39981 (Star Clock)

From the album Periplaneta, released April 2002

This song is about pulsars. They are like space beacons, originally thought to be like lighthouses in space, put there by aliens, but they are just old stars. The rate at which they spin is so steady that one could tell time with pulsars.


[Words and Music by Jansen Price and Dave Nyous]

In the deep dark cabin there lived a silly man
All day long he'd sit and yawn and read books with his hands
Once he heard a pulsing and he told me where to fly
He mumbled PSR and I didn't ask why
So we flew to sector 2, where we found the star
There it was right before us, pulsing like a lighthouse

So why do you spin so fast?
Do you ever quit?
How big was your supernova?
Tell me what time is it.

Pulsars are rotating stars...
(The following lyrics are the remaining lyrics for this song,
unfortunately they were never recorded: (use your imagination).
Rapidly rotating highly magnetized neutron stars
(Highly energetic electrons spiraling in the magnetic field
emit radio beams along the magnetic axis)

It's highly compacted baby
A teaspoon of it weighs 10 million tons
A 15 km diameter maybe
A mass about 1.4 times the sun's.

Escape velocity
Is 0.4 times the speed of light
The gravitational field is intense
This star is extremely dense
The protons and electrons are fused
together into neutrons.

Sychrotron Radiation
Syncrotron Radiation
The biggest clock in the nation
And in the universe.