon” (for concert band) (2001)
Symphony No. 2 (for concert band) (2003)
Symphony No. 3 (for concert band) (2008)

Violet Archer (1913-2000)
Symphony (1946)
Sinfonia (1969)

Reiko Arima (1933-)
Symphony No. 1, “Okinawa”

Claude Arrieu [Louise-Marie Simon] (1903-1990)
Symphony in C major (1940)

Francine Aubin (1938-2016)
Symphony No. 1, “Allégorique”
Symphony No. 2, “de l’Espoir”
Symphony No. 3, “Kiev” (1991)
Symphony No. 4, “Juive” (2010) – orchestration of the work of Lionel Stoléru

Lera Auerbach (1973-)
Symphony No. 1, “Chimera” (2006)
Symphony No. 2, “Requiem for a Poet” (2006)
Symphony No. 3, “The Infant Minstrel and His Peculiar Menagerie” (2016)
Symphony No. 4, “Arctica” (2019)
Symphony No. 5, “Paradise Lost” (2022)
Symphony No. 6, “Vessels of Light” (2022)
String Symphony No. 1, “Memoria de la Luz” (2013)

Elizabeth Austin (1938-)
Symphony No. 1, “Wilderness Symphony” (1987)
Symphony No. 2, “Lighthouse” (1993)

Ana-Maria Avram (1961-2017)

Pikə Axundova (1984-)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2

Grażyna Bacewicz (1909-1969)
Symphony No. 1 (1945)
Symphony No. 2 (1951)
Symphony No. 3 (1952)
Symphony No. 4 (1953)
Symphony (1933, lost)
Symphony (1938, lost)
Symphony for string orchestra (1946)

Maya Badian (1945-)
Holocaust—In Memoriam, Symphony (1987, 1998)

Judith Bailey (1941-)
Symphony No. 1, op. 21 (1981)
Symphony No. 2, op. 24 (1982)
Cliff Walk Symphony, op. 82 (2007)

Teresa Bancer (1935-2018)

Mansi Barberis (1899-1986)
Symphony No. 1 (1941)

Laura Wilson Barker (1819-1905)
Symphony (1845)

Elsa Barraine (1910-1999)
Symphony No. 1 (1931)
Symphony No. 2 (1938)
Symphony No. 3 (1947)

Rasa Bartkevičiūtė (1967-)
Symphony No. 1, “In perpetuum” (1993)
Symphony No. 2, “Fantasy” (1995)
Symphony No. 3, “El Dorado” (1997)
Symphony No. 4, “Rhapsody” (2001)

Marion Bauer (1882-1955)
Symphony No. 1, op. 45 (1947-50)

Amy Beach (1867-1944)
Symphony in E minor, op. 32,”Gaelic” (1894-6)

Sally Beamish (1956-)
Symphony No. 1 (1992)
Symphony No. 2 (1998)

Marguerite Béclard d’Harcourt (1884-1964)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2, “The Seasons” (1951)

Anđelka Bego-Šimunić (1941-2022)
Symphony No. 1 (1966)

Elizabeth Bell (1928-2016)
Symphony No. 1 (1971; 1988)

Ivane Bellocq (1958-)
Symphonie déconcertante (1997)

Marie Barker Nelson Bennett (1926-2018)
Symphony No. 1, “The Medead” (1977)
Symphony No. 2, “Hodeeyaada” (1994)
Symphony No. 3, “Symphony of the Millenium” (2000)
Symphony No. 4, “Universe” (1998)

Louise Bertin (1805-1877)
5 chamber symphonies, unpublished

Diane Bish (1941-)
A Symphony of Hymns (1983)
A Symphony of Psalms, for organ, choir, orchestra and soloist (1989)

Sylvie Bodorová (1954-)
Symphony No 1, “Con le campane” (2011)

Natasha Bogojevich (1966-)
Symphony No. 1 (1991)

Mélanie Bonis (1858-1937)
Burlesque Symphony, op. 185 posth., for percussion, wind instruments, and piano

Henriette van den Boorn-Coclet (1866-1945)
Symphony in F major (1904)
Symphony Wallone in D major (1923)

Johanna Bordewijk-Roepman (1892-1971)
Symphony No. 1 (1942)

Victoria Borisova-Ollas (1969-)
Symphony No. 1, “The Triumph of Heaven” (2001)
Symphony No. 2, “Labyrinths of Time” (2017)

Marianna Bottini (1802-1858)
Symphony for orchestra (1818)
Symphony for wind band (1819)

Ina Boyle (1889-1967)
Symphony No. 1, “Glencree” (1927)
Symphony No. 2, “The Dream of the Rood” (1930)
Symphony No. 3, “From the Darkness” (1951)

Margaret Brandman (1951-)
Firestorm Symphony (2009)

Ilona Breģe (1959-)
Symphony No. 1 (2004)
Symphony No. 2 (2006)
Symphony No. 3 (2010)

Radie Britain (1899-1994)
Southern Symphony (1935)
Cosmic Mist Symphony (1962)

Margaret Brouwer (1940-)
Symphony No. 1, “Lake Voices” (1997)

Tamar-kali Brown (1973?-)
Sea Island Symphony (2023)

Elisabetta Brusa (1954-)
Nittemero Symphony (1988)
Symphony No. 1, op. 10 (1990)
Symphony No. 2, op. 22 (2015)
Symphony No. 3, op. 27 (2022)

Joanna Bruzdowicz (1943-2021)
Symphony No. 1 (1975)
Symphony No. 2 “Concertino for Orchestra” (2007)

Nini Bulterijs (1929-1989)
Symphony (1965)

Diana Burrell (1948-)
Symphonies of Flocks, Herds and Shoals (1996)

Santa Bušs (1981-)
Liminarité, chamber symphony (2014)

