Rock star and astrophysicist Brian May on the place he calls “heaven” – Tenerife

Legendary Queen guitarist and star gazer Brian May has been speaking about the island he loves most, saying that he’d like his final resting place to be Tenerife. 

 

 “The island’s Teide National Park has a kind of pull on my spirit,” he said at a special event to promote the third Starmus Festival, a gathering of astronauts, astronomers and fans of our magical planets which takes place in Tenerife next summer.

“It’s a feeling of being close to heaven up there in the national park and it’s a place that is very spiritual to me – it’s probably where I would like my ashes to be scattered,” he added.

One of the greatest rock guitarists of all time, May’s other passion is astronomy. Not everyone knows this, but he’s also a highly respected scientist and the first time he visited Tenerife back in 1970 it was to spend time at the island’s Observatorio del Teide as part of his PhD studies.

In an interview with The Telegraph he said he visits Tenerife frequently for family holidays and to spend time at the island’s famous Observatorio del Teide, which offers some of the most spectacular views of the night sky anywhere in Europe. 

“The views of the cosmos up there are amazing,” he said. “You get beautiful views of the Milky Way and the zodiacal light.” 

“I’ve also seen the gegenschein [a faint glow or spot in the night sky associated with the zodiacal light] there, which is something not many astronomers have seen.”

“The atmosphere above Tenerife is very transparent and they have been very good at controlling the amount of light pollution, so it’s a wonderful place to look at the stars,” he added. 

However he still has one ambition connected with the island which he hasn’t fulfilled yet.  Despite knee problems, he’s be up for walking up Mount Teide, right to the top.

“One of my ambitions is to walk up Mount Teide. I did it once when I was a student and I would love to be able to walk it again,” he said. 

“I’ve had a lot of trouble with my knees in recent years but I’ve had a replacment knee now so it would be great to able to do it.”

May has even written a song called “39” about an astronaut who goes on a journey through space and time but then returns to earth 100 years later to find himself only a one year older but alone as his loved ones have all passed away. 

“I would love to sit up there in the International Space Station in tranquillity and look at the Earth from space. What song would I play? They say there’s no atmosphere . I suppose it would have to be 39 or I Want It All. But I don’t know if it will ever happen because I’m getting a little old for that now,” he added. 

So if you’re an astronomy fan and going to Tenerife on a timeshare break next year, save the date! The Starmus Festival’s theme will be ‘Beyond the Horizon – Tribute to Stephen Hawking’ and Hawking will be there alongside Brian May at the Festival. 

The festival will close with the Teide Starmus Party in the surreal setting of Tenerife’s Teide National Park, with Brian May and Rick Wakeman performing.

As (another rock legend) Peter Gabriel, who’s also a member of the Starmus Festival Advisory Board, put it:

“There are few things better than lying down on the ground on a warm clear summer night and looking up at a star-filled sky to expand and explode a sense of who we are and where we really belong in the big picture.” 

“Musicians explore and define what exists inside us, astronomers explore and define what exists outside of us, that’s what I love about Starmus,” he added.

The Starmus Festival takes place from June 27 to July 2, 2016. For more information and to book, see: starmus.com

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