New Star Constellation Named After David Bowie
by Tom Hale
Photo credit: Starman at last. www.stardustforbowie.be
In July 1969, as the Apollo 11 missions were launching towards the Moon, the just-released David Bowie single “Space Oddity” was further fueling the space-lust for thousands of Earth-bound humans. From songs like “Starman” and “Life on Mars” to his numerous otherworldly personas – no other pop artist has inspired and drawn upon our exploration of space as much as David Bowie.
So, as a fitting tribute following his untimely death last week, Belgian astronomers have named a star constellation after the world’s late, great cosmic muse.
The constellation consists of seven stars that form the shape of the lightning bolt from Bowie’s 1973 album “Aladdin Sane,” one of the most iconic images of the starchild.
The project was a collaboration between radio station Studio Brussel and Belgium’s MIRA public observatory, called Stardust For Bowie. On this interactive Google Sky map, you can also post messages and tag your favorite Bowie song to any of the stars which fall within the constellation.
“It was not easy to determine the appropriate stars. Studio Brussel asked us to give Bowie a unique place in the galaxy,” Philippe Mollet, from the MIRA Public Observatory, said in a statement.
“Referring to his various albums, we chose seven stars – Sigma Librae, Spica, Alpha Virginis, Zeta Centauri, SAA 204 132, and the Beta Sigma Octantis Trianguli Australis – in the vicinity of Mars. The constellation is a copy of the iconic Bowie lightning and was recorded at the exact time of his death.”
Update: It should be noted that this constellation has not been officially recognized by the International Astronomical Union (IAU).