Anne Lois Butler (1912-2006)
Symphony of the Hills

Sofía Cancino de Cuevas (1897-1982)
Symphony No. 1 (1935)
Symphony No. 2 in G major

Matilde Capuis (1913-2017)
Symphony in G minor

Ann Carr-Boyd (1938-)
Symphony in three movements (1964)

Wendy Mae Chambers (1953-)
Symphony of the Universe (1989)

Cécile Chaminade (1857-1944)
Les Amazones, symphonie dramatique, op. 26 (1884)

Elizabeth Charles (?-?)
Little Symphony (1941)
[student composition, Institute of American Music of the University of Rochester, Rochester, New York; active 1938-1942]

Chen Yi (1953-)
Symphony No. 1 (1986)
Symphony No. 2 (1993)
Symphony No. 3 (2002)
Symphony No. 4, “Humen 1839” (2009)

Geghuni Chitchyan (1929-)
Chamber Symphony, “In Memoriam Aram Khachaturian” (1988)

Françoise Choveaux (1953-)
Symphony Indigo, op. 2 (1993)
Symphony Blanche, op. 100 (2001)

Tatyana Chudova (1944-2021)
Symphony No. 1 in A♭, “Timur and his Team” (1982)
Symphony No. 2, “How the Steel was Tempered” (1983)
Symphony No. 3, “The Young Guard” (1984)
Symphony No. 4 (1988)

Iulia Cibișescu-Duran (1966-)
Symphony No. 1 (1990)
Symphony No. 2 (2017)

Maia Ciobanu (1952-)
Symphony No. 1, “Journal ’88” (1988)
Symphony No. 2, “…from Enescu” (2006)

Adrienne Clostre (1921-2006)
Symphony for Strings (1949; 1962)

Gloria Coates (1933-2023)
Symphony No. 1, “Music on Open Strings” (1973)
Symphony No. 2, “Illuminatio in Tenebris” (1974; 1989)
Symphony No. 3, “Symphony for Strings/Symphony Nocturne” (1978)
Symphony No. 3 (Version 2), “Holographic Universe”, with violin solo (2006)
Symphony No. 4, “Chiaroscuro” (1984; 1990)
Symphony No. 5, “Drei mystische Gesänge” (1985)
Symphony No. 6, “Music in Microtones” (1987; 1994)
Symphony No. 7 (1990)
Symphony No. 8, “Indian Sounds” (1991)
Symphony No. 9, “Homage to Van Gogh” (1994)
Symphony No. 10, “Drones of Druids on Celtic Ruins” (1994)
Symphony No. 11, “Philomen and Baucis” (1998)
Symphony No. 12 (1998)
Symphony No. 13 (2000)
Symphony No. 14, “The Americans” (2002)
Symphony No. 15, “Homage to Mozart” (2005)
Symphony No. 16, “Time Frozen” (1993)
Symphony No. 17, “Fonte di Rimini” (2017)

Jane Antonia Cornish (1975-)
Symphony No. 1 (2008)

Jean Coulthard (1908-2000)
Symphony No. 1 (1953)
Symphony No. 2, “Choral Symphony, This Land” (1967)
Symphony No. 3, “Lyric” (1975)
Symphony No. 4, “Autumn”, for string orchestra (1984)

Vicki Lynn Curry (1949?-)
Symphony in two movements (1988)

Nancy Dalberg (1881-1949)
Symphony in C♯ minor (1917) [3 movements; later withdrew 1st movement and To orkesterstykker, op. 9 (1918) remained]

Jean Reynolds Davis (1927-2015)
Symphony No. 1, in one movement
Symphony No. 2

Yvonne Desportes (1907-1993)
Symphony No. 1, “Saint-Gindolph” (1958)
Symphony No. 2, “Monorythmie” (1964)
Symphony No. 3, “L’Éternel féminin” (1969)

Arline Diamond (1928-1985)

Mary Dickenson-Auner (1880-1965)
Symphony No. 1, “Irish Symphony”, op. 16 (1941)
Symphony No. 2 (1948) [withdrawn]
Symphony No. 3, op. 41 (1953)
Symphony No. 4
Symphony No. 5, “American”, op. 45 (1957)
Symphony for String Orchestra, op. 33 (1950)

Emma Lou Diemer (1927-)
Symphony No. 1 (1953)
Symphony No. 2 (1955, 1959) [on Amerindian themes]
Symphony No. 3, “Antique” (1961)

Johanna Doderer (1969-)
Symphony No. 1 (2007)
Symphony No. 2,”Bohinj” (2015)

Narcisa Donátová (1928-1981)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2

Sanja Drakulić (1963-)
Symphony 1991

Marjorie Eastwood Dudley (1891-1961)
Symphony in E♭ major, op. 12 (1938)

Lesia Dychko (1939-)
“Greeting for Life”, symphony for soprano, bass and chamber orchestra (1972)
“Wind of Revolution”, symphony (1976)
“You Begin from Your Eyes”, symphony-cantata (1994)

Sophie Carmen Eckhardt-Gramatté (1899-1974)
Symphony No. 1 in C major, E. 104 (1940)
Symphony No. 2, “Manitoba” (1970)

Ludmilla Efimtsova (1948-)
Symphony No. 1 (1980s)

Maija Einfelde (1939-)
Choral Symphony (2000)
Symphony (2003)

Irina Elcheva (1926-2013)
Symphony, “In memory of those killed in the siege of Leningrad” (1965)

Olga Pozzi Escot (1933-)
Symphony No. 1, for strings (1953) [withdrawn]
Symphony No. 2 (1955) [withdrawn]
Symphony No. 3 (1957) [withdrawn]
Symphony No. 4
Symphony No. 5, “Sands” (1965)
Symphony No. 6

Elisenda Fábregas (1955-)
Symphony No. 1 for Symphonic Band (2013)

Amanda Lee Falkenberg (1976-)
The Moons Symphony (2019)

