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Archive for February, 2016

Going in to the 3rd weekend of the 2016 6 Nations  there were three unbeaten countries – England, France and Wales. With Wales beating France on Friday, and England beating Ireland on Saturday, the scene is now set for a showdown between England and Wales in the fourth round in a fortnight.

Wales v France

This match was the first of the weekend, being played on Friday evening in Cardiff. I am currently in Namibia (Southern Africa), but there was no problem finding a place to watch the match as all the 6 Nations games are being shown on a South African sports channel here. I watched the Wales v France game in a restaurant, but I have to say I found the contents of my plate far more interesting than the first half of this match.

Wales went in to half-time 6-3 ahead in a dour first half. Thankfully the second half was slightly better; Wales quickly opened up a 19-3 lead thanks to a try by George North and a conversion and two penalties by Dan Biggar. However, the highlight of the second half for me was the wonderful defence that Wales showed in keeping France out during a 15-or-so minute siege of their try line.

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Wales defeated France 19-10 in Cardiff on Friday evening

France did get a consolation try when the game was all but over, to leave the final score 19-10. This scoreline gives a slightly false impression of the game; a game in which France created nothing and looked even worse than a lacklustre Wales. Wales have now beaten France five times in a row, the last time we lost to them was the semi-final of the 2011 World Cup in November 2011. Additionally, Wales have now gone undefeated in seven straight 6 Nations matches; our last defeat was to England in Cardiff in the opening match of the 2015 6 Nations.

Italy v Scotland

I saw nothing of this game, but I am pleased to see that Scotland halted their abysmal run of 6 Nations defeats by finally registering a win, beating Italy 36-20 in Rome. They showed such promise in the World Cup, and I really hope they can use this win to start winning some 6 Nations matches and playing as well as they did in last year’s World Cup. The 6 Nations is better when playing against Scotland are not a guaranteed win, as it seems to have been for almost all the other countries for the last several years.

England v Ireland

I did not watch this match, but I followed it on the internet. England had a narrow 6-3 lead at half-time, and went down 10-6 through a try by Ireland scrum half Connor Murray. From what I read, in a short 10-minute period in the second half they scored two tries and went from 6-10 down to a 21-10 lead, which they never relinquished, despite having 2 players sin-binned. So far, they are the team that have most impressed me in this 6 Nations, they have found a new lease of life under the new coach Eddie Jones.

Twickenham callling

The fourth round of 6 Nations matches in a fortnight’s time, and the big match is England v Wales in Twickenham on the 12th. Thankfully I will  be back from my travelling for that match, so far I have been away for all three rounds. This game is massive for both sides. For Wales it is, of course, a chance to not only defeat the old enemy, but to win two matches in a row at Twickenham for the first time since the 1970s, and to scupper England’s chance of a Grand Slam and to leave us with the strongest chance of winning the Championships ourselves (with only Italy at home remaining).

For England, it is an opportunity to put the nightmare of their defeat by Wales and their exit from the World Cup behind them. There is absolutely no doubt that both sides will look upon it as the biggest match of the 6 Nations, and I expect a very fiery encounter. if Wales are to stand any chance of winning they will certainly have to play better than they have so far done in this 6 Nations. But, a sign of a good team is when they win and don’t play particularly well in doing so. I think this is true of this Wales team. We shall see in Twickenham!

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At number 12 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest songwriters is Brian Wilson. Wilson is the creative genius behind The Beach Boys, one of the most innovative bands of the 1960s. He has written such timeless classics as ‘God Only Knows’ (which I have blogged about here and here), ‘Sloop John B’ (which I blogged about here), ‘Good Vibrations’ (which I blogged about here), ‘Surfin’ USA’ and many others.

At number 12 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 100 greatest songwriters of all time is Brian Wilson.

At number 12 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest songwriters of all time is Brian Wilson.

In addition to being a prolific songwriter, Wilson produced many of the Beach Boys’ records, becoming a master of multi-track recording in the days when most studios had a four-track recorder if they were lucky. His production of the Beach Boys’ seminal 1966 album Pet Sounds is considered one of the great works of the 1960s.

The song I thought I would share from Wilson’s vast songwriting catalogue is one of the Beach Boys’ early ones – ‘Little Deuce Coupe’. This song was released in July of 1963 as the B-side to the single ‘Surfer Girl’. It is also the title and first track on their fourth studio album, Little Deuce Coupe. Of course, the song has the Beach Boys’ trademark close-harmony singing.

