Maria Mitchell: America’s First Female Astronomy Professor

Maria (pronounced Ma-RYE-ah) Mitchell (1818-1889), America’s first female professor of astronomy, was born August 1, 1818 on Nantucket Island (Massachusetts). Her interest in astronomy was encouraged by her father, and she assisted him with his research at a time when few women were allowed an opportunity to do scientific research. She discovered a comet in 1847 at the age of 29, and this brought her fame as one of America’s few women scientists. She was employed for many years as a computer (a person who performs lengthy mathematical calculations), and then taught astronomy at Vassar College for many years (1865-1888), a women’s college in Poughkeepsie, New York. At Vassar, she was also the director of the Vassar College Observatory. A devoted teacher, she believed that students learn best by doing real research projects. In 1869, she traveled to Burlington, Iowa with six of her students to observe a total solar eclipse.

Seven years after the death of Maria Mitchell, her sister, Phebe Mitchell Kendall, (1828-1907) compiled a book, Maria Mitchell: Life, Letters, and Journals (1896).

The Maria Mitchell Observatory was established on Nantucket Island in 1908, and today continues its long legacy of public outreach and undergraduate research.

“When we are chafed and fretted by small cares, a look at the stars will show us the littleness of our own interests.”

“We travel to learn; and I have never been in any country where they did not do something better than we do it, think some thoughts better than we think, catch some inspiration from heights above our own.”

“Question everything.”

“The best that can be said of my life so far is that it has been industrious, and the best that can be said of me is that I have not pretended to what I was not.”

Quotes by Maria Mitchell

Classical Music Timeline: 1950s

This is one of a series of postings of important classical music dates, from the 17th century to the present. Included are the date and location of the birth and death of composers, and the premiere date and location of the first public performance of works. When the premiere date and location is unknown, the date or year of completion of the work is given. Though reasonably comprehensive, this is a subjective list, so the choice of composers and works is mine. If you find any errors, or if you can offer a premiere date and location for a work where only the completion date or year is listed, please post a comment here.

1950
Gyula Dávid (1913-1977) completed the Viola Concerto

January 6 – Piano Concerto in C♯ minor, FP 146 by Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) was first performed in Boston, Massachusetts

March 1 – Cello Sonata in C major, op. 119 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

April 3 – Kurt Weill (1900-1950) died in New York, New York

May 22Four Last Songs by Richard Strauss (1864-1949) was first performed in London, England

1951
Leroy Anderson (1908-1975) completed The Phantom Regiment

April 14English Dances, op. 27 by Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006) was first performed in London, England

August 21 – Constant Lambert (1905-1951) died in London, England

October 23 – Symphony No. 3 in B minor by Borys Lyatoshynsky (1895-1968) was first performed in Kyiv, Ukraine

1952
January 26Taras Bulba, ballet in four acts, op. 92 by Reinhold Glière (1875-1956) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

May 3 – Romance in D♭ major for harmonica and orchestra by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was first performed in New York, New York

July 13 – Alla Pavlova (1952-) was born in Vinnytsia, Ukraine

October 11 – Symphony No. 7 in C♯ minor, op. 131 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

1953
Heino Eller (1887-1970) completed Five Pieces for String Orchestra

January 14 – Symphony No. 7, “Sinfonia Antartica”, by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was first performed in Manchester, England

March 5 – Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) died in Moscow, Russia

April 11 – Concerto Grosso No. 2 for string orchestra by Ernest Bloch (1880-1959) was first performed in London, England

August 22Soleriana by Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) was first performed in Berlin, Germany

November 13 – String Quartet No. 5 in B♭ major, op. 92 by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

December 17 – Symphony No. 10 in E minor, op. 93 by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

1954
Leroy Anderson (1908-1975) completed The First Day of Spring

February 12The Stone Flower, ballet, op. 118 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

March 5 – Jack Stamp (1954-) was born in College Park, Maryland

April 3 – Elisabetta Brusa (1954-) was born in Milan, Italy

August 11 – Tarantella for Two Pianos by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

November 6 – Festive Overture, op. 96 by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

1955
January 15From Jewish Folk Poetry, op. 79 by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) received its first public performance in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

May 4 – George Enescu (1881-1955) died in Paris, France

October 31 – Symphony No. 2, “Mysterious Mountain”, op. 132 by Alan Hovhaness (1911-2000) was first performed in Houston, Texas

1956
April 30 – Sextet in B♭ for piano and winds, op. 6 by Gordon Jacob (1895-1984) was first performed in London, England

June 23 – Reinhold Glière (1875-1956) died in Moscow, Russia

August 30 – Aita Donostia (1886-1956) died in Lecároz, Navarre, Spain

September 5 – Piano Concerto No. 4 in B♭ major for the left hand, op. 53 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Berlin, Germany

October 17 – Symphony No. 4 in C major, op. 54 by Dmitry Kabalevsky (1904-1987) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

December 1Candide, operetta with music by Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990), was first performed in New York, New York

December 27Spartacus, ballet by Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

1957
Lars-Erik Larsson (1908-1986) completed Concertino for Clarinet and String Orchestra, op. 45, no. 3

Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006) completed Commonwealth Christmas Overture, op. 64

January 26Overture to Candide by Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) received its first concert performance in New York, New York

May 10 – Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, op. 102, (Piano Concerto No. 2) by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

June 18 – Sonata for Flute and Piano, FP 164 by Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) was first performed in Strasbourg, France

September 20 – Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) died in Järvenpää, Finland

September 26West Side Story, musical with music by Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990), was first performed in New York, New York