Eibhlis Farrell (1953-)
Sinfonia (1990)

Louise Farrenc (1804-1875)
Symphony No. 1 in C minor, op. 32 (1842)
Symphony No. 2 in D major, op. 35 (1845)
Symphony No. 3 in G minor, op. 36 (1847)

Lorraine Noel Finley (1899-1972)
Symphony in D (1963)

Anfisa Fiodorova (1953-2000)

Elena Firsova (1950-)
Sinfonia da camera (1972)

Elena Fiştic (1963-)
Symphony No. 1, “Haiducească” (1986)
Symphony No. 2
Symphony No. 3 (2006)

Tsippi Fleischer (1946-)
Symphony No. 1, “Salt Crystals”, op. 33 (1995)
Symphony No. 2, “The Train”, op. 48 (1999)
Symphony No. 3, “Regarding Beauty”, op. 49 (1999)
Symphony No. 4, “A Passing Shadow”, op. 51 (2000)
Symphony No. 5, “Israeli-Jewish Collage”, op. 54 (2003)
Symphony No. 6, “The Eyes, Mirror of the Soul”, op. 73 (2011)
Symphony No. 7, “Choral Symphony”, op. 77 (2015)

Bohdana Frolyak (1968-)
Symphony No. 1, “Orbis Terrarum” (1998)
Symphony No. 2 (2009)

Ilse Fromm-Michaels (1888-1986)
Symphony in C minor, op. 19 (1938)

Linda Frumker (1940-)
Symphony (1964)

Rina Furano (1989-)
Symphony No. 1 in F major (2014)
Symphony No. 2 in C major (2016)

Varvara Adrianovna Gaigerova (1903-1944)
Symphony No. 1 (1928)
Symphony No. 2 on Kalmuk Themes (1934)
Symphony No. 3 (1936)

Nancy Galbraith (1951-)
Wind Symphony No. 1 (1996)

Rachel Galinne (1949-)
Symphony No. 1 (1996)
Symphony No. 2 (1998)
Chamber Symphony (2005)

Stacy Garrop (1969-)
Mythology Symphony (2013)

Miriam Gideon (1906-1996)
Symphonia Brevis (1953)

Ruth Gipps (1921-1999)
Symphony No. 1 in F minor, op. 22 (1942)
Symphony No. 2 in B major (in one movement), op. 30 (1945)
Symphony No. 3, op. 57 (1965)
Symphony No. 4, op. 61 (1972)
Symphony No. 5, op. 64 (1982)

Julie Giroux (1961-)
Symphony No. 1, “Culloden” (2000)
Symphony No. 2, “A Symphony of Fables” (2006)
Symphony No. 3, “No Finer Calling” (2006)
Symphony No. 4, “Bookmarks from Japan” (2013)
Symphony No. 5, “Elements” (2018)
Symphony No. 6, “The Blue Marble” (2022)
Space Symphony (1986; 1991)

Janice Giteck (1946-)
Potlatch Symphony (2013)

Peggy Glanville-Hicks (1912-1990)
Sinfonia da Pacifica (1953)

Julia Gomelskaya (1964-2016)
Symphony No. 1, “SymPhobia” (2004)
Symphony No. 2, “Ukraine Forever” (2010)
Symphony No. 3, “Magnet” (2014)
Symphony No. 4, “Ra-Aeternae” (2016)

Ida Gotkovsky (1933-)
Symphony for Strings and Percussion (1957)
Symphony for Eighty Wind Instruments (1960)
Spring Symphony (1973)
Symphony for Organ and Wind Orchestra (1982)
Brillante Symphony for Wind Orchestra (1989)
Golden Symphony (1991) [15 saxophones]
Youth Symphony (1993)
Joyeuse Symphony for Wind Orchestra (2000)

Clémence de Grandval (1828-1907)
Symphony No. 1, “Le Matin”
Symphony No. 2, “Le Soir”
Symphony No. 3, “Amazones”
Callirhoé, ballet-symphony

Edith Greene (?-?) [England]
Symphony (1895)

Marina Gribinčika (1966-)
Symphony (1992)

Annie Grimson [later Wallis] (1870-1949)
Symphony (1887)— lost?

Sofia Gubaidulina (1931-)
Symphony (1958)
Stimmen… Verstummen…, a symphony in twelve movements (1986)

Louise Haenel de Cronenthall (1839-1896)
Symphony No. 1, op. 10 “La cinquantaine villageoise”
Symphony No. 2, op. 40 “Salut au printemps” (1860)
Symphony No. 3, op. 22? “La fantastique”
Symphony No. 4, “Apollonia”
Symphony No. 5, “Bonheur pastoral”

Margareta Hallin (1931-2020)
Sinfonia piccola, for chamber orchestra (2002)

Barbara Harbach (1946-)
Symphony No. 1, “Veneration for Orchestra” (2004)
Symphony No. 2, “One of Ours – A Cather Symphony” (2004)
Symphony No. 3, “A State Divided – a Missouri Symphony” (2012)
Symphony No. 4, “Jubilee Symphony” (2013)
Symphony No. 5, “Gateway Festival Symphony” (2013)
Symphony No. 6, “Night Soundings” (2013)
Symphony No. 7, “O Pioneers!” (2014)
Symphony No. 8, “The Scarlet Letter” (2014)
Symphony No. 9, “Celestial Symphony” (2014)
Symphony No. 10, “Symphony for Ferguson” (2015)
Symphony No. 11, “Retourner” (2017)

Rahilia Hasanova (1951-)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2
Symphony No. 3

Irina Hasnaș (1954-)
Symphony No. 1

Hanna Havrylets (1958-2022)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2, “In memoriam”, chamber symphony

Bernice Hensler (?-?)
Symphony in three movements (1945)
[student composition, Institute of American Music of the University of Rochester, Rochester, New York; active 1940-1946]

