Bowie asterism

2016/11/21 § Leave a comment

David Bowie died of liver cancer on January 10, 2016. Supposedly, on the very same day, Studio Brussell contacted the MIRA Public Observatory (both being Belgian organizations) with the idea of giving Bowie his very own asterism, a sort of galactic homage.

Philippe Mollet of MIRA made the following statement:

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 at the exact time of his death. The constellation looks like an exact copy of the iconic Bowie lightning.

In conjunction with a string of stars mapping out Bowie’s Aladdin Sane lightning bolt, Studio Brussell also made a site called Stardust for Bowie. The site is made up of an interactive image of the asterism in which you may pick your favorite Bowie song, along with a short personal message in the shape of a star. It’s cool. If you like Bowie’s music, you should check it out.

MIRA said this of the distinction between constellations and asterisms:

The constellations are pieces of the sky: the whole sky has been divided in 88 official constellations. Compare that to a map of the United States: the boundaries of the 50 States are mostly straight lines, drawn horizontally and vertically. The same goes for the constellations. […] But what most people call “constellations” are actually “asterisms”, the lines connecting different stars (for example the Big Dipper, or the Tea Pot in Sagittarius,…). […] Those “line figures” are not official, they are just an easy way to help people find their way in the sky (for example, we use the Big Dipper to find the North Star). So that means every one can make his/her own asterisms.
And that was what we did: we –invented a “Bowie-asterism” as a tribute to the artist.

 

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