October 30 – Symphony No. 11 in G minor, “The Year 1905”, op. 103 by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

November 4 – Joseph Canteloube (1879-1957) died in Grigny, France

November 4 – Elena Kats-Chernin (1957-) was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan

November 29 – Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957) died in Los Angeles, California

1958
Vittorio Giannini (1903-1966) completed Symphony No. 3 for symphonic band

Alec Wilder (1907-1980) completed Woodwind Quintet No. 3

March 5Fantasía para un gentilhombre, concerto for guitar and orchestra, by Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) was first performed in San Francisco, California

August 21 – Stevan Hristić (1885-1958) died in Belgrade, Serbia

August 26 – Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) died in London, England

December 4 – Symphonie de danses by Jean-Yves Daniel-Lesur (1908-2002) was first performed in Paris, France

1959
Trevor Duncan (1924-2005) completed The Girl from Corsica

Veljo Tormis (1930-2017) completed Overture No. 2

July 15 – Ernest Bloch (1880-1959) died in Portland, Oregon

August 26 – Symphony No. 4 by William Alwyn (1905-1985) was first performed in London, England

August 28 – Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959) died in Liestal, Switzerland

November 16The Sound of Music, musical with music by Richard Rodgers (1902-1979) and lyrics by Oscar Hammarstein II (1895-1960) premiered in New York, New York

November 17 – Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) died in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

1940s

1960s→

Star-Shy Asteroids

Thanks to Gaia, many star positions (and proper motions) and minor planet positions (orbits) have improved so much that those of us who try to observe stellar occultations by minor planets have recently seen a vast improvement in our likelihood of success. These occultation events are an excellent way to discover minor planet satellites as well as double stars. At the very least, they provide highly accurate minor planet astrometric positions that lead to more accurate orbits, and if several observers record an event, the size and shape of the minor planet can be more accurately determined.

Perhaps surprisingly, a number of low-numbered (and thus generally larger) minor planets have never been observed to occult a star. Here are the ten lowest-numbered minor planets still awaiting their first-observed stellar occultation event.

To predict future stellar occultation events for any given minor planet (and so much more!), use the latest version of Occult – Occultation Prediction Software by David Herald.

Last Updated: June 17, 2024

157 Dejanira
Main-belt Asteroid. Diameter 19.959 ± 2.476 km.
Discovered 1875 Dec 1 by A. Borrelly at Marseilles.
Named for the second wife Dejanira (Greek: Deianeira) of Heracles; Megara was the first. She unwittingly killed Heracles by sending him a garment steeped in the poisoned blood of the centaur Nessus. This garment, Nessus has said, had power to reclaim a husband from unlawful loves.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/157_Dejanira

180 Garumna
Main-belt Asteroid. Diameter 23.440 ± 0.414 km.
Discovered 1878 Jan 29 by J. Perrotin at Toulouse.
Named for the Garonne river on which the city of discovery is situated. Garumna is the ancient name.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/180_Garumna

183 Istria
Main-belt Asteroid. Diameter 32.927 ± 0.168 km.
Discovered 1878 Feb 8 by J. Palisa at Pola.
Named for the {now Croatian} peninsula at the northern end of the Adriatic sea, containing Trieste and the city of discovery. Named by Vice-Admiral B. Freiherr von Wüllerstorf who was the commander of the first Austrian circumnavigatory adventure with the frigate Novara.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/183_Istria

228 Agathe
Main-belt Asteroid. Diameter 9.30 ± 0.8 km.
Discovered 1882 Aug 19 by J. Palisa at Vienna.
Named in honor of the youngest daughter of Theodor von Oppolzer (1841-1886), professor of astronomy in Vienna.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/228_Agathe

244 Sita
Main-belt Asteroid. Diameter 11.077 ± 0.022 km.
Discovered 1884 Oct 14 by J. Palisa at Vienna.
Named possibly for the wife of Rama in the Sanskrit epic The Ramayana. It is a symbol of the ideal spouse and of everlasting faith.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/244_Sita

262 Valda
Main-belt Asteroid. Diameter 14.645 ± 0.141 km.
Discovered 1886 Nov 3 by J. Palisa at Vienna.
Any reference of this name to a person or occurrence is unknown. Name proposed by the Baroness Bettina von Rothschild.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/262_Valda

263 Dresda
Main-belt Asteroid. Diameter 23.952 ± 0.213 km.
Discovered 1886 Nov 3 by J. Palisa at Vienna.
The planet is named to honor the German city of Dresden.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/263_Dresda

281 Lucretia
Main-belt Asteroid. Diameter 11.036 ± 0.145 km.
Discovered 1888 Oct 31 by J. Palisa at Vienna.
Named in honor of Lucretia Caroline Herschel (1750-1848), sister of the discoverer (1781) of Uranus, Sir William Herschel (1738-1822), whom she assisted, beginning in 1772. She independently discovered seven or eight comets. After her brother’s death, she returned from England to Hannover, Germany and constructed a catalogue of the nebulae and clusters discovered by him. She received the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1828.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/281_Lucretia

282 Clorinde
Main-belt Asteroid. Diameter 39.03 ± 1.0 km.
Discovered 1889 Jan 28 by A. Charlois at Nice.
Named probably after the heroine of the epic poem Jerusalem Delivered by the Italian writer Torquato Tasso (1544-1595).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/282_Clorinde

288 Glauke
Main-belt Asteroid. Diameter 28.981 ± 0.571 km.
Discovered 1890 Feb 20 by R. Luther at Düsseldorf.
Named for the daughter of Creon, king of Corinth, whom Jason planned to marry. Glauke is also the name of one of the Danaides and of one of the Nereides.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/288_Glauke

References
Schmadel, Lutz D. 2012. Dictionary of Minor Planet Names. 6th ed. Berlin, Germany: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-29718-2.