One of the reasons I chose this particular song is that the title is essentially incomprehensible to someone from the Disunited Kingdom (and possibly most other places too!), until you find out what a ‘deuce coupe’ is. It is/was a slang term for a Ford Model 18, the 1932 model was called the ‘deuce coupe’. Another reason I chose this song is that it typifies the early 1960s Beach Boys’ “surfer sound”, which didn’t just glamorise the surfing culture but also cars and the car culture of southern California.

Little deuce Coupe
You don’t know what I got
Little deuce Coupe
You don’t know what I got

Well I’m not braggin’ babe so don’t put me down
But I’ve got the fastest set of wheels in town
When something comes up to me he don’t even try
Cause if I had a set of wings man I know she could fly
She’s my little deuce coupe
You don’t know what I got
(My little deuce coupe)
(You don’t know what I got)

Just a little deuce coupe with a flat head mill
But she’ll walk a Thunderbird like (she’s) it’s standin’ still
She’s ported and relieved and she’s stroked and bored.
She’ll do a hundred and forty with the top end floored
She’s my little deuce coupe
You don’t know what I got
(My little deuce coupe)
(You don’t know what I got)

She’s got a competition clutch with the four on the floor
And she purrs like a kitten till the lake pipes roar
And if that ain’t enough to make you flip your lid
There’s one more thing, I got the pink slip daddy

And comin’ off the line when the light turns green
Well she blows ’em outta the water like you never seen
I get pushed out of shape and it’s hard to steer
When I get rubber in all four gears

She’s my little deuce coupe
You don’t know what I got
(My little deuce coupe)
(You don’t know what I got)
She’s my little deuce coupe
You don’t know what I got
(My little deuce coupe)
(You don’t know what I got)
She’s my little deuce coupe
You don’t know what I got

Here is a video of this great song. Enjoy!

Which is your favourite Brian Wilson song?

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Wales coach Warren Gatland has announced the Wales team to face France in Cardiff tomorrow (Friday) evening a day early. He has made three changes from the team who defeated Scotland on Saturday February 13, with one of his changes being to bring winger Alex Cuthbert back into the starting fifteen. I have to say, I am surprised by this decision as Cuthbert’s form of late has been woeful, but there is no doubt that Gatland is a fan of the big winger.

The other non-enforced change is to bring Dan Lydiate back in as blind side flanker, with captain Sam Warburton moving back to his preferred position of open side flanker. I think most pundits agree that playing Warburton at blind side and having Justin Tipuric at open side in our opening two games of this year’s 6 Nations has not really worked. Being at blind side, Warburton has been slower to the breakdown than he normally is, and as a consequence Wales have not been able to turnover possession as much as they usually do. We have also, in my opinion, missed Lydiate’s chop-tackling. But, there is no doubt that it is nice to have the flexibility of either playing Warburton with Lydiate or pairing him with Tipuric, and Gatland would argue that he sets the balance of the back row depending on who the opposition is.

The third and final change is enforced by injury to Luke Charteris, so Bradley Davies comes in to replace him in the second row.

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Coach Warren Gatland has made three changes to the Wales team to face France tomorrow (Friday) evening in Cardiff. Two are tactical, one is enforced by injury

Wales go into their third game of the 2016 6 Nations undefeated, with a draw away from home against Ireland in their opening match, and a win over Scotland at home in the second round. France, however, have two wins from two, with wins over Italy and Ireland. In my opinion, France have not looked very impressive in either of these two wins, and Wales have a good chance I think of racking up their fifth win in a row over them.

The other matches this weekend are both on Saturday, Italy v Scotland followed by England v Ireland. Ireland’s chances of retaining the 6 Nations title are all but dead after their defeat against France, whereas England (like France) are two wins from two. Should Wales and England both win this weekend then it will be certainly be game-on for our clash with England; the clash between the two at Twickenham on March 12 could be the title decider. So, here’s hoping that Ireland defeat England and do us a favour this weekend!

The full 23-man squad to face France is below.

