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"The Galaxy Song" is a song written by Eric Idle which Idle originally performed in the 1983 film Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, later released on the album Monty Python Sings. The song appears toward the end of the sketch "Live Organ Transplants" where the 'surgeon' (John Cleese), upon failing to proposition Mrs. Brown (Terry Jones) for her liver in the kitchen, abruptly opens the refrigerator doors to reveal, inexplicably, a man wearing a pink tuxedo (Idle) who accompanies her through outer space singing about the universe. The lyrics include a number of astronomical facts, and (within the limits imposed by creative licence), the figures tend to be tolerably accurate.
In scientist Paul Kohlmiller's analysis of the facts presented in "The Galaxy Song", the final line "'Cause there's bugger-all down here on Earth," is footnoted by his observation, "An unassailable truth."
Accuracy of figures quoted in the lyrics 
Eric Idle sings that the Earth is "revolving at nine hundred miles an hour"; the actual figure (at the equator) is 1,038. He gives the Earth's orbital speed as 19 miles (31 km) per second, compared with the real figure of 18 to 18.5.
Idle states that the Sun is "the source of all our power". In fact, three notable sources of electrical power are not directly traceable to the Sun: The first is Geothermal power, which is derived from Geothermal energy, 20% of which remains from the original planet formation and 80% of which is derived from ongoing radioactive decay. The second source is the Moon's effects on tides and the associated method of power generation. The third is Nuclear power derived from Uranium and other fissile elements. Ultimately, however, the overwhelming proportion of human-generated power derived from fossil fuels and thence from photosynthetic plants makes this line a very good approximation to the truth. Even the first three power sources, however, are available only because of the Sun's influence on our early solar system, so Idle's statement is correct in a literal (if somewhat pedantic) sense even if not for practical purposes.
Idle's figures for the size of the Milky Way galaxy are roughly correct. He understates the speed at which the Sun orbits the "galactic central point", but he gives a good estimate for the total time per orbit ("two hundred million years" according to the song, compared with accepted figures of 220 to 250 million years).
The song goes on to say that we are "thirty thousand light years from galactic central point". In fact, the Sun is more like 25 000 light years from the centre of the Milky Way. It also states that the galaxy is "a hundred thousand light years side to side". This would make the galactic radius 50 000 light years, which is accurate.
Australian astrophysicist Bryan Gaensler has even stated that Eric's estimation of the thickness of the Milky Way, at 16,000 light years, is more accurate than the official 'textbook' figure of 6,000 light years. However, the song's position on this has now been confused by Eric's recent performance of the song which forms part of his Not the Messiah show where the figure he sings is only 6,000 light years. The reason for the confusion has since been explained in a message from Eric on the official Monty Python website, Pythonline.com:
"...There was some smug website pulling apart all my original figures for the song (written circa 1981) so for the 2003 Tour (or maybe 2000) I "updated" them. Now you tell me I was right all along! Not sure where I got my figures originally but tell the bastards to make up their minds."
The ultimate verse explains that the universe is expanding, and furthermore that the speed of light is the "fastest speed there is". Idle's estimate is a good one: 12 million miles per minute, versus the standard figure of about 11.16 million miles per minute.
Title confusion 
Perhaps the most inaccurate detail of "The Galaxy Song" is the name itself. While the first verse indeed describes our galaxy, the last two lines depart greatly from it: "And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions/In this amazing and expanding universe." The rest of the song describes the universe itself, far beyond the scope of our galaxy.
- CONAN: This email from Katherine in Chico, California. I've been an avid Python fan since I was 13 and thrilled to see "Not the Messiah (He's a Very Naughty Boy)" at the Hollywood Bowl almost a year ago. I particularly liked Mr. Idle's Bob Dylan impression as well as the finale of "The Universe Song." It was really spectacular.
- Mr. IDLE: Well, thanks. I do appear as Bob Dylan at one point...
- CONAN: ...And in that production, the finale or the encore was "The Universe Song" "The Galaxy Song," rather...
- Mr. IDLE: At the Hollywood Bowl we were asked if we would put it up with fireworks. And we said, yes, we'd tolerate fireworks. And so John Du Prez wrote some fireworks music, part of "The Galaxy Song." And I think it's the first fireworks music written since Handel. So it was just - it was spectacular.
Meanwhile, the official Monty Python YouTube channel hosts the song under the name "Galaxy Song".
In late 2012, an updated version of "The Galaxy Song", aired on BBC -2 in a trailer for their new program, "The Wonders of Life", hosted by Prof. Brian Cox. It was called, "The Galaxy DNA Song"  by Eric Idle, according to his October 29th, 2012 article at The Nerdist.
See also 
- A study of the Galaxy Song by Eric Idle, Paul Kohlmiller, San Jose Astronomical Association Ephemeris, December 2003.
- How fast does the Earth spin in miles per hour? - Ask Yahoo!
- What is Earth's mean orbital speed? - a definition from Whatis.com
- Earth's Speed, Jerry Pool's amateur astronomy website
- The Speed of Light, University of Virginia
- Period of the Sun's Orbit around the Galaxy (Cosmic Year), HyperTextbook.com
- Ready Reference, JustForKidsOnly.com
- Milky Way Galaxy, University of Oregon
- Milky Way twice as thick as thought, The Earth Times, 20 Feb 08
- Eric Idle Galaxy Song from Not The Messiah finale at Hollywood Bowl 8-2-08
- 6 or 16 thousand light years thick?
- speed of light@Everything2.com
- Idle, Eric (2010-06-08). "Monty Python Vet Eric Idle: 'Not The Messiah'". NPR. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
- Galaxy Song on YouTube
- Galaxy DNA Song on YouTube