Solar System Dynamics. (Downloaded 17 Jun 2024). (Small-Body Database Lookup). https://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov

Classical Music Timeline: 1940s

This is one of a series of postings of important classical music dates, from the 17th century to the present. Included are the date and location of the birth and death of composers, and the premiere date and location of the first public performance of works. When the premiere date and location is unknown, the date or year of completion of the work is given. Though reasonably comprehensive, this is a subjective list, so the choice of composers and works is mine. If you find any errors, or if you can offer a premiere date and location for a work where only the completion date or year is listed, please post a comment here.

1940
Dmitry Kabalevsky (1904-1987) completed The Comedians, op. 26

June 11 – Divertimento for string orchestra, Sz. 113 BB 118 by Béla Bartók (1881-1945) was first performed in Basel, Switzerland

July 1The Sea Hawk, with film score by Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957), was released

November 9Concierto de Aranjuez, for guitar and orchestra, by Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) was first performed in Barcelona, Spain

November 16 – Violin Concerto in D minor by Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

December 3 – Leokadiya Kashperova (1872-1940) died in Moscow, Russia

December 9 – Sextet for Piano and Winds (1939 revision), FP 100 by Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) was first performed in Paris, France

December 26 – Symphony No. 4, “Folk Song Symphony”, by Roy Harris (1898-1979) was first performed in Cleveland, Ohio

1941
January 3 – Symphonic Dances, op. 45 by Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) was first performed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

January 10 – Frank Bridge (1879-1941) died in Eastbourne, England

February 7 – Violin Concerto, op. 14 by Samuel Barber (1910-1981) was first performed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

April 17 – Adolphus Hailstork (1941-) was born in Rochester, New York

June 21Masquerade Suite by Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

June 26Warsaw Concerto by Richard Addinsell (1904-1977) premiered in the film Dangerous Moonlight

1942
Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) completed Song of the Brave, for tenor and piano, op. 89, no. 2

March 5 – Symphony No. 7, “Leningrad”, by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia (Leningrad at the time)

April 16 – Second Essay for Orchestra, op. 17 by Samuel Barber (1910-1981) was first performed in New York, New York

June 11 – Geoffrey Toye (1889-1942) died in London, England

June 18 – Paul McCartney (1942-) was born in Liverpool, England

December 4A Ceremony of Carols, op. 28 by Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) was first performed (in its final form) in London, England

December 9Gayane, ballet by Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978) was first performed in Perm, Russia

1943
March 12Fanfare for the Common Man by Aaron Copland (1900-1990) was first performed in Cincinnati, Ohio

March 28 – Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) died in Beverly Hills, California

June 24 – Symphony No. 5 in D major by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was first performed in London, England

1944
Percy Grainger (1882-1961) completed the orchestration of La Vallée des cloches (”Valley of the Bells”) from Miroirs by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

January 28 – Symphony No. 1, “Jeremiah”, by Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) was first performed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

April 16Concierto de estío, for violin and orchestra, by Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) was first performed in Lisbon, Portugal

May 7Our Town, music from the film score, by Aaron Copland (1900-1990) was first performed in Boston, Massachusetts

May 8 – Ethel Smyth (1858-1944) died in Woking, England

June 7Gran Marcha de los Subsecretarios (“Grand March of the Subsecretaries”), for piano four hands, by Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) was first performed in Madrid, Spain

August – Kaljo Raid (1921-2005) completed Symphony No. 1

October 30Appalachian Spring, ballet by Aaron Copland (1900-1990) was first performed in Washington, D.C.

October 31Sebastian, ballet by Gian Carlo Menotti (1911-2007) was first performed in New York, New York

December 1 – Concerto for Orchestra, Sz. 116, BB 123 by Béla Bartók (1881-1945) was first performed in Boston, Massachusetts

December 27 – Amy Beach (1867-1944) died in New York, New York

December 30 – Piano Sonata No. 8 in B♭ major, op. 84 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

1945
Suite from Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss (1864-1949) was arranged by Artur Rodziński (1892-1958)

January 13 – Symphony No. 5 in B♭ major, op. 100 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

April 9Girl No. 217, with film score by Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978), was released

August 2 – Emil von Reznicek (1860-1945) died in Berlin, Germany

September 15 – Anton Webern (1883-1945) died in Mittersill, Austria

September 24 – John Rutter (1945-) was born in London, England

September 26 – Béla Bartók (1881-1945) died in New York, New York

October 12 – Symphony No. 3, H. 299 by Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959) was first performed in Boston, Massachusetts

November 3 – Symphony No. 9 in E♭ major, op. 70 by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

November 21Cinderella, ballet, op. 87 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

November 30 – Symphony No. 4, H. 305 by Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959) was first performed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

December 17À l’ombre de Torre Bermeja (“In the Shadow of the Crimson Tower”) by Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) was first performed in Madrid, Spain

December 17A Stopwatch and an Ordnance Map, for male chorus, brass, and drums, op. 15 by Samuel Barber (1910-1981) was first performed in New York, New York

1946
Twenty-Four Preludes, op. 38 by Dmitry Kabalevsky (1904-1987) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

February 8 – Piano Concerto No. 3 in E major, Sz. 119, BB 127 by Béla Bartók (1881-1945) was first performed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