Mirrie Hill (1889-1986)
Symphony in A, “Arnhem Land” (1954)

Dulcie Holland (1913-2000)
Symphony for pleasure (1971)

Elizabeth Holloway (?-?)
Symphony No. 1 (1954)
[listed in The American Symphony by Neil Butterworth]

Betzy Holmberg (1860-1900)
Symphony No. 1 (1884)

Augusta Holmès (1847-1903)
Symphony No. 1, “Orlando furioso”
Symphony No. 2, “Lutèce”
Symphony No. 3, “Les Argonautes”

Adelaide Hooker [Marquand] (1903-1963)
Symphony in E (1930)

Katherine Hoover (1937-2018)
Sinfonia, op. 10 (1976)

Aline Hundt (1849-1872)
Symphony in G minor

Aida Isakova (1940-2012)
Symphony with Timpani for String Orchestra

Šušano Ishakbajeva (1957-)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2
Symphony No. 3

Jean Eichelberger Ivey (1923-2010)
Little Symphony
Festive Symphony
Symphony “Forms and Motion”
Short Symphony

Marta Jiráčková (1932-)
Symphony No. 1, “Nanda Devi”
Symphony No. 2, “Silbo”

Betsy Jolas (1926-)
Symphony for small orchestra

Milijana Jović (1950-)
Symphony for String Orchestra

Dalia Kairaitytė (1953-)

Kikuko Kanai (1911-1986)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2

Leokadiya Kashperova (1872-1940)
Symphony in B minor, op. 4 (1905)

Elena Kats-Chernin (1957-)
Garden Symphony (2002)
River Symphony (2003)
Symphonia Eluvium (2011)

Minna Keal (1909-1999)
Symphony, op. 3 (1987)

Frida Kern (1891-1988)
Symphony No. 1, op. 46 (1943)

Merzie Khalitova (1956-)
Symphony No. 1, “Revival”
Symphony No. 2, for chamber orchestra
Symphony No. 3, “Dedication”
Symphony No. 4, for flute and string orchestra
Symphony No. 5, “Ametkhan”
Symphony No. 6, “Yashlyk sedasy”

Rusudan Khorava (1954)
Chamber Symphony for string orchestra
Romantic Symphony for mezzo-soprano and orchestra

Makiko Kinoshita (1956-)
Sinfonia for brass

Antoinette Kirkwood (1930-2014)
Symphony No. 1

Zhivka Klinkova (1924-2002)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2
Football Symphony
Symphony in 7/8 Beat

Antonie Knoblochova (1905-?)

Liudmila Knyazeva (1947-)
Symphony No. 1, “The Ascent”

Eloise Koelling (1908-1999)

Luna Koen-Puđa (1919-2003)
Symphony (1966)

Celina Kohan de Scher (1931-2015)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2

Jitka Koželuhová (1966-)
Symphony “2007”

Ekaterina Kozhevnikova (1954-)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2, “Sinfonia da Requiem”
Symphony No. 3

Agneta Krilova (1980-)
Symphony No. 1, “Polar Symphony”
Symphony No. 2 for Chamber Orchestra, “To the New World”

Grażyna Krzanowska (1952-)
Symphony with a Beat on the Timpani
A Little Choral Symphony

Mayako Kubo (1947-)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2, “Reopening”

Hanna Kulenty (1961-)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2 for orchestra and mixed choir
Symphony No. 3

Renata Kunkel (1954-)

Ann Kuppens (1964-)
Sinfonia Bellicosa

Iryna Kyrylina (1953-2017)
Chamber Symphony, “Collapse”

Eleni Lambiri (1889-1960)
Symphony in B minor

Libby Larsen (1950-)
Symphony No. 1, “Water Music”
Symphony No. 2, “Coming Forth Into Day”
Symphony No. 3, “Lyric”
Symphony No. 4, “String Symphony”
Symphony No.5, “Solo Symphony”
Symphony No. 6, “Forward”
Short Symphony, for Concert Band

Beatrice Laufer (1923-1996)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2

Luise Adolpha Le Beau (1850-1927)
Symphony in F major, op. 41 (~1894)

Mary Weldon Leahy (1926-?)
Symphony in one movement
Symphony for strings

Linda Leimane (1989-)
Chamber Symphony, “Guesstimations”

Helvi Leiviskä (1902-1982)
Symphony [unnumbered] (1923)
Symphony No. 1 in B♭ major, op. 23 (1947)
Symphony No. 2 in D minor, op. 27 (1954)
Symphony No. 3, op. 31 (1964/1971)
Sinfonia brevis, op. 30 (1962/1972)

Sabra Lindgren (1947-)
Symphony No. 1 in D major (1998)
Symphony No. 2 in C minor (2008)
Symphony No. 3, “The Big Sky Symphony” (2009)
Symphony No. 4, for strings, percussion, and keyboard (2012)
Symphony No. 5 in F (2013)
Symphony No. 6 (2015)
Symphony No. 7 (2016)
Symphony No. 8, “A Western Symphony” (2016)
Symphony No. 9 (2016)
Symphony No. 10 (2018)
Symphony No. 11 (2019)
Symphony No. 12 (2019)
Symphony No. 13 (2020)
Symphony No. 14 (2020)
Symphony No. 15 (2022)
String Symphony No. 1 in A minor (2010)
String Symphony No. 2 (2015)
String Symphony No. 3 (2016)
String Symphony No. 4 (2019)
String Symphony No. 5 (2022)

Ivana Loudová (1941-2017)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2 for alto solo, choir and large orchestra
Sinfonia Numerica for Chamber Orchestra

Phyllis Luckman (1927-)
Symphony for Massed Cellos

Enid Luff (1935-)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2

Elisabeth Lutyens (1906-1983)
Symphonies, for solo piano, wind, harps and percussion

