Saturday June 10, 2017

Hear the tune that explains the deep space mystery of Trappist-1

(NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Listen 9:40

When science and art come together, the results can be fascinating.  Here's an example.  You might remember a news story from earlier this year — it was about an exciting discovery in astronomy. Scientists discovered seven Earth-sized planets orbiting a nearby dwarf star called Trappist-1. They think at least a few of the planets could be in the right zone to harbour liquid water. And where there's water, there could be life. 

Media around the world were buzzing with Trappist-1 talk — and of course we told you about this unique solar system on our program as well.  This discovery excited people from all walks of life, especially those in the exoplanet community. 

But some weren't just excited — they were inspired.  In particular two astrophysicists from Toronto.  Dan Tamayo at the Centre for Planetary Sciences at the University of Toronto saw a complex puzzle about the Trappist system he wanted to solve.  And the Matt Russo, from the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics, recognized that one key to explaining it, might be music.