October 16 – Granville Bantock (1868-1946) died in London, England

October 18 – Symphony No. 3 by Aaron Copland (1900-1990) was first performed in Boston, Massachusetts

October 23 – Violin Sonata No. 1 in F minor, op. 80 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

November 14 – Manuel de Falla (1876-1946) died in Alta Gracia, Argentina

November 27Cinco piezas infantiles (“Five children’s pieces”), for orchestra, by Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) was first performed in Madrid, Spain

December 6 – Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946) died in Saint Petersburg, Russia

1947
January 8 – Piano Concerto, op. 44 by Richard Arnell (1917-2009) was first performed in New York, New York

February 15 – Violin Concerto in D major, op. 35 by Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957) was first performed in St. Louis, Missouri

February 15 – John Adams (1947-) was born in Worcester, Massachusetts

March 5 – Alfredo Casella (1883-1947) died in Rome, Italy

June 14 – Michael Mauldin (1947-) was born in Port Arthur, Texas

August 20 – Concerto for Bassoon and Strings with Percussion by Gordon Jacob (1895-1984) was first performed in London, England

October 23Starlight Roof Waltz by George Melachrino (1909-1965) was first performed in London, England

November 12Flourish, Mighty Land, cantata for chorus and orchestra, op. 114 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

November 29The Legend of Ohrid, ballet by Stevan Hristić (1885-1958) was first performed in Belgrade, Serbia

1948
William Grant Still (1895-1978) completed Miniatures, for flute, oboe, and piano

January 21 – Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari (1876-1948) died in Venice, Italy

April 21 – Symphony No. 6 in E minor by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was first performed in London, England

May 4Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson (1908-1975) was first performed in Boston, Massachusetts

June 27 – George Templeton Strong (1856-1948) died in Geneva, Switzerland

October 29 – Violin Concerto in C major, op. 48 by Dmitry Kabalevsky (1904-1987) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

October 30The Red Pony, suite from the film score, by Aaron Copland (1900-1990) was first performed in Houston, Texas

1949
Clive Richardson (1909-1998) completed Beachcomber

Robert Farnon (1917-2005) completed How Beautiful is Night

January 14 – Joaquín Turina (1882-1949) died in Madrid, Spain

September 8 – Richard Strauss (1864-1949) died in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

September 11 – Henri Rabaud (1873-1949) died in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France

December 2Turangalîla-Symphonie by Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) was first performed in Boston, Massachusetts

1930s

1950s

Solar Siblings

When our Sun formed 4.6 billion years ago, it almost certainly was a member of an open star cluster. Over several hundred million years, most of the stars in this cluster would have dissipated. Is there any hope, then, of finding some of our solar siblings?

I ran a query against the Gaia DR3 database to find stars with radial velocities and proper motions that are zero, within the measurement uncertainties. In other words, their space motions appear to be similar to that of the Sun. Could some of these stars be our long lost solar siblings?

First, some caveats.

  • 4.6 billion years is a lot of time, and dynamical evolution may lead to solar siblings no longer having comparable space motions to the Sun.
  • Error bars for the radial velocities, proper motions, and distances of many of these stars are large enough that subsequent more precise measurements may show that they are not co-moving with the Sun.
  • Though radial velocities are not affected by increasing star distance, proper motions are; therefore, proper motion in right ascension and declination will approach zero with increasing stellar distance
  • Some co-moving stars will be coincidental, especially if they are at large distances

I found 230 candidate stars in Gaia DR3 that appear to be co-moving with the Sun. They are listed in the table below.

Gaia DR3 Zero Space Motion

wdt_ID wdt_created_by wdt_created_at wdt_last_edited_by wdt_last_edited_at Gaia DR3 SOURCE_ID Other Catalog RA (2016) Dec (2016) G Mag Distance (ly)
1 do18559252 30/04/2024 09:51 AM do18559252 30/04/2024 09:51 AM 5534600793005666944 TYC 7663-2637-1 08 05 30 - 40 05 11 10.63 2,100
2 do18559252 30/04/2024 09:51 AM do18559252 30/04/2024 09:51 AM 4044381556633823232 HD 321719 18 25 18 - 34 39 16 10.91 3,776
3 do18559252 30/04/2024 09:51 AM do18559252 30/04/2024 09:51 AM 5933186123279263872 TYC 8323-81-1 16 15 34 - 52 29 35 11.30 2,930
4 do18559252 30/04/2024 09:51 AM do18559252 30/04/2024 09:51 AM 4069457877771166464 18 00 01 - 22 47 10 11.33 5,673
5 do18559252 30/04/2024 09:51 AM do18559252 30/04/2024 09:51 AM 5926323972473953792 TYC 8349-1491-1 17 19 13 - 50 14 57 11.85 999,999
6 do18559252 30/04/2024 09:51 AM do18559252 30/04/2024 09:51 AM 1816548038377615872 TYC 1639-1018-1 20 22 27 + 20 06 07 11.86 1,208
7 do18559252 30/04/2024 09:51 AM do18559252 30/04/2024 09:51 AM 3403073120299336960 UCAC4 557-018920 05 44 22 + 21 14 45 12.00 1,720
8 do18559252 30/04/2024 09:51 AM do18559252 30/04/2024 09:51 AM 5316984970605614208 08 46 50 - 54 57 33 12.08 1,192
9 do18559252 30/04/2024 09:51 AM do18559252 30/04/2024 09:51 AM 2224937958644193920 V898 Cep 22 38 02 + 67 27 58 12.19 1,998
10 do18559252 30/04/2024 09:51 AM do18559252 30/04/2024 09:51 AM 4103489613769523712 18 42 09 - 14 55 00 12.21 2,988
Gaia DR3 SOURCE_ID Other Catalog RA (2016) Dec (2016) G Mag Distance (ly)

Please note that a distance of 999,999 ly (light years) indicates a Gaia parallax that is negative, meaning that the star is so far away that a reliable parallax cannot be measured. In other words, it is zero. Also, the farther away the star is, the more uncertainty there is in the distance.

