Many composers have written music to evoke the mood of seeing the rising sun, and I thought I’d bring some of this music to you today because an exciting new scientific mission is about to begin. Early Saturday morning, NASA, the American space agency, is sending an unmanned spacecraft closer to the Sun than ever before to study its many mysteries. It is the Parker Solar Probe.
NASA has wanted to implement this mission since the dawn of the space age, but it is only now that the technology is available to make it possible. Parker Solar Probe’s heat shield will withstand temperatures of 2500 degrees Fahrenheit (1377 Celsius) while the measuring instruments in its shadow will remain at a comfortable room temperature.
You can see live coverage of the launch of the Parker Solar Probe, named for pioneering scientist Eugene Parker, at https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html#public starting at 3:00 AM EDT (GMT-4) on Saturday, August 11, 2018 (the launch window begins at 3:33 AM).
And now to the music. We must start with an excerpt of Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra, iconic sunrise music if there ever was any.
You can see Gustavo Dudamel conduct the entire piece with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra here. And here is an audio recording of Richard Strauss conducting his own piece in 1944 with the Vienna Philharmonic.
For a calmer start to your morning, I suggest Grieg’s Morning Mood.
Reaching back in time, here is Joseph Haydn’s Quartet in B flat Major, Op. 76, No. 4 “Sunrise.”
Wishing NASA the best of luck with its pioneering mission, and wishing all of you sunny days ahead!
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