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Wales’ 23-man squad to face France tomorrow (Friday) evening

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At number 27 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is their 1965 song “You’re Going to Lose That Girl”. This song was a John Lennon & Paul McCartney collaboration, which was pretty rare by 1965. It was the last song composed for their album Help! before they started filming for the movie of the same name.

“You’re Going to Lose that Girl” features wonderful harmonies. Lennon takes the lead vocal with McCartney and George Harrison harmonising in the responses to Lennon’s vocals. It was recorded in February of 1965, and appears as the 6th track on the first side of the album Help!, which was released in August 1965.

In the USA, the song was originally entitled “You’re Gonna Lose That Girl”, which is what the band actually say; but this was later changed to the same title as its British release. Incidentally, as far back as 1963 the Beatles were using “americanisms” in their songs, with “yeah, yeah, yeah” in their 1963 song “Please Please Me” being an obvious example. This was just following the American music to which they had listened whilst growing up, but at the time McCartney’s father remarked on this, suggesting that they should sing “yes, yes, yes” instead!

At number 27 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is "You're Going to Lose That Girl".

At number 27 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “You’re Going to Lose That Girl”.

You’re going to lose that girl
You’re going to lose that girl
If you don’t take her out tonight
She’s going to change her mind
And I will take her out tonight
And I will treat her kind

You’re going to lose that girl
You’re going to lose that girl
If you don’t treat her right, my friend
You’re going to find her gone
Cos I will treat her right, and then
You’ll be the lonely one

You’re going to lose that girl
You’re going to lose that girl
I’ll make a point
Of taking her away from you, yeah
The way you treat her what else can I do?

You’re going to lose that girl
You’re going to lose that girl
I’ll make a point
Of taking her away from you, yeah
The way you treat her what else can I do?

If you don’t take her out tonight
She’s going to change her mind
And I will take her out tonight
And I will treat her kind
You’re going to lose that girl
You’re going to lose that girl
You’re going to lose that girl

Here is a video of this lovely song. Enjoy!

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One of the physicists in our book Ten Physicists Who Transformed Our Understanding of Reality (follow this link for more information on the book) is, not surprisingly, Isaac Newton. In fact, he is number 1 in the list. One could argue that he practically invented the subject of physics. We decided to call him the ‘father of physics’, with Galileo (whose life preceded Newton’s) being given the title of ‘grandfather’.

Newton was, clearly, a man of genius. But he was also a nasty, vindictive bastard (not to mince my words!). He didn’t really have any close friends in his life; there were plenty of people who admired him and respected him, and of course he had colleagues. But, apart from a niece whom he seemed to dote on in later life, and two men with whom he probably had love affairs, he was not a man who sought company. He was probably autistic, but lived at a time before such conditions were diagnosed or talked about.

Isaac Newton (1643-1727), the ‘father of physics’. He relished in feuding with other scientists

One sort of interaction that he did seem to enjoy with other people though was feuds. In fact, he seemed to thrive on feuding with other scientists. He loved to argue with others, which is not uncommon amongst academics. He had strong opinions which he liked to defend; this is normal. But, Newton took these disputes to an extreme; if he fell out with someone he would do everything he could to destroy that person.

Although I am sure that he had many ‘minor’ arguments, he had three main feuds with fellow scientists. These three men were

  • Robert Hooke – curator of experiments at the Royal Society
  • Gottfried (von) Leibniz – the German mathematician
  • John Flamsteed – the first Astronomer Royal

In each case, he did his level best to destroy the other man. Each of these feuds is discussed in more detail in our book, but in this blogpost I will give a brief summary of his feud with Leibniz.

The feud came about because Newton refused to believe that Leibniz had independently come up with the mathematical idea of calculus. It was a recurring theme throughout Newton’s life that he sincerely believed that he was special. He had deep religious views (some would say extreme religious views). As part of these views, he believed that he had been specially chosen by God to understand things that others would never be able to understand.

Thus, when he heard that Leibniz had developed a mathematics similar to his own ‘theory of fluxions’ (as Newton called it), he naturally assumed that the German had stolen it from him. There then ensued a 30-year dispute between the two men, with Newton very much the aggressor.

Gottfried (von) Leibniz (1646-1716), German mathematician and co-inventor of calculus

It escalated from a dispute to a feud, and culminated in the Royal Society commissioning an ‘official investigation’ to establish propriety for the invention of calculus. When the report came out in 1713 it came out in Newton’s favour. But, by this time Newton was not only President of the Royal Society, but he had secretly authored the entire report. It was anything but impartial. Leibniz died the following year, a broken man from Newton’s relentless attacks.