Elizabeth Maconchy (1907-1994)
Symphony No. 1 [withdrawn]
Symphony No. 2 [withdrawn]
Symphony for Double String Orchestra (1953)
Little Symphony

Ester Mägi (1922-2021)
Symphony (1968)

Nina Makarova (1908-1976)
Symphony in D minor

Ursula Mamlok (1923-2016)
Symphony No. 1 in E♭ (1956) [withdrawn]

Irina Manoukian (1948-2004)
Symphony No. 1 for string and percussion instruments
Symphony No. 2, “Ecce Homo”
Symphony No. 3, “Thirty-two variations on descending bass”

Myriam Marbe (1931-1997)
Symphony No. 1, “Ur Ariadne” for mezzo-soprano, saxophone, and orchestra
Sym-phonia for mezzo-soprano and chamber ensemble

Adabelle Gross Marcus (1929-1997)
Symphony to the Spheres

Tera de Marez Oyens (1932-1996)
Sinfonía testimonial: for choir, orchestra and tape
Squaw sachem symphony

Stephanie Martin (1962-)
Babel: a choral symphony

Maryna Marozava (1958-)
Symphony No. 1, “Black Tale”
Symphony No. 2, “At the Fair”
Symphony No. 3

Marianna Martines (1744-1812) [aka Marianne Martinez]
Symphony in C major

Paule Maurice (1910-1967)

Emilie Mayer (1812-1883)
Symphony No. 1 in C minor (1847)
Symphony No. 2 in E minor (1847)
Symphony No. 3 in C major, “Military” (1850)
Symphony No. 4 in B minor (1851)
Symphony No. 5 in F minor (1852)
Symphony No. 6 in E major (1853)
Symphony No. 7 in F minor (1856)
Symphony No. 8 in F major (1857)

Missy Mazzoli (1980-)
Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres) (2014; 2016)

Jenny McLeod (1941-)
Little Symphony

Cindy McTee (1953-)
Symphony No. 1: Ballet for Orchestra

Margaret Shelton Meier (1936-)
Claremont Symphony

Margarita Leonor Dietel Merriman (1927-)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2

Jelena Milenković-Živković (1944-)

Zarrina Mirshakar (1947-)
Symphony No. 1 for strings

Darleen Cowles Mitchell (1942-)
Chamber Symphony [1965]

Ida Moberg (1859-1947)
Symphony in D minor (1905) [lost?]

Akiana Molina (1963-)
Sinfonía Herediana

Dorothy Rudd Moore (1940-)
Symphony No. 1

Valarie Morris (1949-)
Symphony of light and shadows

Johanna Müller-Hermann (1878-1941)
Symphony in D minor, with soloists and chorus

Florentine Mulsant (1962-)
Symphony No. 1, for strings
Symphony No. 2, “Exile”

Gráinne Mulvey (1966-)
Symphony No. 1

Thea Musgrave (1928-)

Onutė Narbutaitė (1956-)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2
Symphony No. 3, “Tres Dei Matris Symphoniae”, for chorus and orchestra
Symphony No. 4, “riverbank – river – symphony”
Sinfonia col triangolo, for chamber orchestra

Polina Nazaykinskaya (1987-)
Symphony No. 1, “April Song”

Dika Newlin (1923-2006)
Symphony for chorus and orchestra
Chamber Symphony for 12 instruments

Tatyana Nikolayeva (1924-1993)

Katharine Norman (1960-)

Anne-Marie Ørbeck (1911-1996)
Symphony in D major

Eurydice Osterman (1950-)
Symphony No. 1, “Heritage Symphony”

Vivian Blythe Owen (1898-2000)
Symphony, op. 13 (1947)

Catharina Palmér (1963-)
Symphony No. 1, “Nuances” for mixed choir and orchestra

Natalia Raigorodsky Parris (1929-2018)
Symphony No. 1

Alla Pavlova (1952-)
Symphony No. 1 “Farewell, Russia” for chamber orchestra (1994)
Symphony No. 2 “For the New Millennium” (1998)
Symphony No. 3 (2000)
Symphony No. 4 (2002)
Symphony No. 5 (2006)
Symphony No. 6 (2008)
Symphony No. 7 (2011)
Symphony No. 8 (2011)
Symphony No. 9, “Violin Concerto” (2016)
Symphony No. 10, “Path to Golden Gate” (2017)
Symphony No. 11 (2021)

Dora Pejačević (1885-1923)
Symphony in F♯ minor

Barbara Pentland (1912-2000)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2
Symphony No. 3, “Symphony for Ten Parts”
Symphony No. 4

Julia Perry (1924-1979)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2
Symphony No. 3
Symphony No. 4
Symphony No. 5, “Integration”
Symphony No. 6
Symphony No. 7, “U.S.A.”
Symphony No. 8
Symphony No. 9
Symphony No. 10, “Soul”
Symphony No. 11
Symphony No. 12, “Simple Symphony”
Symphony No. 13

Märta Peterson-Serafinowitsch (1912-)
Symphony No. 1

Carmen Petra-Basacopol (1926-)

Elena Petrová (1929-2002)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2
Symphony No. 3

Alexandra Pierce (1934-2021)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2, “Dances on the Face of the Deep”

Zhanna Pliyeva (1948-2023)
Symphony No. 1 (1976)
Symphony No. 2 (1976)
Symphony No. 3 (1978)
Symphony No. 4 (1991)
Symphony No. 5 (1994)
Symphony No. 6
Symphony No. 7

Victoria Polevá (1962-)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2, “Offertory to Anton Bruckner”
Symphony No. 3, “White interment”

Claire Polin (1926-1995)
Symphony No. 1 in two movements
Symphony No. 2

Oliveria Prescott (1842-1919)
Symphony No.1 in B♭ “Alkestis” (1876)
Symphony No.2 in D minor

Florence Price (1887-1953)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2
Symphony No. 3
Symphony No. 4

Dorothy Priesing (1910-1999)
Symphony (in one movement)

