This is probably the worst way to commemorate an artist of the century on his own birthday but, did you know that Beethoven died from led poisoning? He suffered from a variety of illnesses, none unusual for a person of that period, but ironically all the alcohol that he used to consume and all the infections that were eating him from the inside didn’t kill him. Allegedly, the Mercury did.
As every other story about the greats, this one has been disputed as well by some authoritative sources. However, they all do agree on the evident thing – that the Ludwig van Beethoven’s sicknesses were treated heavily with substantial portions of lead.
For those who are familiar with the rarely discussed assumption that Beethoven’s symphonies were inspired by the nine planets of our Solar System, the very thought that this great artist has completed his life circle in an almost ironic way is, well, intriguing.
If you don’t mind me comparing this act with a battle of the gods and demons, I would like to tell you more about the music of this other divinity, the Mercury’s music.
The Story of Mercury, a Planet
Mercury is the smallest planet in our Solar System, and also the closest one to the Sun, Apollo, the God of music. This planet is also known as the morning star because it can be spotted just before the Sun rises. Every seven years , we can have a better look at Mercury. This happens because Mercury’s orbit is inclined by 7 degrees to the Earth’s orbit, so we can spot it as it passes across the Sun’s surface. Fyi, this event will again happen next year on May 9th, but it will only be visible from Europe in the afternoon hours.
Mercury is named after a Roman god, which is equivalent to the Greek god Hermes. This god is often depicted with winged sandals and the reason for that is because he was a messenger of the gods. The entire civilization, as far as our records can reach, worshiped this planet for a very long time. Of course, we don’t know when it was discovered exactly, but the first mentions of this planet are as old as the writings of the ancient Egyptians, Sumerians, and 2000 old records from the ancient China.
Scientist say that Mercury is smaller than Jupiter’s moon Ganymede, or Saturn’s Titan, this miniature planet is about 4.879 km across its equator, comparing to Earth with 12.742km (NASA says it would take 18 Mercurys to be as big as our planet). Even though it is this small, it is dense and heavy, but has only 38 percent of Earth’s gravity, so you would weigh less there. Because it’s so close to the Sun, and the Sun pushes away to the outer space lighter gasses and dust, Mercury is made of heavy metals, mostly Iron. Basically, Mercury is a metal bomb with really thin silicate crust. And the interesting part about the Mercury’s core is that, due to sulfur, its core is completely liquid.
Also, it became popular to say that Mercury has wrinkles, but what they think with that is that Mercury’s iron core is cooling and therefore shrinking. Scientists have estimated that in the last 4000 million years Mercury has shrunk its radius for about 7 km or 4’2 miles.
Despite its closeness to the Sun, Mercury is the second warmest planet, after Venus. Why? Because Mercury doesn’t have any atmosphere. Although some scientists say that Mercury has a very thin layer and they call it exosphere, atmosphere is important because it helps the planet to regulate temperatures. Since this planet has almost none, temperatures during the day are 427 degrees Celsius or 800 degrees Fahrenheit, and during the night it’s -173 degrees Celsius or -280 degrees Fahrenheit.
Because of this, Mercury cannot sustain life. At list not the one as we would define it. However, it does play music.
Mercury Music, the Story of a Cosmic Artist
Mercury’s surface resembles the surface of our Moon. It is the most heavily cratered planet in the Solar System, due to its collisions with comets and asteroids. The largest impact crater is Caloris, and it has with its 930 miles in diameter. One interesting fact is that there is also a crater named after our birthday boy, Ludwig van Beethoven. Believe it or not, the electromagnetic fields of moons and planets, planetary magnetosphere and trapped radio waves, produce a form of music as they bounce off the surfaces of planets.
In a way, Beethoven is still composing, exactly 137 million miles away from us.
But space, which is filled with void and with vacuum, prevents us from hearing these interstellar compositions. Luckily, we have a technology that can pick up the beautiful music coming from celestial bodies and entities and translate it for our enjoyment. Listen to the beautiful music that Mercury plays.
So in honor of the great artist that will live as long as the Mercury continues to run between the Sun and our planets, delivering messages that are out of this world, let’s all relax with this unique ambient composition of our celestial traveler.