Astrophysics Professor shares his ‘observations’ on the UK’s Eurovision entry

On the eve of the Eurovision song contest 2022, LJMU Astrophysics Professor Andy Newsam analyses the UK’s ‘Space Man’ entry and ponders how the lyrics stand up in the real universe

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The stratospherically popular TikTok star, Sam Ryder, is this year’s UK hopeful set to battle it out behind the microphone on Saturday (14 May) at the competition in Turin, Italy. Sam co-wrote the song 'Space Man' which explores what it would be like if he was an astronaut up in space.

While the lyrics might make for an inter-stellar sound, their accuracy has been deliberated in the expert field of astrophysics.

Professor of Astronomy Education and Engagement and Director of the National Schools' Observatory, Andy Newsam, from the LJMU Astrophysics Research Institute, has been an astronomer for nearly 30 years and listened to the track for the first time earlier this week.

Sharing his observations on the out of this world tune, he said: “It’s maybe a ‘cinq points’ for the science in there, but a ten out of ten for the song.”

WATCH Professor Andy Newsam on Sam Ryder’s UK Eurovision entry 2022. 

Astro Andy’s lyrical low-down

 In my floating castle, I'd rub shoulders with the stars
But I'm only human, and I'm drifting in the dark

Andy said: “I’m not sure that I’d want to rub shoulders with any stars. Stars can get a bit hot. Even the sun is about 6,000 degrees centigrade on the surface and quite a lot of stars are a lot hotter than that. So, I think I’d want to keep my shoulders away from stars.”

I've searched around the universe
Been down some black holes

Andy said: “You go down a black hole, you aint coming back. They are absolutely awesome things. Black holes have got so much gravity. Not only wouldn’t people be able to get out, but light can’t get out either, that’s why they’re black. But actually, falling into a black hole would be quite an amazing experience. The thing about the black hole is that as you get closer and closer and closer, the gravity gets stronger and stronger. And so, if you’re falling in feet first, you’ll get to a point where your feet are closer to the black hole than your head. So, your feet are feeling more gravity than your head and so you get stretched. Astronomers have a fascinating technical term for this it’s called ‘spaghettification’ and so you’d get stretched and stretched and stretched and then disappear into a black hole. So, it would be a fascinating thing to watch from a distance but I wouldn’t recommend trying it for yourself.”

If I was an astronaut, I'd speak to satellites
My navigation systems would search for other life

Andy said: “Navigation systems are a great way for making sure you don’t get lost in space, which is a good idea because it’s a big place. But they may not be perfect for finding other life. If you want to find other life, you really want good telescopes rather than navigation systems. And what we’re using telescopes for now is to try and find planets, not going around the sun, but going around stars billions and billions of miles away and seeing if we can find atmospheres around those planets which have the tell-tale signs of life, things like oxygen. Because if we can find those, we have found life somewhere else in the universe.”

Best of luck from everyone at LJMU to Sam Ryder at Eurovision this weekend!

Find out more about the incredible work of our Astrophysics Research Institute.

This week LJMU received its results in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF). Among top performing areas were Astrophysics, where 96.9% of research was world-leading or internationally excellent. Read the full story of our REF 2021 results.


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