Bach's Beguiling "Architectural Masterpieces"
\r\nHilda Huang: I love how complex it is on the inside, but when you\r\n look at it from a distance, it's so simple and pure and elegant that \r\nyou would never suspect that it's such an architectural masterpiece. \r\nLike it follows all of the forms of a fugue, say a prelude, any type of a\r\n dance, but when you just listen to it, it's just a charming piece by \r\nitself. And you don't have to hear like, oh this is an allemande, oh this is a sarabonde. But of course, it helps to know.
\r\nQuestion: What is a fugue?
\r\nHilda Huang: So a fugue is when there's two, three, four, five \r\nvoices—or more if you'd like. And each voice is basically just a line \r\nand each line has a subject, but the subjects are all the same in each \r\nline. So, say the first voice will enter with the subject and when the \r\nsubject is finished, then the second voice enters and does the subject, \r\nbut usually in a different key. Then the third voice enters when the \r\nsecond voice is finished with its subject, then the fourth voice enters \r\nwhen the third is done and so on and so forth.
\r\nQuestion: Why is Bach's music so complex?
\r\nHilda Huang: In Bach's music, there's always a lot of lines going \r\nand if you have, say, a two-voice fugue, each line is completely \r\nindependent of each other, which is really confusing to play of course, \r\nbecause you have to pay attention to one, like, one character, then the \r\nother one has to be a completely different character. But when you move \r\non to the bigger fugues with three, four, five voices, that's a really, \r\nreally hard task to do because you only have two hands but you have to \r\ntake care of basically five different people playing five different \r\nlines.
\r\nAnd then on top of that, these five different people are interacting \r\nwith each other in ways that are sometimes a bit surprising. Like \r\nsometimes they like to say argue with each other, the voices interrupt \r\neach other and other times they kind of play with each other and it's a \r\nvery friendly piece. But there's an outline in which they all work. So, \r\nsay there's a friendly part and they all work together, but then after \r\nthat, they suddenly turn against each other, so now they're angry at \r\neach other. So you have to create the distinction between those two \r\ncharacters as well as the five different characters as well as the \r\ninteraction between those five characters. And the list goes on and on, \r\nof course.
\r\nQuestion: What is your favorite Bach piece?
\r\nHilda Huang: I'd have to say my favorite is "The Art of Fugue" \r\nbecause this really showcases Bach's magnificent fugue writing. I mean, \r\nit's the entire 16 fugues are based on just one simple subject in the \r\nfirst fugue that comes in four different voices. But then, it's kind of \r\nlike a set of variations. You have 15 more fugues, with each subject as a\r\n variation of the first subject. And that works really well because each\r\n one has a different subject and each subject is unique in its own way \r\nin the fugue itself. And often times, in each different fugue he takes \r\nsubjects from different fugues and puts them in. So I think there's some\r\n fugues that you have three different subjects at the same time and \r\nothers you have two different subjects at the same time. So now you're \r\nnot dealing with just a fugue, you're dealing with a double fugue or a \r\ntriple fugue.
\r\nQuestion: What do you mean by “subject?"
\r\nHilda Huang: So a subject is basically like a very specific motif\r\n in a piece. You have say a line like da de da de da. And that is \r\nmirrored by da da da da da in the second voice, but then the third voice\r\n comes in doing da da da da da and then the fourth voice comes in and \r\ndoing da da da da da da, so it's always the same. The fugue is, the \r\nsubject is always set and the sequence of the notes is always the same, \r\nbut often Bach will take little bits of that subject, cut it up and \r\nplace it at random places in the fugue, or he'll take the subject and \r\ntransform it to completely different keys, or take it from major to \r\nminor and put it all over again.
Recorded on June 7, 2010
Interviewed by Paul Hoffman
From a distance, Johann Sebastian Bach's pieces seem so "simple and pure," says the 14-year-old pianist. But on "the inside" they are much more complex.
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The images and our best computer models don't agree.
