Iron Rain

SSAA and Piano 4-hands; text by planetary scientist and astromomer, Sam Illingworth; U.S. Publisher Walton Music; Duration 4.5 minutes.

[Recording by Clay West, conductor, and the Sam Houston State University BELLES VOIX.]
Exoplanet WASP-76b is 600 light years from Earth. Temperatures there are so hot during the day that molecules separate into atoms, and iron and other metals evaporate from the surface into the atmosphere. Then at night the temperature cools dramatically, and the iron and other metals solidify from their vapor state and fall back to the surface like rain. (Thus, the title, “Iron Rain”). This is my musical interpretation of the turbulent, but brilliant display of hail-like rain of iron as it clatters to the surface, like tiny marbles spilling out of a metal box.
Dr. Sam Illingworth, planetary scientist, university professor, and poet, wrote the text below which describes the “raining of iron” phenomenon. This is an excerpt from the poem, “Beneath an Iron Sky.”

…. the faint twinkling of distant

stars expose giant globes of

gaseous ferocity;

their inferred magnitude

drifting too close to their sun,

falling like Icarus into

a labyrinth of tidal force.

As the searing heat

scorches the barren sky,

estranged metals disperse into

the turbulent atmosphere,

carried by Khamsin to

the cool, crisp nights,

where they tumble

to the surface

as a cooling balm of

ferrous mist.

Lost in time,

like rust in rain.

Iron Rain PDF download: $80 (allows one to make as many copies as needed for the ensemble)