One should, of course, be able to to admire a person for their work but not admire them in the least for the person that they were. Newton, in my mind, falls very firmly into this category. His contribution to physics is unparalleled, but I don’t think he was the kind of person one would want to know or even come across if one could help it!

Ten Physicists Who Transformed Our Understanding of Reality is available now. Follow this link to order

Ten Physicists Who Transformed Our Understanding of Reality is available now. Follow this link to order

What is your favourite story about Newton?

 

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Yesterday (Sunday) afternoon, Chelsea played Manchester City in the fifth round of the FA Cup. They thrashed a below-strength Man City 5-1, and so still have a chance to win some silverware this season. Quite a turn around after a disasterous start to their season, which saw José Mourinho sacked after players mutinied against him. 

 

It will be interesting to see whether there are any complaints or investigations into Manuel Pelligrini’s decision to field an under-strength team for this FA Cup clash. Certainly the Premiership takes a very dim view of such things, but maybe the FA accepts that the FA Cup is not a top team’s priority these days. 

Man City, of course, have their sights set on winning the Premiership and progressing in the Champions League. And, with Pep Guardiola set to replace Pelligrini in the summer, it is likely that they are a team which has a golden few years to come. Chelsea, meanwhile, have very little chance of finishing in the top four, so winning the FA Cup can provide some joy at the end of a tempestuous season. 

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At number 13 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest songwriters is American songwriter Hank Williams. Williams is probably better known and more revered in the USA than in the Disunited Kingdom, but no less than Bob Dylan referred to him in a 1991 interview as “the best songwriter”.

Williams was born in Alabama in 1923, and died in 1953 in a car accident at the tragically young age of 29 (***correction – he died whilst travelling in a car, not from a car accident***). But, during a brief recording history he had 31 songs in the US Country charts top 10 between 1947 and 1953, and is considered to be one of the most influential songwriters of the 20th century. Some of his better known songs are “Hey Good Lookin'”, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”, “I Saw the Light” and “Your Cheatin’ Heart”.

At number 13 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 100 greatest songwriters of all time is Hank Williams.

At number 13 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest songwriters of all time is Hank Williams.

The song I have decided to share in this blogpost is his 1951 song “Cold Cold Heart”. This was released as the B-side to the single “Dear John”.

I tried so hard,my dear,to show that you’re my every dream
Yet you’re afraid each thing I do is just some evil scheme
A memory from your lonesome past keeps us so far apart
Why can’t I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold, cold heart?

Another love before my time made your heart sad and blue
And so my heart is paying now for things I didn’t do
In anger, unkind words are said that make the teardrops start
Why can’t I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold, cold heart?

You’ll never know how much it hurts to see you sit and cry
You know you need and want my love, yet you’re afraid to try
Why do you run and hide from life, to try it just ain’t smart
Why can’t I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold, cold heart?

There was a time when I believed that you belonged to me
But now I know your heart is shackled to a memory
The more I learn to care for you, the more we drift apart
Why can’t I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold, cold heart?

Here is a video of Williams performing “Cold Cold Heart” live on TV. Enjoy!

Which is your favourite Hank Williams song?

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A new window on the Universe

Last Thursday (11 February 2016) the very exciting news broke that scientists had directly detected gravitational waves for the very first time. I briefly blogged about it here, but now that I am back from giving talks in South America I have a little more time (and a much better internet connection) to write a more complete blogpost about it.

This direct detection, hopefully the first of many, was made by two international teams (including colleagues of mine at Cardiff University) using the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), which is in the United States. The link to the actual paper, which appears in Physical Review Letters, is here. As you can see from the abstract of the paper (see below), the signal was detected by both LIGO detectors simultaneously, which is a very important point as it strongly suggests that the detection is real.

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The abstract of the paper by Abbott et al. announcing the first ever detection of gravitational waves (from Physical Review Letters)

If you read the last sentence of the abstract, you will notice that it states that not only is this the first ever direct detection of gravitational waves, but is also the first ever observation of two black holes merging. This illustrates nicely that being able to detect gravitational waves opens up a whole new way of learning about the Universe; so this detection marks a significant step forward in our capabilities to “observe” our Universe. In my mind, it is as significant as William Herschel’s accidental discovery of infrared light in 1800, which was the first ever detection of radiation outside of the visible part of the spectrum.