19 of these 230 stars are bright enough, important enough, or lucky enough to have entries in the SIMBAD database. The nearest of these is TYC 8312-3134-1 which is 518 ly away in the constellation Norma.

We can do a simple BOTEC to determine how fast TYC 8312-3134-1 would have to be moving relative to the Sun to travel 518 ly in 4.6 Gyr. The answer is just 0.03 km/s = 30 meters/second. This is much less than the typical space motion of stars in the solar neighborhood relative to the Sun, which is on the order of many kilometers per second. It is therefore completely plausible that solar siblings could now be at a distance of at least 500 ly and even many times further than that.

Reference

SELECT TOP 2000   gaia_source.source_id,gaia_source.ra,gaia_source.dec,gaia_source.parallax,gaia_source.pmra,gaia_source.pmdec,gaia_source.ruwe,gaia_source.phot_g_mean_mag,gaia_source.bp_rp,gaia_source.radial_velocity,gaia_source.radial_velocity_error,gaia_source.phot_variable_flag,gaia_source.non_single_star,gaia_source.has_xp_continuous,gaia_source.has_xp_sampled,gaia_source.has_rvs,gaia_source.has_epoch_photometry,gaia_source.has_epoch_rv,gaia_source.has_mcmc_gspphot,gaia_source.has_mcmc_msc,gaia_source.teff_gspphot,gaia_source.logg_gspphot,gaia_source.mh_gspphot,gaia_source.distance_gspphot,gaia_source.azero_gspphot,gaia_source.ag_gspphot,gaia_source.ebpminrp_gspphot
FROM gaiadr3.gaia_source 
WHERE (gaiadr3.gaia_source.radial_velocity-gaiadr3.gaia_source.radial_velocity_error <= 0)
  and (gaiadr3.gaia_source.radial_velocity+gaiadr3.gaia_source.radial_velocity_error >= 0)
  and (gaiadr3.gaia_source.pmra-gaiadr3.gaia_source.pmra_error <= 0)
  and (gaiadr3.gaia_source.pmra+gaiadr3.gaia_source.pmra_error >= 0)
  and (gaiadr3.gaia_source.pmdec-gaiadr3.gaia_source.pmdec_error <= 0)
  and (gaiadr3.gaia_source.pmdec+gaiadr3.gaia_source.pmdec_error >= 0);

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

When I was boy, age 8-11, I remember being enthralled by a television show called Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. I even remember playing with a classic Bic pen, pretending it was the submarine Seaview.

Now, 60 years later, I decided to watch the whole series again. Despite all its flaws (some of which I list below), some of the episodes are pretty good.

What are the flaws? First and foremost, it is clear that Irwin Allen—the show’s creator—and many of his writers did not have a good understanding of basic science. Once you get past that, and the Seaviewpopping wheelies“, the Seaview “rock-and-roll” incidents (camera is rocked as the cast rushes from side to side on the set, simulating the submarine being tossed around), the frequent on-board pyrotechnic fires, a circuitry room that begs for a more secure door and an armed guard, and the all-too-frequent “monster of the week” and “mind control” episodes, you’ll always find an excellent cast of regulars (led by Richard Basehart and David Hedison), talented guest stars, and some imaginative stories.

So here goes…

Before you watch the television series episodes, I recommend you watch two submarine-themed movies.

The Enemy Below (1957)
This is a great movie, and includes David Hedison (credited as Al Hedison as Lt. Ware of the USS Haynes) who would go on to play Captain Lee Crane in the Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea television series.

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961)
This is the Irwin Allen film that later launched the television series. Once you get past the scientific inaccuracies (the Van Allen Belts on fire??), there is an excellent cast featuring such luminaries as Walter Pidgeon, Joan Fontaine, the ever beautiful and alluring Barbara Eden (before I Dream of Jeannie), Peter Lorre, Robert Sterling, Michael Ansara (before his role as the Klingon Kang in Star Trek and who was married to Barbara Eden at the time!), Frankie Avalon, and Del Monroe as Seaman Kowski who would go on the play Seaman Kowalski in the television series.

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964-1968)
The television series ran for four seasons. Here are my picks for the best episodes.

Season 1 (1964-1965)

Season 1, Episode 2: “The City Beneath the Sea”

Season 1, Episode 3: “The Fear-Makers”

Season 1, Episode 6: “The Sky Is Falling”

Season 1, Episode 7: “Turn Back the Clock”

Season 1, Episode 9: “Hot Line”
Directed by John Brahm of Twilight Zone fame, and guests include James Doohan and Michael Ansara before Star Trek.

Season 1, Episode 10: “Submarine Sunk Here”

Season 1, Episode 11: “The Magnus Beam”
Guests include Malachi Throne before his appearance on Star Trek.

