Dr G Goes To Space! (Deluxe Edition)

by Dr G

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1.
When you look up into the sky at night, what do you see? Astrophysical phenomena vast distances away A panorama of lights that’s fascinated us for millennia Not to mention the fairly ordinary star we see each day Our galaxy is a system of hundreds of billions of stars Many are binaries and stellar clusters bound by gravity There are dwarfs and giants, quasars, pulsars, neutron stars and more Join me as we journey to unlock the mystery! What are stars? Nuclear furnaces converting hydrogen to helium What are stars? Creating atoms radiation heat and light What are stars? Spheres of superheated plasma held by gravity What are stars? Generating photons that make them shine so bright We see them every night What are stars In areas of space with denser matter, such as nebulae, Gravity causes clumps of mostly hydrogen to form The temperature will rise as the cluster’s mass increases Until nuclear fusion starts; you could say a star is born! Remaining matter in the stellar cloud can collect to form objects Like the planets in our solar system orbiting the Sun Stellar wind disperses particles through a stellar system and beyond The stuff of distant stars can be found in everyone! When a star exhausts the supply of hydrogen in its core What happens next? The answer will depend upon its mass The outer layers of the star expand and start to cool The mass declines, and gravity will cause our star’s collapse In 5 billion years, our Sun will expand as a red giant, Then contract until it settles as a white dwarf, dim and small A larger star will erupt in brilliant supernova Larger still, it will collapse to a black hole
2.
The planet Mercury, the closest to the Sun The smallest planet in our system, it is #1 It's got a rocky surface, almost no atmosphere A day on Mercury would take two Mercurian years! The planet Venus, the brightest in our sky The closest to the Earth in distance and in mass and size A heavy atmosphere that keeps the heat inside The surface gets so hot that even lead is liquefied! You know the planet Earth - it's where the humans dwell A molten mantle with a water-covered rocky shell The Earth is not too cold, and it is not too hot We'd better keep it that way if we are to have a shot! The planet Mars - it's got two tiny moons The reddish colour comes from iron in the sandy dunes It's half the size of Earth, it's got some polar ice We sent some robots but so far there is no sign of life! These are the planets of the solar system And in this song we will describe and list them Passing along the planetary wisdom The planet Jupiter, with its enormous size It's more than twice as massive as the others all combined A giant ball of gas around a solid core With nearly 80 moons we know of but there could be more The planet Saturn, with all its pretty rings They're made of particles of water ice and other things Two of its largest moons have oceans underground It's the conditions where we might expect that life is found! The planet Uranus - it's got a funny name It's blue like Neptune but the planets are not quite the same It rotates on its side, its rings are vertical It's mostly icy water, methane, and ammonia The planet Neptune, too far away to see Smaller than Uranus but greater mass and density Near supersonic winds, anticyclonic storms Out near the Kuiper Belt is where you'll find this icy orb!
3.
If I were to drop two objects from my hands One heavy and one light – which would be the first to land? If you said the same time, then I think you understand But what could it be? It’s gotta be gravity! Gravity is the property that causes objects to attract With the strength of their pull in proportion to their mass The distance between them squared? It’s inversely proportional to that! What could it be? It’s gotta be gravity! If you were in a rocket, accelerating at a certain rate You couldn’t tell if it was gravity in a stationary state! It’s gotta be gravity Objects are pulling me I’m pulling them microscopically What? It’s gotta be gravity! It’s gotta be gravity Forming the galaxies Shaping their trajectories What? It’s gotta be gravity! The story goes, the apple fell on Newton’s head Then Albert Einstein changed the paradigm again Found that gravitation results from spacetime being bent! They’re asking what could it be? It’s gotta be gravity What if instead of being linear, space and tine are curved Then very massive objects like the Sun or the Earth Bend spacetime itself so straight lines seem to swerve What could it be? It’s gotta be gravity! Here’s an analogy to help to explain: Think of a bowling ball sitting on a four-dimensional plane! So if I were to drop two objects from my hands They would move as the curvature of spacetime demands A curious phenomenon we don’t fully understand And what could it be? It’s gotta be gravity!
4.
Say I want to come and visit you just as fast as I can Well I know nothing's faster than the speed of light, so maybe that would be my plan But wait! if I want to go at lightspeed, assuming I have mass It would take an infinite amount of energy to get me that fast You see, some unusual things happen at extremely high speeds Time starts to get wonky and an object's length starts to decrease Now if you're in a fast-moving spaceship, you wouldn't notice this change In other words, the laws of physics are invariant within your inertial frame But the speed of light is constant independent of you No matter how fast you're travelling, no matter what your point of view And if it travels in a vacuum you can call it c Because the speed of light is constant - I'm talking relativity The speed of light If you were flying in a spaceship at a high velocity And I was standing still right here on Earth, waiting for you to come to me The speed of light would appear the same to us, but there'd be a difference in time So what would seem like hours from your perspective could feel like days from mine Say we're in two fast-moving spaceships and we're having a race You might measure my speed as zero as long as I keep pace But light is a little bit different because no matter what your speed Any time that you try to measure it you'll always get the same read 299,792,458 meters per second
5.