What are gravitational waves?

Gravitational waves were predicted by Albert Einstein in 1916, as a natural consequence of his new theory of gravity – general relativity. Unlike Newton’s theory of gravity, which argued that gravity acts instantaneously, Einstein’s general theory of relativity predicts that gravity is due to a bending of spacetime. The bending (warping) is produced by masses (e.g. the Sun, black holes, galaxies, clusters of galaxies); and changes in any gravitational field travel through space at the speed of light from the place of change as ripples , distorting spacetime as they spread outwards.

Although predicted one hundred years ago by Einstein’s theory, up until now there has only been indirect evidence for gravitational waves. The best example of indirect evidence is from observations of pulsars, spinning neutron stars. Back in 1974 it was noticed by Russell Hulse and Joseph Taylor that the period of a particular pulsar, PSR B1913+16 (which happens to be one of a pair of orbiting neutron stars) was slowing down. It was argued that this was due to the neutron stars spiralling towards each other and losing energy, with this energy being taken away in the form of gravitational waves. The calculations matched, the loss of energy being measured agreed with the predicted energy which should be carried away as gravitational waves. Hulse and Taylor received the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics for this work.

Since then, there have been other similar observations, all agreeing with the predictions of general relativity; but until now there had been no direct observations of the elusive gravitational waves.

‘Seeing’ back to the beginning of time

The cosmic microwave background, the subject of my recent book, comes about from when the Universe became transparent.

My book "The Cosmic Microwave Background - how it changed our understanding of the Universe" is published by Springer

My book “The Cosmic Microwave Background – how it changed our understanding of the Universe” is published by Springer and can be found by following this link.

But, when I say ‘transparent’, I mean transparent to electromagnetic (EM) radiation. Gravitational waves are not EM radiation, so the opacity of the Universe before about 400,000 years into its existence does not apply to gravitational waves. These should be detectable back to the very tiniest fraction of the first second, a time when gravity and the other three forces separated. The ‘surface of last scattering’ (from where the CMB comes), effectively acts as a wall to EM radiation,  but it is transparent to gravitational waves.

We have a very long way to go before we are able to detect gravitational waves directly from anything but nearby objects. But, the potential is there at some point in the future to be able to use gravitational waves to probe back to the beginning of time. That is a truly exciting possibility!

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Jupiter at opposition

A few days ago I was contacted by the Western Mail to give some information about the upcoming opposition of Jupiter, which will happen on March 8. The article to which I contributed can be found here, but I thought I would add some more detail here in my blog to the few brief sentences I was asked to contribute to the Western Mail article.

When we say that a planet is at opposition, what we mean is that it is in the opposite direction in the sky to where the Sun is, as shown in the figure below. In fact, the Sun-Earth-planet make a straight line when a planet is at opposition, with the Earth being the middle object in the straight line. The other straight line configuration formed by the Sun-Earth-planet is when the planet lies beyond the Sun with the Sun in the middle. We call this configuration conjunction.

Only planets further from the Sun can be at opposition; Mercury and Venus can only ever be at conjunction, either on our side of the Sun (inferior conjunction) or on the other side (superior conjunction).

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Only planets outside of the Earth’s orbit (superior planets) can be at opposition, and this is usually the best time to see them

The average distance from the Earth to the Sun, just a little under 150 million kilometres, is called the Astronomical Unit (AU). It is a convenient unit to use when discussing the Solar System. On this scale Jupiter, which is roughly five times further away from the Sun that the Earth, is 5 AUs.

It takes Jupiter roughly 12 years to orbit the Sun. This means that it appears to move through one zodiacal constellation each year, as there are 12 zodiacal constellations.  This year it is in Leo, last year (2015) it was in Cancer, and next year (2017) it will be in Virgo. This also means that, whilst it is currently visible in our winter and spring skies, in 6 years’ time it will become more of a summer object and disappear from our winter skies.