Season 1, Episode 15: “Long Live the King”

Season 1, Episode 16: “Hail to the Chief”

Season 1, Episode 17: “The Last Battle”

Season 1, Episode 18: “Mutiny”

Season 1, Episode 19: “Doomsday”

Season 1, Episode 20: “The Invaders”

Season 1, Episode 23: “The Human Computer”

Season 1, Episode 28: “The Creature”

Season 2 (1965-1966)

Season 2, Episode 3: “…And Five of Us Are Left”

Season 2, Episode 10: “The Silent Saboteurs”
Guests includes George Takei before Star Trek.

Season 2, Episode 15: “Killers of the Deep”
Guests includes Michael Ansara before Star Trek.

Season 2, Episode 17: “The Phantom Strikes”

Season 2, Episode 22: “The Death Ship”

Season 2, Episode 26: “The Return of the Phantom”

Season 3 (1966-1967)

Season 3, Episode 5: “The Terrible Toys”

Season 3, Episode 13: “The Lost Bomb”

Season 3, Episode 19: “The Mermaid”

Season 3, Episode 23: “Doomsday Island”

Season 4 (1967-1968)

Season 4, Episode 3: “Cave of the Dead”
Guest star Warren Stevens was also a guest on Star Trek later that year.

Season 4, Episode 5: “Sealed Orders”

Season 4, Episode 6: “Man of Many Faces”

Season 4, Episode 7: “Fatal Cargo”

Season 4, Episode 8: “Time Lock”

Season 4, Episode 9: “Rescue”

Season 4, Episode 24: “The Edge of Doom”

Season 4, Episode 26: “No Way Back”

Of the 110 episodes of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea produced, I think that 33 of them (30%) are well worth watching. Season 1 was the only season filmed in black-and-white, and the only season that had 32 episodes instead of 26. It was also the best season, with 15 great episodes. The next best season was the fourth and final season with 8 great episodes, followed by Season 2 with 6 great episodes. Season 3 was the worst season with only 4 great episodes.

Enjoy!

The Coldest Place on Earth

The coldest temperature ever reliably recorded on the surface of the Earth occurred on July 21, 1983, when a temperature of -128.6° F was recorded at Vostok Station, Antarctica (φ = 78° 27′ 52″ S, λ = 106° 50′ 14″ E, elevation 11,444 ft.). Located at the center of the East Antarctic ice sheet, Vostok Station is prone to extremely cold temperatures given its high elevation and location far inland (~868 miles) from the moderating influence of the ocean. Other contributing factors to the low temperature are the extremely low humidity (water vapor retains heat near the surface) and the high albedo of the snow and ice which reflects much solar radiation back out into space.

Vostok Station is the most isolated of all the established research stations on the Antarctic continent. Only about 30 scientists and engineers reside at Vostok Station during the summer months, but during winter that number dwindles to about 15.

The monthly average temperature at Vostok is as follows: April -84.6°F, May -86.4°F, June -85.5°F, July -88.1°F, August -90.2°F, September -86.8°F, October -70.8°F, November -44.7°F, December -25.2°F, January -25.6°F, February -47.7°F, March -72.2°F. The warmest temperature ever recorded at Vostok was +6.8° F on January 5, 1974.

For the current temperature at several locations within Antarctica, including Vostok, see https://www.timeanddate.com/weather/antarctica [apologies for the display ads, but out of my control]. For a Vostok weather forecast, visit https://www.yr.no/en/forecast/daily-table/2-6620791/Antarctica/Vostok%20Station. Planning a trip soon?

Vostok is a desert, averaging just 0.9 inches of snowfall each year. Does any non-dormant indigenous life exist at Vostok Station? No. Except for the human presence there, on the surface it is lifeless. But, fortuitously, Vostok Station sits above a giant freshwater lake called, appropriately, Lake Vostok, 13,100 feet under the ice. Scientists believe that life exists there, but they want to be very, very careful not to biocontaminate the lake as they begin exploring it in earnest.

It is interesting for us to ponder the possibility that sub-surface life exists on Mars and some of the satellites in the outer solar system. Though far more difficult than Lake Vostok to explore, someday we will.

Incidentally, at higher elevations along the Eastern Antarctica Plateau (specifically, along the ridge between Dome Argus and Dome Fuji), satellite measurements between 2010 and 2013 indicate that even colder surface temperatures than at Vostok Station have been reached, perhaps even as low as -144°F. However, since these are not surface temperature measurements, the current Vostok Station record of -128.6° F still holds as the coldest temperature ever recorded on Earth. And with anthropogenic global warming, that record is not likely to be broken anytime soon.

Factino: Did you know that it takes a lot more energy to cool down humid air than to cool down dry air? Air conditioners cool much more efficiently in Arizona and New Mexico than they do in Florida and Louisiana. Moreover, evaporative coolers in desert areas can reduce energy use by 80% or more over refrigerative air conditioning, but they only work well in dry climates.

Tucson Classical Music Performances 2025

Here’s a comprehensive list of live classical music performances in Tucson for the year 2025 where the program of composers and works has been published. I will keep this Excel document regularly updated. Please post a comment if anything should be added or changed.

I’ve included a column called “Dave’s Faves” which notes the works I am already familiar with and that I highly recommend. This is subjective, of course, but I hope this will help some of you in deciding which concerts to attend.

Happy Listening!

Link below is an Excel file (.xlsx).
Last Updated: May 27, 2024

Tucson Classical Music Performances 2025

Click here for 2024 concerts.


Music for Listeners

Music for Listeners is a series of short courses for high school students and adults presenting the works of composers from a listening enjoyment rather than a music theory perspective. Each course presents the life and music of a composer chronologically and is taught by lifelong classical music enthusiast David Oesper.


