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David Bowie: Astronomers name lightning bolt constellation after space-obsessed singer

Published 18/01/2016

A grab from the Stardust for Bowie site, which shows the constellation as seen from the Earth and allows people to pay tribute to the artist http://stardustforbowie.be/
A grab from the Stardust for Bowie site, which shows the constellation as seen from the Earth and allows people to pay tribute to the artist http://stardustforbowie.be/

David Bowie has a constellation named after him, a set of stars in the shape of the iconic lightning bolt.

Belgian astronomers have registered the collection of seven stars, which can seen “in the vicinity of Mars”, in memory of the singer who died last week.

The lightning bolt first appeared painted onto Bowie’s face on the cover of the Aladdin Sane album. Now the astronomers have registered a set of stars in the same shape in tribute.

As well as the now-famous lightning bolt image, the stars and planets outside of Earth served as inspiration to Bowie throughout his career. From his very first single, Space Oddity, he was preoccupied with space travel — an image that continued through to one of his very last videos, Blackstar.

The constellation has been registered by the Belgian MIRA Observatory, which said it had worked to pick the right stars.

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

The new constellation is being commemorated in an accompanying website, Stardust For Bowie. That site shows the stars that make up the constellation — and allows people to place their favourite songs within the shape, adding up to a collection of stardust where each speck is a person’s choice.

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