Although Leo is a fairly easy to find constellation (much easier than Cancer), Jupiter outshines all the stars in Leo. In fact, even when at its furthest from Earth, Jupiter outshines all of the stars in the sky, even Sirius. The only point-like object in the sky which can appear brighter than Jupiter is Venus, which is currently in the evening sky towards the west and setting within a few hours of sunset. You will never seen Venus in the middle of the night, whereas Jupiter is currently visible nearly all night.

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How Jupiter should appear through a small telescope. The Galilean moons (Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto) should be clearly visible, and if you are lucky you may also see the bands and the great red spot

The varying brightness of Jupiter

Because oppositions happen when Earth is passing Jupiter, and in a year Jupiter has moved about one twelfth of its path around the Sun, each opposition of Jupiter is spaced by about 13 months. The opposition in 2015 was on February 6 and in 2017 it will be on April 7. When Jupiter is at opposition, it is about 4 AUs from Earth, whereas when it is at conjunction it is about 6 AUs from Earth.

Although this is 50% further away, it means that Jupiter’s brightness in the sky does not vary as much as Mars, which varies a huge amount between when it is at opposition and when it is near conjunction (I say ‘near’ as you cannot see a planet when it is at conjunction). When at opposition, Jupiter has a magnitude of about -2.5 (it doesn’t vary much as both Earth and Jupiter have quite circular orbits); when it is near conjunction its magnitude is about -1.7. This is a luminosity difference of 10^{0.4(2.5-1.7)} = 10^{0.32} = 2.1, so just over twice as bright when at opposition compared to when it is near conjunction.

Compare this to Mars, which brightens considerably when at opposition. This is because Mars is much closer to Earth, with an orbit which is roughly 1.5 AUs. If it were a circular orbit (which it is not, Mars has a more elliptical orbit than either the Earth or Jupiter), this would mean that at opposition it would be about 0.5 AUs from Earth, but when near conjunction it is about 2.5 AUs, so about 5 times further away! If you move something 5 times further away its brightness goes down by a factor of 5^{2}=25! This is why the brightness of Mars varies so much in different parts of its orbit.

When can I see Jupiter in March?

When a planet is at opposition not only is it at its brightest, but it is also in the night-time sky essentially all night. It transits the local meridian around midnight, and when an object transits the meridian it is at its highest point in the sky. But, even a month or two before opposition or a month or two after opposition, Jupiter is in the sky for most of the night. It is easy to see in the late evening sky at the moment, and as we move past March and into April it will rise earlier and earlier and so be easily visible soon after sunset. In May it will already be up quite high by the time the Sun sets.

Jupiter is well worth seeing, even without a telescope or binoculars. Remember, if you are not sure whether you are looking at Jupiter just ask yourself is it the brightest point-like object in the sky. If it is, and it is not over towards the west just after sunset, then you are almost certainly looking at Jupiter. Compare its light to the stars near it; you will notice that Jupiter’s light is steady whereas the stars near it usually twinkle. Stars twinkle, planets don’t.

If you have access to either a small telescope or binoculars you should be able to see the Galilean moons. These were first seen by Galileo in January 1610, and provided the first piece of evidence that not everything orbited the Earth. Io, the closest of the four to Jupiter, takes less than two days to orbit its parent planet, and so even in a few hours you can see a shift in its position. This never ceases to amaze and excite me, even though I have seen it dozens of times. If you are really lucky, you may make out the bands of Jupiter and even its great red spot. I have seen the great red spot a few times. It is a truly memorable sight to see it with your own eyes rather than a photograph in a book or on the web.

 

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At number 28 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is George Harrison’s 1969 masterpiece “Here Comes the Sun”, one of my favourite Beatles songs. This song was composed by Harrison during a difficult time when the Beatles were frequently bickering. One day, Harrison decided to play truant from a planned business meeting at the band’s Apple Corps organisation. Instead, he went to see his friend Eric Clapton; the song was composed in Clapton’s garden. According to Clapton, it was April 1969.

“Here Comes the Sun” was recorded over the summer of 1969, and appears as the first track on the second side of their 1969 album Abbey Road, which was released in September 1969. The song was never released as a single, although it has gone on to be one of Harrison’s best known compositions.

At number 28 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is "Here Comes the Sun".

At number 28 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Here Comes the Sun”.

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
It’s all right, it’s all right

I cannot find a video of the Beatles’ version of Here Comes the Sun on YouTube, but I have found this version of George Harrison performing it live in concert. Enjoy!

 

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