TRAPPIST Lights COver No Text

Our Trappist-1 Model


TRAPPIST-1 is a planetary system, located 39 light years away from the Solar system, within the constellation of Aquarius. The parent star is an ultra-cool red dwarf star only slightly larger than Jupiter, and there are at least seven planets in orbit. Planets have sizes and masses comparable to the Earth and Venus.

in the glow
Debut of our Trappist-1 Light Show at the Ontario Science Centre – 17 February 2018

And we learnt from Astronomer cum Musician Matt Russo that these planets are in harmonic resonance, ie. if their orbital period could be speeded up, they would produce good music. Check out Matt and his team’s amazing musical rendering of the orbits of these planets and the planetarium shows at Systems Sound.

Inspired by their work and the music files they shared with us, we decided to create a physical rendering of the Trappist-1’s Musical System: where the motion of the planets would be controlled by the music they generate and they would all synchronize for a grand finale! This would require making, learning musical notes, coding of midi files, Arduino, relays, led lights and lot more: a very challenging project. So we had to do it!

It took us over 3 weeks to build this project. We had to use our collective skills of measuring, hammering, wiring, coding, music, Arduino, python and using music synthesising software, and obviously physics! We had a lot of setbacks and frustrating experiences when things did not work and there were days of virtually no progress.

matt and russo again
Makers with Astronomer – Musician Matt and Andrew at TechArtFair 2018, Ontario Science Centre, Toronto, Canada

But at the end of it, we saw our Trappist-1 model getting the first light just a day before we were to debut it at the Ontario Science Centre at the first TechArtFair 2018 Toronto (Feb 17-19)! And it was amazing meeting Matt and Andrew: our inspiration behind the project.

The project attracted a lot of kids who were excited to learn about orbital motion of exoplanets and the link between music, flashing LEDs and orbital motion. Several hundred of children and their parents passed through our exhibit – excited and fascinated by the Universe around them! It proves that Science is very fascinating but we have to work on Science and project it in a manner which excites and encourages people to start talking about it and bring it in their everyday conversation.

and then they come
Science Outreach for Kids at the Ontario Science Centre (February 17-19, 2018)

And it was wonderful to have our displays next to System Sounds of Matt and Andrew and collaborating with them on this project. Together our light and music show on Trappist-1 was a big attraction and drew comments from far and wide!

The Making Process

We learnt a lot from this project and it has opened up insights about our musical universe. It makes the universe even more fascinating!

Closely following on more updates about Trappist-1 and eagerly waiting for the launch of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) Mission

with trappist Maker Family Team


Videos of TRAPPIST-1 Presentation:

TVO Kids 2018:  

CARR Astronomical Observatory 2018:

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