Classical Music Exploration Club

If you live in the Tucson metro area and would like to get together each month to listen to and discuss recordings of favorite classical music pieces we love and would like to introduce to others, I hope you will consider joining:

Tucson Exploring Classical Music


Sources
Tucson Symphony Orchestra
Arizona Friends of Chamber Music
University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music
Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra
Tucson Repertory Orchestra
Civic Orchestra of Tucson
Saint Andrew’s Bach Society
Arizona Early Music
True Concord, Voices & Orchestra
Arizona Opera
Helios Ensemble
Tucson Masterworks Chorale

Land of the Long Twilights

The first (and only!) sunset1 this year at Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica occurs on March 22 at 0615 UTC (using “astronomer’s time” as time zone has no meaning so close to the South Pole).

The year’s first and only end of civil twilight (when the geometric center of the Sun lies 6° below the horizon) occurs on April 4 at 1153 UTC. That’s 13d05h38m after sunset.

The year’s first and only end of nautical twilight (when the geometric center of the Sun lies 12° below the horizon) occurs on April 21 at 0409 UTC. That’s 16d16h16m after the end of civil twilight.

The year’s first and only end of astronomical twilight (when the geometric center of the Sun lies 18° below the horizon) occurs on May 11 at 0521 UTC. That’s 20d01h12m after the end of nautical twilight, and 49d23h06m after sunset. That’s one heck of a long twilight!

Night lasts from May 11 at 0521 UTC until astronomical twilight begins on July 31 at 1916 UTC. A duration of 81d13h55m.

Nautical twilight begins on August 21 at 0024 UTC. That’s 20d05h08m after the beginning of astronomical twilight.

Civil twilight begins on September 6 at 2121 UTC. That’s 16d20h57m after the beginning of nautical twilight.

The first and only sunrise of the year occurs on September 20 at 0945 UTC. “Morning” twilight lasts a total of 50d14h29m.

The Sun remains above the horizon continuously until sunset on March 22, 2025 at 1100 UTC. Daylight “hours” last 183d01h15m.

Strange place!

1Sunrise and sunset. For computational purposes, sunrise or sunset is defined to occur when the geometric zenith distance of the center of the Sun is 90.8333 degrees. That is, the center of the Sun is geometrically 50 arcminutes below a horizontal plane. For an observer at sea level with a level, unobstructed horizon, under average atmospheric conditions, the upper limb of the Sun will then appear to be tangent to the horizon. The 50-arcminute geometric depression of the Sun’s center used for the computations is obtained by adding the average apparent radius of the Sun (16 arcminutes) to the average amount of atmospheric refraction at the horizon (34 arcminutes).
[Reference: https://aa.usno.navy.mil/faq/RST_defs, but see here:
https://digitalcommons.mtu.edu/etdr/697/]

Note: SkySafari 6 Pro, Version 6.8.2 (6820) for MacOS was used to determine these dates and times. The location coordinates used for Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station were 89° 58′ 59.9″ S, 139° 16′ 01.2″ E, 2835 m.

Fun Fact: Did you know that there is a seismic station near the south pole, and that it has been operating since 1957?

Classical Music Timeline: 1930s

This is one of a series of postings of important classical music dates, from the 17th century to the present. Included are the date and location of the birth and death of composers, and the premiere date and location of the first public performance of works. When the premiere date and location is unknown, the date or year of completion of the work is given. Though reasonably comprehensive, this is a subjective list, so the choice of composers and works is mine. If you find any errors, or if you can offer a premiere date and location for a work where only the completion date or year is listed, please post a comment here.

1930
August 7 – Veljo Tormis (1930-2017) was born in Kuusalu, Estonia

November 28 – Symphony No. 2 in D♭ major, op. 30, “Romantic” by Howard Hanson (1896-1981) was first performed in Boston, Massachusetts

December 17 – Peter Warlock (1894-1930) died in London, England

1931
Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) completed Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite III, P172

Percy Grainger (1882-1961) completed the orchestral version of Blithe Bells (Ramble on Bach’s “Sheep May Safely Graze”)

September 8A Choral Fantasia, op. 51 by Gustav Holst (1874-1934) was first performed in Gloucester, England

October 3 – Carl Nielsen (1865-1931) died in Copenhagen, Denmark

November 22Grand Canyon Suite by Ferde Grofé (1892-1972) was first performed in Chicago, Illinois

December 2 – Vincent d’Indy (1851-1931) died in Paris, France

1932
February 8 – John Williams (1932-) was born in New York, New York

March 17La donna serpente, opera by Alfredo Casella (1883-1947) was first performed in Rome, Italy

April 2 – Symphony No. 9 by Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) was first performed in Munich, Germany

April 22 – Isao Tomita (1932-2016) was born in Tokyo, Japan

May – Piano Quartet in A minor, op. 67 by Joaquín Turina (1882-1949) was first performed (location unknown)

September 5 – Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra in D minor, FP 61 by Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) was first performed in Venice, Italy

1933
Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962) completed Cavatina

Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) completed Pastorale for Violin and Piano

Aita Donostia (1886-1956) completed Urruti-jaia [Festive Song], for chamber orchestra

January 23 – Piano Concerto No. 2 in G major, Sz. 95, BB 101 by Béla Bartók (1881-1945) was first performed in Frankfurt, Germany

April 9 – Sigfrid Karg-Elert (1877-1933) died in Leipzig, Germany

May 13Chorale on a Theme of Hans Leo Hassler, for string orchestra, by George Templeton Strong (1856-1948) was first performed in Geneva, Switzerland

