Pegasus: Keck 10-metre Telescope

This is a


"(Far) Out There!"



Beethoven was completely deaf when he wrote (and conducted) his 9th symphony.

It is thought that he must have been able to hear it internally though, firstly just to create it and then, just through sensing vibrations and looking at the score, long years of musical creativity and exposure to his discipline giving him this remarkable, quasi-auditory capability. We marvel but will never have the adequate explanation, of course - only theories.

But what if he (or we) could hear in some other fashion?

We do not need our ears to hear everything; in fact, our own voices are 'heard' only partly by our ears and partly by the vibrations set up within our bone structure ... which is why tape recordings of our own voices sound strange and unfamiliar to us: we don't hear them as others do - only with their ears.

There are radio transmitters that work through this same principle, the bones of the skull being used to transmit the vibrations produced by our vocalizations, these to be electronically translated into information to be sent and received as audio signals. Normal sound is just a vibration, a frequency, that is picked up and interpreted by a receiver. (Is there a 'sound' when a tree falls alone in the forest, or only vibrations looking for a receiver to translate them into sound? It's an old question.)

What is required to hear sound is a receiver, adequately tuned to the transmitting frequency - and the circuitry required to interpret it as sound, of course. What if great composers are somehow attuned in their hearts and minds and spirits to hear things that we do not normally hear? Could that 'out there' speculation explain some seemingly incomprehensible talent and creativity?

Perhaps it might, in part. And, if they do have some uncommon ability or sense to hear what most of us are missing, what might they be hearing?

Recently, a nearby neutron star (SGR 1806-20) pulsed for 1/5th of a second and sent its vibrations roaring through the cosmos, bombarding Earth with a frequency of 94.5mhz: F-sharp. It was estimated that this little hiccup involved as much energy as our sun would output in 250K years, making the source of this burst, very briefly, more than 1000 times brighter than all the stars in our galaxy combined!

Quite the bombastic, musical statement.

Other neutron stars, over a million in our own galaxy, it is estimated (and who could imagine how many others in however many other galaxies there might be) are also faithfully broadcasting their unseen and unheard (by most of us) contributions to the heavenly anthem.

If we had a reciever that could collect and interpret these vibrations as the human ear and brain might process them, what might we hear ... a cacaphony? ... a symphony?

The Bible refers in one place to the stars singing together and it just casually mentions that not one of these stars "fails" in it's appointed purpose. What is their purpose? Is the universe an instrument? Is there a master musician composing heavenly music that a few have the ability to tune in to, these, in turn, being driven to transcribe their hearing and interpretation of it for the rest of us? Perhaps even super-novas are appointed to punctuate these compositions as the timely clash of cymbals ... or the rythmic pulse of drums ...

... even the explosive sounds of canons!


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