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David Bowie Has His Own Constellation Now

Illustration for article titled David Bowie Has His Own Constellation Now

As the world still mourns the passing of David Bowie, we can take some comfort that he’s posthumously received the most appropriate tribute ever: a constellation named after him, shaped in his iconic lightning bolt.

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The MIRA Public Observatory in Brussels, Belgium, worked with a local radio station to register the constellation, which consists of seven stars located in the vicinity of Mars. From DDB Brussels:

It was not easy to determine the appropriate stars,” says Philippe Mollet from MIRA. “Studio Brussels asked us to give Bowie a unique place in the galaxy. 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.

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I know this is at least partially just a publicity stunt, but I don’t care—this is perfect. In fact, I think we should get rid of all the old, crappy constellations and replace them with Bowie-themed new ones. You can’t tell me that the night sky wouldn’t be improved if we got rid of Orion and replaced him with the Goblin King.

[HuffPo]


Contact the author at rob@io9.com.

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DISCUSSION

1) “In the vicinity of Mars” is meaningless in this context, Mars is a planet and consequently moves against the backdrop of stars “fixed” on the celestial field.

2) The constellations are long settled, and the sky divided between them (constellations have borders, which divide up the sky). See:

http://www.iau.org/public/themes/…

You can’t have an “official” new one, which is pretty clearly indicated by the fact that each of the included stars is already named after the constellation of which it’s a part. This is, at best, an asterism composed of stars in Libra, Virgo, Centaurus, and Triangulum Australis.

This is not to say that I don’t appreciate the thought, but it would make more sense (and carry more weight) to name some newly discovered astronomical phenomenon or object after him. Bowie was, after all, quite the unusual astronomical phenomenon himself.