Have you ever wanted to go to Mars? Stand on top of Olympus Mons staring at the Martian sky Lie in your space suit underneath the stars Two tiny moons hanging overhead and the Earth a distant light But did you know your life would be very hard? Mars isn’t suitable for human life and there are many reasons why Low gravity No air to breathe No magnetosphere No radiation shield Temperature low No water flows No food can grow So do you wanna go? Do you want to go to Mars? Take a trip so very far You’ll be the first generation on another planet Build a new civilization for humanity Never see the Earth again Miss your family, miss your friends but we’ll Settle on this world, yeah we’ll make it ours If you say goodbye to Earth and live your life on Mars The Martian atmosphere is very thin Low pressure and temperatures keep water locked up as ice The air was stripped away by solar wind But maybe millions of years ago it was more suitable for life And when a storm of dust starts blowing in You might find that life on Mars just isn’t very nice I love the Earth… Mars ain’t the kind of place we could substitute for Earth And whether it can be terraformed is currently unknown It could never match the biodiversity of our pale blue dot However far we may go, this world will always be our home But…
6.
We might think that denser regions of space are where the scientific action is That the study of galaxies, stars and nebulae would be the most informative And we might think that interstellar space would be a comparative snooze But there’s a lot about so-called empty space that is fascinating too Vera Rubin realized all the mass in the galaxy can’t account for its rotation There must be many times more mass to have sufficient gravitation Which means most of the matter in the cosmos is of a type we can’t perceive Dark matter is the name we give to this cosmic mystery We might think that interstellar space is as cold as anything can be But space is slightly warmer than absolute zero by 2.7 degrees Because of cosmic microwave background radiation left over from the big bang With patterns that can show us how the early cosmos was arranged We might also find super-high energy particles called cosmic rays Released from stars and supernovae, perhaps beyond the Milky Way And we might find massless bodies such as photons in interstellar space With light, x-rays, and gamma rays, it can be quite a busy place! We might find quantum fluctuations in what we think is empty space Where a particle will appear along with its antiparticle mate Existing only for a moment, they annihilate, and then are gone The uncertainty principle predicts this strange phenomenon
7.
It’s time to talk time! Now we can’t imagine existence outside time So how do we define time? How do we describe time? Can we talk about a time before time? A time perpendicular to time? Is time infinite, or can its limits be defined? Quantified? It’s time to talk time! Can we describe time as loops or lines? Einstein theorized time as part of curved spacetime So we define the fourth dimension as time The question is why we only go one direction in time Is there a beginning or an end to time? Maybe not if gravity can bend time It’s time to talk time!
8.
If there are hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy alone With potentially billions of planets in their habitable zones Then even with million to one odds of intelligent life Statistically speaking, we’re probably not alone But I’ve never seen an alien – have you? So assuming for the moment that our hypothesis is true Then as the physicist Enrico Fermi once asked, Where is everybody? So I pose the question to you: On a planet formed 5.5 billion years ago Where life had a billion-year head start to grow If you can fly across the galaxy in a mere million years The question is why haven’t we seen them before Consider: A civilization a million years older than ours A superintelligent people who travel the stars Then just as we send signals out into space You’d think evidence of such beings could be seen from afar! So I ask: Maybe life will inevitably come to an end Maybe they communicate in a way that we can’t comprehend Maybe they exist in a form that we can’t perceive Maybe they live in a place they don’t ever need to leave Maybe we inhabit a lonely backwater of space Maybe they don’t have any interest in this primitive place Or maybe we just need a little bit more time It’s a humbling thing to look up into the sky At the tiny fraction of the universe that’s visible to our eye Whether life is all around us, or so rare that we’re alone It’s truly remarkable that we can even ask why So be good to each other, cuz we’re a single human race With the intelligence to understand the challenges we face If we all work together, we can reach for the stars And discover the mysteries that await us in space And find out:
9.
We know all matter’s made of atoms but what holds them together? What binds the molecules in objects and makes them feel solid? And what gives everything around us all the different colours Let’s go on a journey of electromagnetic knowledge! Think about this fact: Particles with the same charge will repel and with the opposite charge they'll attract Electromagnetism Electromagnetism Electromagnetism Seems like magic but it’s science Positive and negative attraction It’s a fundamental interaction Studying the universe in action Using science Just like the sun’s gravity keeping the planets in motion Inside an atom the protons pull the electrons in the shell But unlike gravity, which only ever pulls things together Particles with the opposite charge will attract but with the same charge they will repel When atoms get excited, they start to send out Electromagnetic vibrations We call it light or gamma rays or maybe radio waves Based on the frequency of oscillation

credits

released June 26, 2019

Mixed and mastered by Pete MacDonald (except track 1)
What Are Stars? mixed and mastered by Ed Renzi
Lyrics and music by Greg Melchin

Personnel:
Dr G: vocals, theremin, bass, guitar, keyboards, programming
Brendan Melchin: electric percussion
Pat Healy: guitar
Scott Neary: guitar
Casey Thompson: bass
Carolyn Curry: keyboards, vocals
Paul St-Amand: vocals
Kyle Varley: keyboards
James Spray: programming
James Harding: Sega Mega Drive programming

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Dr G Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia

Dr G is a theremin-playing space geek on a mission to spread the word about science! Merging hooky new wave beats with lyrics explaining science and the natural universe – think Talking Heads fronted by Bill Nye the Science Guy – Dr G creates a sound that is utterly unique, and as educational as it is infectious. ... more

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