María Teresa Prieto (1896-1982)
Symphony No. 1, “Asturiana” (1942)
Symphony No. 2, “Sinfonía breve” (1945)
Symphony No. 3, “Sinfonía de la danza prima” (1951)

Tatiana Probst (1987-)
Symphony No. 1, “Exorde”

Grażyna Pstrokońska-Nawratil (1947-)
Ocean Symphony

Marta Ptaszyńska (1943-)
Sinfonia Wratislavia

Ivy Priaulx Rainier (1903-1986)
Sinfonia da camera, for strings

Shulamit Ran (1949-)

Santa Ratniece (1977-)
Chamber symphony, “Shant Nadi”

Weronika Ratusińska-Zamuszko (1977-)
Symphony (2008)

Elizabeth Raum (1945-)
Symphony of Youth

Sally Johnston Reid (1948-2019)
Wasatch Symphony, for wind band

Daiva Rokaitė-Dženkaitienė (1972-2010)
Little Symphony
Sky Stone Symphony

Doina Rotaru (1951-)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2
Symphony No. 3, “Spirit of Elements”

Dilorom Saidaminova (1943-)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2

Alessandra Salvati (1968-)

Rhian Samuel (1944-)

Virginia Samuel (1957-)
Symphony (1988)

Amada Santos-Ocampo (1925-2009)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2

Elena Šataitė (1992-)
Eremos (Little Symphony)

Eglė Sausanavičiūtė (1963-)
Somnium Simfonie
Space Symphony

Heather Schmidt (1974-)
Symphony No. 1, “Manufactured Landscapes”

Sara Opal Search (1890-1961)
Symphony No. 1 in C minor for strings (1940)
Symphony No. 2 in C minor (1941)

Susie Self (1957-)
Symphony No. 1, “Hokusai Says”
Symphony No. 2, “Memories, Dreams, Reflections”
Symphony No. 3, “The Pacific”
Symphony No. 4, “The Island”

Johanna Senfter (1879-1961)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2
Symphony No. 3
Symphony No. 4
Symphony No. 5
Symphony No. 6
Symphony No. 7
Symphony No. 8
Symphony No. 9

Raminta Šerkšnytė (1975-)
Iceberg Symphony

Shakhida Shaimardanova (1938-)
Symphony in C major in One Movement

Masguda Shamsutdinova (1955-)
Symphony No. 1, “Tartar Steppe (Dastan)”
Symphony No. 2, “Ibn-Fadlan”
Symphony No. 3, “Genghis-Khan”

Elisabed Shaverzashvili (1940-2018)
Symphony in three movements
Choral Symphony

Verdina Shlonsky (1905-1990)

Taisiya Shutenko (1905-1975)
Carmelite Symphony

Tamara Sidorenko-Malyukova (1919-2005)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2
Symphony No. 3

Lena Sierova (1983-)
Symphony Chton

Elżbieta Sikora (1943-)
Symphony No. 1, “Shadows”

Alice Mary Smith (1839-1884) [aka Alice Mary Meadows White]
Symphony No. 1 in C minor (1863)
Symphony No. 2 in A minor (1876)
Symphony No. 3 in G major [existence is disputed]

Julia Frances Smith (1905-1989)
Folkways Symphony (1947-48)

Ethel Smyth (1858-1944)
Symphony, “The Prison”

Charlotte Sohy (1887-1955)
Symphony in C♯ minor, “Great War” (1917)

Ann Southam (1937-2010)
Chamber Symphony

Mihaela Stănculescu-Vosganian (1961-)
Symphony No. 1, for Three Groups of Instruments and String Orchestra
Symphony No. 2, for Organ, Percussion and String Orchestra, “Parallel Times”
Sax Symphony-Concerto

Helen Camille Stanley (1930-)
Symphony No. 1 (1954)

Carolyn Steinberg (1956-)
Chamber Symphony (1990)

Rita Strohl (1865-1941)
[born Aimée Marie Marguerite Mercédès Larousse La Villette]
Symphonie de la forêt (1901)
Symphonie de la mer (1902)

Dana Suesse (1909-1987)
Antique Symphony (1946)

Margaret Sutherland (1897-1984)
Symphony in F♯

Natela Svanidze (1926-2017)
Symphony for piano, string and percussion instruments
Symphony No. 2

Åsa Svensson (1970?-)
Symphony No. 1 (1993)

Edith Swepstone (1862-1942)
Symphony in G minor

Lubava Sydorenko (1979-)
“Ab initio”, symphony for large orchestra and solo violin

Diana Syrse (1984-)
Symphony No. 1, “Nach der Tragödie”

Andrea Tarrodi (1981-)
Symphony in Fire, Water, Earth & Air (2021)

Cornelia Tăutu (1938-2019)
Symphony No. 1, “1907”

Helen Taylor (1915-1950)

Zlata Tcaci (1928-2006)
Symphony “Panopticum”, for strings, xylophone, and timpani

Livia Teodorescu-Ciocănea (1959-)
Archimedes Symphony

Alicia Terzian (1934-)
Symphony No. 1

Shirley J. Thompson (1958-)
New Nation Rising, A 21st Century Symphony

Anna Thorvaldsdottir (1977-)
AIŌN, symphony (2018)

Alena Tomlenova (1963-)
Symphony No. 1, poems by A. S. Pushkin
Symphony No. 2
Symphony No. 3
Symphony No. 4
Symphony No. 5
Symphony No. 6

Julia Tsenova (1948-2010)
Symphony for piano and orchestra (1972)

Karmella Tsepkolenko (1955-)
Symphony No. 1 “Symphonic Poem”
Symphony No. 2 “Symphonic Diptych”
Symphony No. 3 “Memorial Symphony”
Symphony No. 4
Symphony No. 5

