Starmus Brings The Universe To Tenerife

Wed, April 20th, 2011 - By Colin

Science fiction has blasted, beamed and projected us into every corner of space but the realities of science are even more amazing.

It’s 50 years since Russian Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space and to celebrate, the Starmus Festival will pull together all the leading lights of the scientific world at the Magma Arts and Congress Centre in Playa de Las Americas between 20 and 25 June.

The theme of the event is Discover The Cosmos And Save The World, and where better to gather than in the Canary Islands with its clear skies for dedicated star gazing. Starmus is like a Who’s Who of astronomy and space travel. True pioneers like Apollo 13 commander Jim Lovell, the second man on the moon, Buzz Aldrin of Apollo 11 and Russia’s first lady of space Valentina Tereshkova will be in attendance.

Leading scientists burning brighter than a supernova will swap theories and equations, with local expert Garik Israelian from the Canary Islands of Astrophysics leading the way. Mix in Caltech’s black hole expert Kip Thorne, biologist Richard Dawkins from Oxford University and Jill Tarter, director of SETI  (Search For Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) and you can see that Tenerife is the place for brains as well as beauty.

So will this lot have their heads buried in books all week? Don’t you believe it. Starmus is also about art and music and these party animals have managed to persuade legendary German rockers Tangerine Dream to perform a rare concert in the Magma Centre featuring special guest star, Queen’s Brian May; let’s hope they don’t storm the stage. There’s plenty of playtime organised as well with field trips arranged to the Tenerife observatory and a day on the island of La Palma at the huge observatory Roque de Las Muchachos, home to Grantecan – the biggest mirror lens telescope in the world. Brian May will be able to hold court on these outside trips too as he studied at both observatories to complete his astronomy PHD recently, his original studies were rudely interrupted when rock and roll propelled him to fame.

The summer solstice takes place during Starmus, which is another excuse for a trip out. This time a Teide star party will be held 2,000 metres above sea level at the Cañadas del Teide National Parador.

Back at the Magma Centre the inspiration of the stars will be celebrated with three exhibitions. Astrophotography Now will try to decide the best submitted astro photo, Space Art and 3D Astronomy will shine a light on the dark corners of the universe, and the SETI Zone will show how messages from space can be decoded.

Looks like a busy time for our assembled experts, and the public will be able to get a glimpse of what goes on in the labs and observatories around the globe. Tenerife skies will rarely have had such concentrated attention, and any of the scientists that fancy a sneaky beach break can always argue that they are merely studying more heavenly bodies.

Posted : Wednesday, April 20th, 2011 at 8:21 am
Category : events
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2 Responses to “Starmus Brings The Universe To Tenerife”

  1. Monet Tipka says:

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  2. […] 2011 Tenerife celebrated 50 years in space with the hugely successful Starmus Festival which featured exhibitions, conferences and concerts. Next year the island will hold its second […]

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