"Planet X" - Christine Lavin (1997)

The reclassification of Pluto from planet to dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union in 2006 took many by surprise, from schoolchildren to sensitive New Age guys. Folk icon Christine Lavin, however, had taken a personal interest in our distant cosmic neighbor years before, musically setting out the case for Pluto in 1997’s “Planet X”. While she has periodically updated the lyrics to keep up with new science and mission plans, she hasn’t regretted what she sings at all, with the lyrics even making an appearance in Neil de Grasse Tyson’s  book, The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet.

To honor the anniversary of Pluto’s discovery, which took place 84 years ago today, we present here both this recent live version and a link to the original studio recording –Andy Rivkin

"Valentine Moon" - Sam Brown (2007)

Lovebirds have an extra reason to celebrate this Valentine’s Day: A beautiful full moon will grace the night sky at exactly 6:53pm EST tonight. Here to sing about such a confluence of events is Sam Brown, a British singer-songwriter who performs in this video with the Jools Holland orchestra.  –Maia W

"The Stars, Like Dust" - Jonn Serrie (2007)

Sit back and relax with this ambient trip through the visible universe. Images by NASA. Music by noted space composer Jonn Serrie–DP

"We Didn’t Start the Science" - Andy Rivkin (2009)

Andy Rivkin, one of our new Astrotunes bloggers, has got space music coursing through his veins. By day, Andy is an intrepid planetary scientist whose research focuses on asteroids in our solar system. By night, he’s a prolific singer-songwriter with several albums under his belt, including this incredible Billy Joel parody filled to the brim with astronomy, planetary science, and human space flight references. I’m delighted that Andy will be sharing his space music knowledge with us here on Astrotunes! For now, enjoy the full lyrics to his “We Didn’t Start the Science” masterpiece.  –Maia W.


Armstrong, Aldrin, Alan Bean and Apollo 17
Taurus-Littrow, Hadley Rille, megaregolith
Magma ocean REE, giant impact theory
KREEP, TiO2, Kubrik’s monolith

Venus swingby Mariner 10, Caloris Basin
Chryse Plains, Viking 2 and the sky on Mars is blue
Utopia and Big Joe, carbon dioxide snow
Jim Pollack, dry valleys, ANSMET, QUE

We didn’t start the science
We’ve always been learning since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the science
If it weren’t for Newton we’d all be out looting

Carl Sagan Cosmos, mission lost at Phobos
Bow shock, Bart Bok, Velikovsky
Magellan SAR side-looking radar
Aphrodite Terra, high emissivity

Io sulfur volcanoes, Europa grooves, Callisto
Ring spokes, shepherd moons, giant storms on Neptune
Halley Vega, Giotto, CRAF, IUE, ESO
Pluto mutual events, near-Earth asteroid defense

We didn’t start the science
We’ve always been learning since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the science
Kepler’s equation amazed all the nations

Small comet, GRL, LAFOS, APL
Arecibo and SETI, NICMOS, 55 Cancri
SL9 string of pearls, HGA will not unfurl
Posters still at LPI, Jovian atmosphere’s too dry…

Stable polar barchan dunes, Ida has a tiny moon
Ulysses studies the sun, Pioneer 11
Hyakutake, Hale-Bopp, IRAS-Araki-Alcock
Spacewatch, LINEAR, Armegeddon impact fear

We didn’t start the science
We’ve always been learning since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the science
Galileo did it, the Pope won’t admit it

Clementine DOD Geographos not to be
LPSC chili bash, Lunar Observer crash
Sample return, aerobot, Venus is so freaking hot
Window through all Titan’s haze, HST is all the rage
Chicxulub H2SO3 iridium K-T boundary
Martian bugs ALHA, what else do I have to say?

We didn’t start the science
We’ve always been learning since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the science
There was Gerard Kuiper when we were in diapers

Deep Space 1, Cassini, exobiology
Mountains found in Io, metric stuff on MCO
Superrotating atmosphere, Mathilde visited by NEAR
Europa subsurface ocean, Leonids back again

Yogi, airbags, monster pan, Versailles for the ACM
JGR, ADS, MOC, MOLA and TES
Mars Observer blown to shards, ISS still in the cards
NASA’s budget a tough sell, better-faster-cheaper hell!

