Brian May Introduces STARMUS at Astrofest

Posted on Feb 21 2011
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On 6 February, Legendary Queen guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May enthralled the Astrofest 2011 audience when he spoke of the forthcoming STARMUS Festival and introduced STARMUS director, Dr Garik Israelian. ‘It is hard,’ said Dr May (a member of the STARMUS Advisory Board), ‘to be an astronomer or a musician without coming to a contemplation of what the Universe is about or what our purpose is in it. It’s this sense of wonder that is the driving force behind STARMUS.’ 

People thronged to the STARMUS stand at the annual Astrofest event in London after hearing Dr Israelian’s description of the STARMUS Festival, to be held on the island of Tenerife during the week 21-26 June, 2011. Many expressed their interest in participating in what is billed to be the most spectacular science outreach event ever planned. Dr Israelian described the multifarious activities that will make up the STARMUS event. These include the international conference Discover the Cosmos and Change the World! with talks given by top scientists (including ‘What Are We Doing in Space?’ by Brian May), a tribute to Yuri Gagarin on the fiftieth anniversary of his historic flight (presented by veteran Russian cosmonauts), a 2200 metre high star party, an astrophotography competition and a round table discussion by a panel of experts - including Buzz Aldrin, Jack Szostak, George Smoot, Jill Tarter, Richard Dawkins, Brian May and other eminent  minds - on the future of our civilization and space travel, webcast live from the dome of the 10.4-metre GTC (the largest telescope in the world). Amateur and professional astronomers will also have a chance to participate directly in the event through the conference Pro-Am Partnership in Astronomy.

Another major attraction of the Festival will be the Sonic Universe concert by Tangerine Dream. This one-off performance – unique to STARMUS and not part of the band’s usual touring repertoire – will feature real acoustic sounds from the stars played to the public for the first time ever. Also participating in the concert will be a glittering line-up of celebrities from the world of music. In the words of renowned astronomy popularizer Sir Patrick Moore (who visited the STARMUS stand), ‘Astronomy and music live together very happily: they always have done. Who has not heard of the “music of the spheres“? STARMUS is a great occasion and I would love to be there. It is sheer bad luck that I cannot. I send you all my very best wishes!’


STARMUS Festival is supported by UNESCO, the International Astronomical Union, the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, the Grant Telescopio Canarias (GTC) and the Starlight initiative.

Presentation Video by Brian May

Coming Soon! 

  • Exclusive interview with Alexei Leonov who performed the first space walk on 18 March, 1965 (the fictional spaceship Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov in Arthur C. Clarke’s 2010: Odyssey II was named in his honour).
  • The STARMUS Festival will be presented in Paris Observatory (France) and the SETI Institute (USA).