Saturday, June 11, 2011

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star...

...how I wonder what you.. HEY, what a second, we're astronomers! None if this "how I wonder" stuff about facts established 100 years ago for OUR little prodigy.

Here is Julia's updated version (with some contributions from Jason). We invite our astronomy readers to contribute additional verses:

Lyrics copyrighted Julia Kregenow and Jason Wright, 2011. For educational purposes only. If you reproduce these lyrics in whole or in part, please credit this original source (http://mamasdukesofhazard.blogspot.com/2011/06/twinkle-twinkle-little-star.html). Also please make note of [pronunciation hints] embedded within, to retain the intended meter and rhyme.

(Last updated: 23 July, 2012 by Julia, to include 5 additional verses. Verses to date: 15)
(Five new NEW verses added July 2015: See new post, with video, including these newest verses: http://mamasdukesofhazard.blogspot.com/2015/07/twinkle-twinkle-little-star-i-know.html. Verses to date: 20)

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
I know exactly what you are

Opaque ball of hot dense gas
Million times our planet's mass
Looking small because you're far
I know exactly what you are

Fusing atoms in your core
Hydrogen, helium, carbon and more [Note that these have to be pronounced as quick triplets for proper scansion, i.e. "hy-dro-gen, hel-li-um, car-bon-and, more"...]
With such power you shine far
Twinkle twinkle little star

Classed by their spectroscopy
Oh, Be A Fine Girl Kiss Me
Bright when close and faint when far
I know exactly what you are

Smallest ones burn cool and slow
Still too hot to visit, though
Red stars dominate by far
Twinkle twinkle little star

Largest ones are hot and blue
Supernova when they're through
Then black hole or neutron star
I know exactly what you are

Our Sun's average as stars go
Formed 5 billion years ago
Halfway through its life so far
Twinkle twinkle little star

(new verse! 7.23.12)
Sunspots look dark but they're bright
Slightly cooler so less light
Temporary surface scar
I know exactly what you are

(new verse! 7.23.12)
Swelling up before it's dead
Cooling off and growing red
Then its end is not so far
Twinkle twinkle giant star

(new verse! 7.23.12)
Outer layers float away
Planetary Nebulae [pronounced "NEH-byoo-LAY"]
Wispy gas is gossamer
I know exactly what you were

(new verse! 7.23.12)
Interstellar medium
Recycled ad nauseam
Gas and dust are spread afar
Twinkle twinkle little star

Forming from collapsing clouds
Cold and dusty gas enshrouds
Spinning, heating protostar
I know exactly what you are

(updated 7.23.12)
Two stars make a binary
Or a triple if there's three
Some are solo just like ours
Twinkle twinkle little stars

Often forming multiply [pronounced "MAHLT - eh - PLEE"]
Clusters bound by gravity
Open type or globular [pronounced "GLAH-byoo-LAHR" to make the rhyme work. Note this is a slight variant on the standard pronunciation "GLAH-byoo-ler"]
I know exactly what you are

Two hundred billion stars all stay
Bound up in the Milky Way
Dusty spiral with a bar
Twinkle twinkle little star

Stars have planets orbiting
Rocky or gassy, moons or rings
Earth's unique with life so far
I know exactly what you are.
Lyrics copyrighted Julia Kregenow and Jason Wright, 2011. For educational purposes only. If you reproduce these lyrics in whole or in part, please credit this original source (http://mamasdukesofhazard.blogspot.com/2011/06/twinkle-twinkle-little-star.html). Also please make note of [pronunciation hints] embedded within, to retain the intended meter and rhyme.

July 2015 update: See some awesome stuff that people out there have done with our lyrics over the last four years:
http://www.mamasdukesofhazard.blogspot.com/2015/07/thank-you-for-twinkle-love.html

7 comments:

  1. You forgot to explain why the star's twinkle. Here is my attempt:

    Twinkle, twinkle little star
    twinkling there because you're far
    Atmospheric Turbulence messes with the light
    Causing you too appear affright.

    Planet do not twinkle so
    Eyes percieve them in the heaven's, lo
    not as points but disks
    washing out the air's twists.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I created this little rhyme many years ago.

    http://www.cafepress.com/astroteacher.3575932

    Surprisingly similar.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The hardest part was coming up with new words to rhyme with "star" that fit. I couldn't think of very many! Not surprising that we both came up with "far".

      I have been struggling for months to come up with a verse about the Sun's post main sequence evolution (red giant, swelling, cooling outer layers, shrinking core, fusing helium, planetary nebula), but I am completely stumped. I can't put even two of those terms together with a word that rhymes with star.

      Our daughter is almost 2 now. We sang our version to her when she was an infant, and then we didn't sing it for quite a few months. Now she has learned the traditional version at school, and last week when I tried to sing our version, she got quite agitated because I was singing it "wrong". Sigh.

      Delete
  3. Hi! Very nice song! Can I use the lyrics to sing the song in my podcast on stars?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Florian, thank you for your comment; I'm glad you like it. As long as your podcast is for educational purposes and not for profit, it's okay with me if you use it. I would like you to credit us and link back to this source, though. Thank you for asking. I appreciate it!

    I have finally added verses about red giants and planetary nebulae. Check them out.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have found your site after reading the following comment a reader had posted in memory of Sir Patrick Moore "Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are, so into the midnight sky, I, my spectroscope apply" and will credit you. I'm storing it for future use for as a childminder I'm sure I'm going to get some children interested in stars and space. Thanks, thought it was great. I'm also going to link it to spectroscopes and rainbow and light.

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  6. Wow ! This is Just magnificent !
    I am from Egypt and I am really interested in astronomy and teaching science to young children although I am currently studying medicine ..
    Thank U so much for your creativity , T am singing this to myself now :D

    ReplyDelete