A trio of intriguing galaxy clusters<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQzNDA0OS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNTkzNzUyOH0.0IRzkzvKsmPEHV-v1dqM1JIPhgE2W-UHx0COuB0qQnA/img.jpg?width=980" id="d69be" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2d2664d9174369e0a06540cb3a3a9079" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
The three galaxy clusters imaged for the study
Mapping dark matter<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d904b585c806752f261e1215014691a6"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/fO0jO_a9uLA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>The assumption has been that the greater the lensing effect, the higher the concentration of dark matter.</p><p>As scientists analyzed the clusters' large-scale lensing — the massive arc and elongation visual effects produced by dark matter — they noticed areas of smaller-scale lensing within that larger distortion. The scientists interpret these as concentrations of dark matter within individual galaxies inside the clusters.</p><p>The researchers used spectrographic data from the VLT to determine the mass of these smaller lenses. <a href="https://www.oas.inaf.it/en/user/pietro.bergamini/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Pietro Bergamini</a> of the INAF-Observatory of Astrophysics and Space Science in Bologna, Italy explains, "The speed of the stars gave us an estimate of each individual galaxy's mass, including the amount of dark matter." The leader of the spectrographic aspect of the study was <a href="http://docente.unife.it/docenti-en/piero.rosati1/curriculum?set_language=en" target="_blank">Piero Rosati</a> of the Università degli Studi di Ferrara, Italy who recalls, "the data from Hubble and the VLT provided excellent synergy. We were able to associate the galaxies with each cluster and estimate their distances." </p><p>This work allowed the team to develop a thoroughly calibrated, high-resolution map of dark matter concentrations throughout the three clusters.</p>
But the models say...<p>However, when the researchers compared their map to the concentrations of dark matter computer models predicted for galaxies bearing the same general characteristics, something was <em>way</em> off. Some small-scale areas of the map had 10 times the amount of lensing — and presumably 10 times the amount of dark matter — than the model predicted.</p><p>"The results of these analyses further demonstrate how observations and numerical simulations go hand in hand," notes one team member, <a href="https://nena12276.wixsite.com/elenarasia" target="_blank">Elena Rasia</a> of the INAF-Astronomical Observatory of Trieste, Italy. Another, <a href="http://adlibitum.oats.inaf.it/borgani/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Stefano Borgani</a> of the Università degli Studi di Trieste, Italy, adds that "with advanced cosmological simulations, we can match the quality of observations analyzed in our paper, permitting detailed comparisons like never before."</p><p>"We have done a lot of testing of the data in this study," Meneghetti says, "and we are sure that this mismatch indicates that some physical ingredient is missing either from the simulations or from our understanding of the nature of dark matter." <a href="https://physics.yale.edu/people/priyamvada-natarajan" target="_blank">Priyamvada Natarajan</a> of Yale University in Connecticut agrees: "There's a feature of the real Universe that we are simply not capturing in our current theoretical models."</p><p>Given that any theory in science lasts only until a better one comes along, Natarajan views the discrepancy as an opportunity, saying, "this could signal a gap in our current understanding of the nature of dark matter and its properties, as these exquisite data have permitted us to probe the detailed distribution of dark matter on the smallest scales."</p><p>At this point, it's unclear exactly what the conflict signifies. Do these smaller areas have unexpectedly high concentrations of dark matter? Or can dark matter, under certain currently unknown conditions, produce a tenfold increase in lensing beyond what we've been expecting, breaking the assumption that more lensing means more dark matter?</p><p>Obviously, the scientific community has barely begun to understand this mystery.</p>
Scientists have found evidence of hot springs near sites where ancient hominids settled, long before the control of fire.
Astronomers spot an object heading into Earth orbit.
Minimoons<p>Scientists have confirmed just two prior minimoons. One was <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_RH120" target="_blank">2006 RH120</a>, which orbited us from September 2006 to June 2007. The other was <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020_CD3" target="_blank">2020 CD3</a>, which got stuck in the 2015–2016 timeframe, and is believed to gotten away in May 2020.</p><p>2020 SO, the new kid on the block, is expected to arrive in October 2020 and pop out of orbit in May 2021.</p><div id="37962" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="f4c0fc8a2cba6536ea4cd960ebed3e6e"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1307729521869611008" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Asteroid 2020 SO may get captured by Earth from Oct 2020 - May 2021. Current nominal trajectory shows shows capture… https://t.co/F5utxRvN6Z</div> — Tony Dunn (@Tony Dunn)<a href="https://twitter.com/tony873004/statuses/1307729521869611008">1600621989.0</a></blockquote></div>
Identifying 2020 SO<p>The first clue 2020 SO isn't your ordinary asteroid is its exceptionally low velocity. It's traveling much more slowly that a typical asteroid — their <a href="https://www.lpi.usra.edu/exploration/training/illustrations/craterMechanics/" target="_blank">average rate of travel</a> <a href="https://www.lpi.usra.edu/exploration/training/illustrations/craterMechanics/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"></a>is 18 kilometers (58,000 feet) per second. Even <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_rock" target="_blank">moon rocks</a> sent careening into Earth orbit by impacts on the lunar surface outpace pokey 2020 SO.</p><p>For another thing, 2020 SO has an orbital path very similar to Earth's, lasting about one Earth year. It's also just slightly less circular than our own orbit, from which it's barely tilted off-axis.</p><p>So, what is it? <a href="https://cneos.jpl.nasa.gov/ca/" target="_blank">NASA estimates</a> that the object has dimensions very reminiscent of a discarded Centaur rocket stage from the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surveyor_2" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Surveyor 2 mission</a> that landed an unmanned craft on the moon. Back in the day, rocket stages were jettisoned as craft were aimed toward their desired position. This stuff, if released high enough, remains in space. It appears that this Centaur rocket, launched in September 1966, is now making its way back homeward, at least for a little bit.</p><p>When 2020 SO arrives at its closest point in December, the rocket is expected to be about 50,000 kilometers from Earth. Its next closest approach is much further: 220,000 kilometers, in February 2010.</p><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQzMDk3NC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyODg1MTQ1MX0.HGknDwqp0GmeuczKY_AS7vrPG7KMFUc_XO95tNoI2xo/img.jpg?width=980" id="e5cda" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="85eb1f790d8c3ee5b261f7ba13eaa5e1" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Centaur rocket stage" />
Centaur rocket stage
What we may be able to learn<p>Earthly space programs being as young as they are, scientists would love to know what's happened to our rocket during a half century in space.</p><p>While 2020 SO won't get close enough to drop into our atmosphere, its slow progress has scientists hopeful that they'll still get some kind of a decent look at it.</p><p>Spectroscopy may be able to reveal what the rocket's surface is like now — has any of its paint survived, for example? Of course, being out in space, it's likely to have been hit by lots of dust and micrometeorites, so the current state of its surfaces is also of interest. Experts are curious to know how reflective the rocket is at this point, valuable information that can help planners of future long-term missions anticipate how well a craft out in space for extended periods will remain able to reflect sunlight.</p>
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