Anitra Tumševica (1971-)
Chamber symphony No. 1, “Die Stimme” (The Voice)
Chamber Symphony No. 2, “Signs”

Stefania Turkewich (1898-1977)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2
Space Symphony

Agnes Tyrrell (1846-1883)
Symphony in C major

Julia Usher (1945-)
Camulodunum Sinfonia

Galina Ustvolskaya (1919-2006)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2, “True and Eternal Bliss!”
Symphony No. 3, “Jesus Messiah, Save Us!”
Symphony No. 4, “Prayer”
Symphony No. 5, “Amen”

Nomeda Valančiūtė (1961-)
Little Symphony

Mary Jeanne Van Appledorn (1927-2014)
Symphony No.1
Symphony No. 2
Symphony No. 3
Symphony No. 4 (1985-87)

Lucie Vellère (1896-1966)
Petite Symphony, for string orchestra

Mari Vihmand (1967-)

Anastasia Vinogradova (1994-)
Symphony No. 1, “In Memoriam”
Symphony No. 2, “Metamorphosis”
Symphony No. 3, “Light Symphony”
Symphony No. 4
Symphony No. 5, “Collage”

Sláva Vorlová (1894-1973)

Errollyn Wallen (1958-)
Spirit Symphony – Speed-Dating for Two Orchestras
Spirit Symphony [version for one orchestra]
Carbon 12: A Choral Symphony

Harriet Ware (1877-1962)
New York Symphony (1910)

Elinor Remick Warren (1900-1991)
Symphony in One Movement (1970)
The Legend of King Arthur, A Choral Symphony, for baritone, tenor, choir and orchestra

Meira Warshauer (1949-)
Symphony No. 1, “Living, Breathing Earth”

Norma Wendelburg (1918-2016)
Symphony No. 1 (1967)

Ruth White (1925-2013)
Shofar Symphony (1965)

Gillian Whitehead (1942-)

Margaret Lucy Wilkins (1939-)

Grace Williams (1906-1977)
Sinfonia concertante
Symphony No. 1, “Symphonic Impressions”
Symphony No. 2

Regina Hansen Willman (1914-1965)
Anchorage Symphony

Ruth Shaw Wylie (1916-1989)
Symphony No. 1, op. 6, “Archaic” (1943)
Symphony No. 2, op. 11 (1948)

Alla Zahaikevych (1966-)
Symphony on the poetry of Vladimir Mayakovsky, for baritone and orchestra

Jeanne Zaidel-Rudolph (1948-)
Construction Symphony, for youth orchestra
Sefirot Symphony, for woodwind, brass, percussion and harp

Judith Lang Zaimont (1945-)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2, “Remember Me”
Symphony No. 3
Symphony No. 4 “Pure, Cool (Water)”

Isadora Žebeljan (1967-2020)
Symphony in Three Movements, “Escenas Picaras”

Ruth Zechlin (1926-2007)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2
Chamber Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 3
Chamber Symphony No. 2

Gaziza Zhubanova (1927-1993)
Symphony No. 1, “Energy”
Symphony No. 2, “Island of Women”
Symphony No. 3, “Sarozek Metaphors”

Lidia Zielińska (1953-)
Little Atrophic Symphony
Sinfonia Concertante for Small Sound Devices, Small Percussion, and Large Orchestra

Diana Ziu (?-)
Symphony No. 1, “Apotheosis of the New Century”

Mirjana Živković (1935-2020)
Sinfonia polifonica

Agata Zubel (1978-)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2, for 77 performers
Symphony No. 3, for a double-bell trumpet and orchestra

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich (1939-)
Chamber Symphony (1979)
Symphony No. 1, “Three Movements for Orchestra” (1982)
Symphony No. 2, “Cello Symphony” (1985)
Symphony No. 3 (1992)
Symphony No. 4, “The Gardens” (1999)
Symphony No. 5, “Concerto for Orchestra” (2008)

Average Orbital Distance

If a planet is orbiting the Sun with a semi-major axis, a, and orbital eccentricity, e, it is often stated that the average distance of the planet from the Sun is simply a.  This is only true for circular orbits (e = 0) where the planet maintains a constant distance from the Sun, and that distance is a.

Let’s imagine a hypothetical planet much like the Earth that has a perfectly circular orbit around the Sun with a = 1.0 AU and e = 0.  It is easy to see in this case that at all times, the planet will be exactly 1.0 AU from the Sun.

If, however, the planet orbits the Sun in an elliptical orbit at a = 1 AU and e > 0, we find that the planet orbits more slowly when it is farther from Sun than when it is nearer the Sun.  So, you’d expect to see the time-averaged average distance to be greater than 1.0 AU.  This is indeed the case.

The Earth’s current osculating orbital elements give us:

a = 0.999998 and e = 0.016694

Earth’s average distance from the Sun is thus:

Mercury, the innermost planet, has the most eccentric orbit of all the major planets:

a = 0.387098 and e = 0.205638

Mercury’s average distance from the Sun is thus:

Why are the Pleiades called the Seven Sisters?

The famous and beautiful Pleiades star cluster, which lies between 429 and 448 light years from us in the constellation Taurus the Bull, contains at least 2,109 stars that were formed around 125 million years ago—relatively recently on an astronomical timescale.  But when you look at the Pleiades with the unaided eye, unless you have unusually good vision and excellent sky conditions, you’ll see only six Pleiads.  If you see more than that, you’ll probably be able to see 8 or 9 Pleiads, maybe more.  But not seven.  So, why are the Pleiades called the Seven Sisters?

Here’s my conjecture.  Take a look at the Pleiades on a dark, moonless night. What do you see?  I think you’ll see a group of stars forming a tiny dipper shape, reminiscent of the much larger Little Dipper.

How many stars make up the Little Dipper shape?  Seven.  How many stars make up the Big Dipper shape?  Seven.  How many bright stars does nearby Orion have?  Seven.  Given this, and the fact that seven has long been considered a mystical number, it comes as no surprise, perhaps, that the Pleiades are called the Seven Sisters and not the Six Sisters or the Eight Sisters.  How many do you see?

