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Suite 16

Posted at 8:01 AM on October 6, 2006 by John Zech
Filed under: The blog

Lunatic alert! The Hunter's Moon enters it's full moon phase tonight at 10:13 pm CDT (cue howling), but right now astronomers are focusing on another part of our galaxy.

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope announced Wednesday the discovery of potentially 16 new planets. These extrasolar candidates are roughly the size of Jupiter and nearly 26,000 light-years away. The Sagittarius Window Eclipsing Extrasolar Planet Search, as the quest is called, led the Hubble survey of about 180,000 stars. Team member Mario Livio says his group's findings offer new insight into our galaxy. "This allows us to say now with a very high degree of confidence that there are literally billions of planets in our galaxy," he said.

The Planetary Society came out with a good article on the discovery yesterday.

So maybe it's time for a composer of our time to step up and do a musical sequel to Holst's Planets Suite. Holst had among his titles "Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity" and "Mars, the Bringer of War." Got any ideas for some new names?

If you want to revisit Holst's Planets, The Metropolitan Symphony is playing the whole suite this Sunday afternoon, and they'll have a real live astrophysicist there to share some insights into our planetary system using some of his remarkable photos. The concert is at Trinity Lutheran in Stillwater at 4pm Sunday. More details at their website.