On 15 June 1792. Joseph Haydn visited William Herschel - basoonist, composer, astronomer - at his observatory near Slough. Herschel introduced Haydn to the Milky Way and, quite possibly, the planet Uranus, which he’d discovered ten years earlier. Some say Haydn took this glimpse of the infinite as the inspiration for his oratorio The Creation. Seems plausible.
Earlier this year, the European Space Agency’s Herschel observatory ran out of its essential coolant Helium. It was switched off for good on 17 June. It had made over 35,000 observations, including a detailed study of the shockwave of the exploding supernova remnant W44 shown in the amazing image above. Scientists will be crunching the data returned by Herschel for years to come.
Plenty of Haydn on the web site, of course, including this glorious account of the String Quartet in G, Op. 77 No. 1 from the Heath Quartet's Lunchtime Concert earlier this month.