The Pleiades will culminate1 at midnight for SW Wisconsinites on Friday night / Saturday morning, November 17/18.

1cross the celestial meridian; reach their highest point in the sky, due south

Bouy H., et al., 2015, A&A, 577, A148
Galli P. A. B., Moraux E., Bouy H., Bouvier J., et al., 2017, A&A, 598, A48
Stauffer J. R., Schultz G., Kirkpatrick J. D., 1998, ApJ, 499, L19

Saturn V

Today we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the inaugural flight of Wernher von Braun’s magnum opus, the giant Saturn V moon rocket.  This first flight was an unmanned mission, Apollo 4, and took place less than 10 months after the tragic launch pad fire that killed astronauts Gus Grissom, 40, Ed White, 36, and Roger Chaffee, 31.

Apollo 4 launch, November 9, 1967

Apollo 4 image of Earth at an altitude of 7,300 miles

The unmanned Apollo 4 mission was a complete success, paving the way for astronauts to go to the Moon.  After another successful unmanned test flight (Apollo 6), the Saturn V rocket carried the first astronauts into space on the Apollo 8 mission in December 1968.  On that mission, astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders orbited the Moon for 20 hours and then returned safely to Earth.

Bill Anders took this iconic photo of Earth from Apollo 8 while in orbit around the Moon

“As of 2017, the Saturn V remains the tallest, heaviest, and most powerful (highest total impulse) rocket ever brought to operational status, and holds records for the heaviest payload launched and largest payload capacity to low Earth orbit (LEO) of 140,000 kg (310,000 lb), which included the third stage and unburned propellant needed to send the Apollo Command/Service Module and Lunar Module to the Moon.  To date, the Saturn V remains the only launch vehicle to launch missions to carry humans beyond low Earth orbit.”

Reference (for quoted material above)
Wikipedia contributors, “Saturn V,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed November 9, 2017).

Greater Intelligence

Allen Telescope Array; Photo Credit: Seth Shostak, SETI Institute, 2006

Calvin and Hobbes, November 8, 1989, by Bill Watterson

Could we please replace our idiocracy with a meritocracy?  Before it’s too late?  With checks and balances, of course.  Let’s raise the bar across our society instead of continuing to appeal to the lowest common denominator.  Our very survival depends upon it.

LED Residential Streetlight Debut in Dodgeville: Too Bright!

A new bright white LED streetlight made its debut in Dodgeville, Wisconsin on Friday, November 3, 2017, and it isn’t pretty.

The white-light LED streetlight is located at the NE corner of W. Washington St. & N. Johnson St. in Dodgeville.  The illumination level on the ground peaks at 3.15 fc.  An existing orange-light high pressure sodium streetlight at the SW corner of W. Division St. & N. Virginia Terrace peaks at 1.23 fc, which is typical.

Even though the reduction of uplight and near-horizontal light (i.e. “glare”) from this luminaire is a welcome improvement, an illumination level 2.6 times as bright as before is neither welcome nor justified.  Furthermore, lower illumination levels may be acceptable when using white-light LED luminaires in comparison with high pressure sodium (Glamox n.d.).  More research is needed on the effect of spectral composition on both brightness perception and, more importantly, visual acuity at various illuminance levels.

I do not have an instrument to measure the correlated color temperature (CCT) of this luminaire, but visually it looks to me to be around 4000 K, which is too blue.  I will check with the City of Dodgeville and report back here.  The International Dark-Sky Assocation (IDA) and the American Medical Assocation (AMA 2016) recommend using “warm white” LEDs with a CCT no higher than 3000 K, with 2700 K preferred.

AMA (2016), Human and Environmental Effects of Light Emitting Diode (LED) Community Lighting H-135.927.  Retrieved November 5, 2017 from

Glamox (n.d.), The Glamox Brightness Sensitivity Test. Retrieved November 5, 2017 from

IDA (n.d.), LED: Why 3000K or Less.  Retrieved November 5, 2017 from

Oesper, D. (January 9, 2017), Avoid Blue-Rich LED Lighting.

Changing Solar Distance

Between January 2 and 5 each year, the Earth reaches orbital perihelion, its closest distance to the Sun (0.983 AU).  Between July 3 and 6 each year, the Earth reaches orbital aphelion, its farthest distance from the Sun (1.017 AU).  These dates of perihelion and aphelion slowly shift across the calendar (always a half year apart) with a period between 22,000 and 26,000 years.

These distances can be easily derived knowing the semi-major axis (a) and orbital eccentricity (e) of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, which are 1.000 and 0.017, respectively.

q = a (1-e) = 1.000 (1-0.017) = 0.983 AU

Q = a (1+e) = 1.000 (1+0.017) = 1.017 AU

So, the Earth is 0.034 AU closer to the Sun in early January than it is in early July.  This is about 5 million km or 3.1 million miles.

How great a distance is this, really?  The Moon in its orbit around the Earth is closer to the Sun around New Moon than it is around Full Moon.  Currently, this difference in distance ranges between 130,592 miles (April 2018) and 923,177 miles (October 2018).  Using the latter value, we see that the Moon’s maximum monthly range in distance from the Sun is 30% of the Earth’s range in distance from the Sun between perihelion and aphelion.

How about in terms of the diameter of the Sun?  The Sun’s diameter is 864,526 miles.  The Earth is just 3.6 Sun diameters closer to the Sun at perihelion than it is at aphelion.  Not much!  On average, the Earth is about 108 solar diameters distant from the Sun.

How about in terms of angular size?  When the Earth is at perihelion, the Sun exhibits an angular size of 29.7 arcminutes.  At aphelion, that angle is 28.7 arcminutes.

Can you see the difference?