Ultima Thule, New Horizons, New Year And Brian May


 

In a few minutes space history will induct New Years Day 2019 into the cosmic hall of  fame. At 12:33 am EST on January 1, 2019 NASA’s New Horizons probe is tasked with making the farthest close approach fly-by of a space object in human history. Ultima Thule, a tiny Kuiper Belt object no more than 30 kilometers wide is about to be buzzed by the little mission that could. Linked below, a look no more definitive guide to NASA news conferences, live fly-by viewing and mission status.

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/Where-to-Watch.php

Moments ago astrophysicist, New Horizons science collaborator and Queen guitarist Brian May premiered his first solo song in twenty years – New Horizons (Ultima Thule Mix), a tribute to twelve years of New Horizons and her brush with Ultima Thule.

Happy New Year.

I Want To Break Free


Seventy two years ago today Farrokh Bulsara was born in British colonial Zanzibar. Eight year old Farrokh started calling himself Freddie when sent to a British boarding school near Bombay. At twelve Freddie formed The Hectics, a rock cover band with schoolmates. In 1964 the Zanzibar Revolution forced Freddie’s family to flee Zanzibar for England. The Bulsaras settled in Feltham, Middlesex, Freddie enrolled at Isleworth Polytechnic in West London to study art, eventually graduating from Ealing Art College with a degree in graphic design. Freddie sold second hand clothing at Kensington Market, fell in and out of bands and worked as a baggage handler at Heathrow. In 1970 he met Brian May and Roger Taylor, in 1971 John Deacon made it four. Dismissing reservations of band-mates and management company Trident, Freddie named the band Queen and officially changed his name to Freddie Mercury.

https://www.biography.com/people/freddie-mercury-9406228

March 11, 1977 I stood front row at Pacific Colosseum in Vancouver for Queen’s Day at the Races concert. To this day the spectacle of Freddie Mercury gives me chills.

Image result for freddie mercury

For weeks, baggage handlers at Heathrow practiced dance moves to celebrate Mercury’s birthday. Astonished travelers passing through Heathrow today were treated to a heart warming spectacle. Never mind amateur hour, this clip made my day and I hope it does yours.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/freddie-mercury-birthday-heathrow-bagge-handlers-commemorate-queen-star-a3928571.html

Brian May Asteroid Day


On June 30, 1908 an asteroid exploded over Tunguska, Siberia releasing energy of 100 tons TNT – the force flattened 800 square miles of Russian wilderness. Last year astrophysicist Dr. Brian May, Apollo 9 astronaut Ricky Schweickart and astronaut Dr. Ed Lu co-founded Asteroid Day to coincide with the anniversary of the Tunguska event. June 30, 2016 was the second official Asteroid Day.

Hold onto your hat – astrophysicist Dr. Brian May is Brian May, guitarist and songwriter for rock band Queen (he wrote We Will Rock You ). Brian May, ranked 26th of the top 100 guitarists of all time by Rolling Stone magazine in 2011, is an astrophysicist.

With a degree in physics from Imperial College London, 1974 found May working on his thesis ( the study of reflected light from interplanetary dust and the velocity of dust in our solar system ). Academic pursuits ended with the rise of Queen’s star. Over 40 years and honorary degrees from Hertfordshire, Exeter and Liverpool John Moore universities later, May buckled down. Submitting an updated thesis “Motions of Interplanetary Dust” to Imperial College – Brian May earned his PHD in 2007.

Dr. Brian May

From a 2015 interview with the Guardian –

“The aim is to ramp up public awareness and the awareness of governments to the fact that we are under threat from a meteor strike,” May told me during a visit, “It’s been made light of, and we’ve seen some great films, like Bruce Willis saving the day, but it is a very serious threat.”

A key aim of Asteroid Day is to lobby for a 100-fold increase in the detection rate of Near Earth Objects.

“This is a catastrophe that could be averted,” he said.

I leave you with “We Will Rock You – Asteroid Day”

Dr Brian May