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Sure, 2012 was an over-hyped fail fest, but make no mistake about it: the world is coming to an end.

In just 6 billion years, the Sun’s core will run out of hydrogen fuel, causing it to collapse under its own gravitational oompah.

Some hydrogen fusion will continue in the outer layers of the Sun’s atmosphere, and, as the core contracts and increases in temperature, the outer inferno of the Sun will expand - either consuming the Earth entirely or just boiling its surface to hellacious extremes.

Eventually, the core of our blown-out Sun (now a “red giant”) will become hot enough to fuse its inert helium ash into carbon.

After about 100 million years, all of the helium will be converted into carbon and the unstable core will pulse violently, spewing out cosmic glitterdust that will collect around the star in a planetary nebula.

As the nebula dissipates, all that will remain is an uber-dense, glowing, harder than Chinese arithmetic, Earth-sized diamond with the mass of a star (known as a “white dwarf”) that will cool over the next trillion years or so to just a few degrees above absolute zero – or a “black dwarf,” looming lifelessly in the galactic effluvium.


To make all of this just a little more bleak and defeating, a collection of local experimental musicians and physics enthusiasts will be transforming the captivating saga of staricide into a death metal performance titled, “Our Star Will Die Alone.”

“It's pretty interesting, because there are many ways to interpret/sonify data,” says musician Bobby Bray, who will be sonically projecting star death alongside UCSD faculty members Michael Trigilio, Adam Burgasser, and Tara Knight.

“The typical scientific approach would be a one to one connection - for example, if the light from a star increases, change the pitch of a note by the same amount. The benefit of the practice is that you can harness the power of our pattern seeking abilities and possibly discover contingencies that computers aren't programed to notice yet. An artistic viewpoint can include a heavier emphasis on deciding what a data point might correlate to. In this case, graphs of information such as star size and surface pressure over time were superimposed on top of a limited musical scale resulting in metal riffs for guitar. My part in this heavy metal(s) band is the soloist, using effects I created or modified in Pure Data such as a bit crusher and real-time glitch.”

Our Star Will Die Alone is part of an interactive presentation by Project Plantaria, a collaboration of UCSD faculty and graduate students from the Departments of Physics, Theatre & Dance, and Visual Arts.

Founded in December 2011, the collective “investigates ways of exploring astronomical phenomena and information outside traditional modes, by engaging multiple senses, embodying experience, exploring social analogs, breaking down time and space barriers, and incorporating participatory behaviors. Data-driven performance, trans sensory transformation, architectural mapping, and metaphor are all tools we are using to better understand the Universe and our place within it.”

Explore Project Planetaria on Friday, October 4 and Saturday, October 5 at 10:30 p.m. in UCSD’s Galbraith Hall South.

Each 50-person capacity experience runs for 45 minutes.

Tickets: $15

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