Starman: Astronomers name group of stars after David Bowie

Next time you look out your window, you might see a Starman waiting in the sky.

That's because Belgian astronomers have picked out a group of seven stars, which form a lightning bolt, to honour David Bowie, who died after an 18-month battle with cancer last week.

See Full Article

It is a fitting send-off for the rock star, who frequently incorporated the cosmos into his art.

Bowie's 1969 single "Space Oddity" launched him into superstardom. A period of experimentation also led him to create the flamboyant alter ego Ziggy Stardust, an alien rock star.

Bowie's 1972 album "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars," included hits "Starman" and "Life on Mars."

The character also famously appeared on the cover of his 1973 album "Aladdin Sane," with an iconic red-and-blue lightning bolt painted on his face.

Belgian radio station Studio Brussel and the MIRA public observatory said they registered the cluster of stars last week, and will take a "symbolic place alongside the 88 existing constellations."

Philippe Mollet, a representative from MIRA, said that it was not easy to find a "unique place in the galaxy" for Bowie.

"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 vincinity of Mars at the exact time of his death," said Mollet.

"The constellation looks like an exact copy of the iconic Bowie lightning."

Jesse Rogerson, a PhD candidate in astrophysics at York University in Toronto, told CTV News Channel Monday that the group of stars can't be officially classified as a constellation – that list was laid out by the International Astronomical Union in 1922 – but they can be called an asterism, or a "colloquially accepted" pattern of stars like the Big Dipper.

Rogerson said the stars are all visible to the naked eye, and many are part of other constellations such as Virgo and Libra.

He added that stargazers in southern Ontario at this time of year can catch a glimpse of the new asterism in the early morning hours.

"It is actually in the vicinity of Mars," said Rogerson.

"Currently, the planet Mars is going right through that area, which is fitting for Ziggy Stardust, so it is a nice little place … it is a huge area of the sky that we can see at some points of the year."

Rogerson compared the Bowie tribute to the naming of constellations after culturally significant figures across human history, such as characters out of Greek mythology like Orion, Andromeda, Aries and Hercules.

"This is exactly what humans have been doing as long as we've been looking at the night sky," he said.

"It is wonderful to see that history, and that tradition is still there."



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Ben Affleck addresses rumours that he's out as Batman

    Entertainment CTV News
    SAN DIEGO - Ben Affleck says he is still Batman and has the support of Warner Bros for the stand-alone film. Affleck addressed rumours that he would not be appearing as the caped crusader past "Justice League" this November Saturday at Comic-Con in San Diego. Source
  • Spielberg debuts action-packed 'Ready Player One' footage

    Entertainment CTV News
    SAN DIEGO - Steven Spielberg dives into the world of virtual reality in his adaptation of "Ready Player One." The director unveiled action- and nostalgia-packed footage from the film Saturday at San Diego Comic-Con. The 6,500-person Hall H crowd gave the director a standing ovation and cheered heartily when the first images from the dystopian future world came up on screen, and even more so when The Iron Giant popped up. Source
  • Ben Affleck refutes rumours that he's out as Batman

    Entertainment CBC News
    Ben Affleck says he is still Batman and has the support of Warner Bros. for the stand-alone film. Affleck addressed rumours at Comic-Con in San Diego, Calif. Saturday that he would not be appearing as the caped crusader past Justice League this November. Source
  • 'Home Alone' dad John Heard dead at 71

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Home Alone star John Heard has died at the age of 72. Police were called to a Palo Alto, California hotel on Friday to investigate a report of a medical emergency, but the actor was pronounced dead at the scene, according to TMZ.com. Source
  • 'It'll say things about today': Denis Villeneuve teases Blade Runner 2049

    Entertainment CBC News
    Canadian director Denis Villeneuve had fended off numerous requests to direct big-budget sequels until he was approached to make a follow-up to Ridley Scott's 1982 neo-noir sci-fi film Blade Runner. "I accepted to do Blade Runner because it was meaningful," Villeneuve, the director of last year's cerebral alien sci-fi film Arrival, told Reuters Saturday in San Diego, Calif. Source
  • 90 hospitalized during Chance the Rapper show in Connecticut

    Entertainment CBC News
    Police in Connecticut say more than 90 people were hospitalized during a concert featuring Chance the Rapper. Authorities say many were taken to hospitals for excessive drinking. Hartford Deputy Chief Brian Foley said Saturday that officers made 50 underage drinking referrals Friday at Hot 93.7's Hot Jam concert at Xfinity Theatre. Source
  • Singer Scotty McCreery cited for loaded gun at airport

    Entertainment CBC News
    Country singer Scotty McCreery has been cited after authorities say he had a loaded handgun with him in Raleigh-Durham International Airport. Authorities told local media organizations that they found a loaded 9 millimetre handgun in McCreery's backpack at a security checkpoint on July 13. Source
  • Beyoncé wax figure touched up after complaints about inaccurate skin colour

    Entertainment CBC News
    A wax figure of Beyoncé at Madame Tussauds in New York has been given a makeover after fans of the megastar said the figure looked too white. The wax Beyoncé sported wavy blond hair and appeared to be thinner and lighter-skinned than the Lemonade singer in real life. Source
  • 90 hospitalized during Chance the Rapper show

    Entertainment CTV News
    HARTFORD, Conn. - Police in Connecticut say more than 90 people were hospitalized during a concert featuring Chance the Rapper. Authorities say many were taken to hospitals for excessive drinking. Hartford Deputy Chief Brian Foley said Saturday that officers made 50 underage drinking referrals Friday at Hot 93.7's Hot Jam concert at Xfinity Theatre. Source
  • Actor John Heard, of 'Home Alone' movies, dies at 72

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK - Actor John Heard, best known for playing the father in the "Home Alone" movie series, has died. He was 72. His death was confirmed by the Santa Clara Medical Examiner's office in California on Saturday. Source