August 30 – Overture to The School for Scandal, op. 5 by Samuel Barber (1910-1981) was first performed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

October 10 – Gloria Coates (1933-2023) was born in Wausau, Wisconsin

October 15 – Concerto for Piano, Trumpet, and String Orchestra (Piano Concerto No. 1), op. 35 by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

1934
February 23 – Edward Elgar (1857-1934) died in Worcester, Worcestershire, England

MarchBrook Green Suite, for string orchestra, H. 190 by Gustav Holst (1874-1934) was first performed in London, England

March 21 – Franz Schreker (1878-1934) died in Berlin, Germany

April 3The Haunted Ballroom, ballet by Geoffrey Toye (1889-1942) was first performed in London, England

May 25 – Gustav Holst (1874-1934) died in London, England

June 10 – Frederick Delius (1862-1934) died in Grez-sur-Loing, France

September 27 – Fantasia on “Greensleeves” by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) and arranged for string orchestra and harp by Ralph Greaves (1889-1966) was first performed in London, England

November 7 – Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, in A minor, op. 43 by Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) was first performed in Baltimore, Maryland

December 21Lieutenant Kijé, suite, op. 60 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Paris, France

December 25 – Cello Sonata in D minor, op. 40 by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

December 31Egyptian Nights, symphonic suite, op. 61 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in a radio broadcast from Moscow, Russia

1935
William Grant Still (1895-1978) completed Summerland

January 28 – Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov (1859-1935) died in Moscow, Russia

March 10 – Auvo Sarmanto (1935-) was born in Helsinki, Finland

March 24Music for a Scene from Shelley, tone poem, op. 7 by Samuel Barber (1910-1981) was first performed in New York, New York

April 10 – Symphony No. 4 in F minor by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was first performed in London, England

May 17 – Paul Dukas (1865-1935) died in Paris, France

May 29 – Josef Suk (1874-1935) died in Benešov, Czech Republic

July 17 – Peter Schickele (1935-2024) was born in Ames, Iowa

November 6 – Symphony No. 1 in B♭ minor by William Walton (1902-1983) was first performed in London, England

December 1 – Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor, op. 63 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Madrid, Spain

December 4 – Johan Halvorsen (1864-1935) died in Oslo, Norway

1936
January 29Summer’s Last Will and Testament, cantata by Constant Lambert (1905-1951) was first performed in London, England

March 21 – Alexander Glazunov (1865-1936) died in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France

April 11Music for Children, for piano, op. 65 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

April 18 – Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) died in Rome, Italy

May 2Peter and the Wolf, a symphonic fairy tale for children, op. 67 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

May 10The Plow That Broke the Plains, with documentary film score by Virgil Thomson (1896-1989), received its public premiere in Washington, D.C.

July 22 – Krasimir Kyurkchiyski (1936-2011) was born in Troyan, Bulgaria

October 2Dona Nobis Pacem, cantata for soprano, baritone, chorus, and orchestra by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was first performed in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England

October 28 – Carl Davis (1936-2023) was born in Brooklyn, New York

November 11 – Edward German (1862-1936) died in London, England

1937
Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) completed Four Marches for Military Band, op. 69

January 19Hollywood Suite by Ferde Grofé (1892-1972) was first performed in New York, New York

January 31 – Philip Glass (1937-) was born in Baltimore, Maryland

March 12 – Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937) died in Paris, France

March 29 – Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937) died in Lausanne, Switzerland

May 7 – “Walking the Dog (Promenade)” by George Gershwin (1898-1937) premiered in the film Shall We Dance. This may be the last instrumental composition by Gershwin.

May 8The Prince and the Pauper, with film score by Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957), was released

July 11 – George Gershwin (1898-1937) died in Los Angeles, California

July 12 – Piano Concerto in D♭ major, op. 38 by Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

September 30 – Valentin Silvestrov (1937-) was born in Kyiv, Ukraine

November 21 – Symphony No. 5 in D minor, op. 47 by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

December 28 – Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) died in Paris, France

1938
Howard Hanson (1896-1981) completed Suite from Merry Mount

Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) completed Cinco piezas del siglo XVI (Five Pieces of the Sixteenth Century), for piano

January 5Songs of Our Days, cantata for mezzo-soprano and baritone soloists, chorus, and orchestra, op. 76 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

February 16 – John Corigliano (1938-) was born in New York, New York

February 22Colas Breugnon, opera, op. 24 by Dmitry Kabalevsky (1904-1987) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

May 26 – William Bolcom (1938-) was born in Seattle, Washington

October 5Serenade to Music in D major by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was first performed in London, England

October 19 – “September Song”, from Knickerbocker Holiday by Kurt Weill (1900-1950) was first performed in New York, New York

November 5Adagio for Strings in B♭ minor by Samuel Barber (1910-1981) was first performed in New York, New York

December 30 – Romeo and Juliet, ballet, op. 64 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Brno, Czech Republic

1939
Percy Grainger (1882-1961) completed “The Duke of Marlborough” Fanfare (BFMS No. 36)

March 9Cuatro piezas para piano by Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) was first performed in Paris, France

May 17Alexander Nevsky, cantata, op. 78 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

June 2 – Enrique Fernández Arbós (1863-1939) died in San Sebastián, Spain

June 22 – Heikki Sarmanto (1939-) was born in Helsinki, Finland

November 21 – Symphony No. 6 in B minor, op. 54 by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

December 21Zdravitsa, cantata for chorus and orchestra, op. 85 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

1920s

1940s