We didn’t start the science
We’ve always been learning since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the science
And we’d like to do some though it may be gruesome…

"Atmosphere" - Kaskade (2013)

"When I was young I would stand alone
With visions of worlds that were all my own
The lights in the sky weren’t that far away
Living in the vastness of outer space

All my life I’’ve been a star
Holding a light up in the dark
While I try to keep clear
Of all the waves in your atmosphere…”

Nominated for a 2014 Grammy Award in the category of best dance recording, “Atmosphere” is the latest hit from noted DJ and producer Kaskade, a.k.a. Ryan Raddon.  –Maia W.

"Moons of Jupiter" - Scruffy the Cat (1989)

Have you heard the news about the moons of Jupiter?  Plumes of water have recently been discovered coming off of the Jovian satellite Europa. Whether or not you’ve heard it, Scruffy the Cat presciently released this song a quarter-century ago. New England contemporaries of the Pixies, the Lemonheads, Juliana Hatfield, and Aimee Mann, they never hit it big outside the Boston area, but they were clearly astronomy lovers with the songs “Kissing Galaxy” and “Nova SS 1968” also featured on their Moons of Jupiter album.  Andy Rivkin

"Galaxy Supernova" - Girls’ Generation (2013)

Celebrate today’s discovery of a rare supernova in the M82 galaxy with a  dance number from Korean supergroup Girls’ Generation! This particular cosmic explosion has astronomers excited because it’s the closest one recorded since 1987. Among other things, that means it may be extremely useful in the study of dark matter–Maia W.

"Wake Up Rosetta" - Andy Furlong and Kristof Han (2014)

Like a space-faring Rip Van Winkle, the European Rosetta interplanetary probe will wake in just a few hours from a deep, multi-year sleep in preparation for its encounter with Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko later this spring. To celebrate, the European Space Agency has been encouraging folks to create and post video wake-up calls in advance of the big event at 10 a.m. UTC. One group sent a LEGO minifigure from Florence, Italy into the stratosphere with a special note for Rosetta. Numerous parents and teachers helped young ones get their messages to the little-spacecraft-that-could. And now, we can all enjoy a catchy new Rosetta wake-up song, written by two strangers who collaborated online.

Only a few days ago, Canadian Andy Furlong (@andyfrlng) penned a wonderful set of lyrics and posted to Twitter for all to build on. Halfway around the world, Kristof Han (@WingdingsPerson) of Singapore saw these, set the words to an original melody, and whipped together this video with nothing more than a guitar and a cellphone. Could this be Bernie Taupin-Elton John 2.0? All I can say is: Nice job, Andy and Kristof, and welcome back to life, Rosetta!   –Maia W.

Ten years ago you departed
That’s when it all began
The long, long journey started
Holding onto Ariane

Even though we cannot see you
When we stare up at the sky
Where you’re sleeping in the darkness
It was never forever goodbye

Wake up Rosetta
Wake up Rosetta
Here comes a passing comet
It’s got your name written on it
Wake up Rosetta
Wake up Rosetta
It’s time for you to shine so
Won’t you please wake up?
With help from planets Earth and Mars
You traveled all around the Sun
From so far away the E.S.A.
Have believed in you from Day 1

Very soon they’re gonna shake you
Are you ready to open your eyes?
They are standing by to wake you
From this journey of your life

Wake up Rosetta
Wake up Rosetta
Here comes a passing comet
It’s got your name written on it
Wake up Rosetta
Wake up Rosetta
It’s time for you to shine so
Won’t you please wake up?
So Rosetta there’s no sleeping in
When you hear the alarm bells ring
Oh Rosetta, oh Rosetta, won’t you please wake up?
Call for contributing bloggers!
Do you love astronomy, space flight, and the beauty of the cosmos? When you hear these subjects explored in song does your inner nerd smile from ear to ear? Are you curious about the musical artists who choose to cover astro-related topics? If so, then please consider contributing to Astrotunes! Details.

Call for contributing bloggers!

Do you love astronomy, space flight, and the beauty of the cosmos? When you hear these subjects explored in song does your inner nerd smile from ear to ear? Are you curious about the musical artists who choose to cover astro-related topics? If so, then please consider contributing to Astrotunes! Details.

"Moonshot" - Dean & Britta (2003)

With just about two hours to go before the planned launch of NASA’s LADEE lunar spacecraft, a perfect sendoff song from Dean & Britta