After David Bowie’s death January 11th at 69 following an 18 month secret battle with cancer, one of the most frequently repeated song lyrics shared ’round the Internet was from Space Oddity:
The stars look very different today.
Now, some of those stars have been named for Bowie, a constellation shaped like the lightning bolt that covered his face on the Aladdin Sane album.
“Studio Brussels asked us to give Bowie a unique place in the galaxy,” Philippe Mollett from the public observatory MIRA tells DDB.
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.
It should be noted that this is not an existing constellation but an honourary one designed by MIRA, joining 88 other constellations in the night sky.
As DDB notes,
During his long career, David Bowie knew some great loves. One of his greatest inspiration was undoubtedly: the universe. Bowie had a special fondness for everything that had to do with the universe. Ziggy Stardust, the album that was both commercially and artistically one of his greatest achievements, characterized him even as an extra-terrestrial rock star.”
No word yet on whether Bowie’s Spiders from Mars will be stopping by in tribute.
There’s also an interactive website, Stardust for Bowie, where fans can leave their own messages and thoughts on his music, and each message appears as a star within the confines of the constellation.
To learn more, read here.
There’s another suggestion for a celestial memorial for Bowie, one that’s a little more far-fetched and less likely to become reality: Some fans want to rename Mars for him.
A petition was started on Jan. 11 by Danny Rapscallion (possibly not his real name), who’s asking the International Astronomical Union to rename the planet.
“He gave us so much,” Rapscallion writes. “A piece of the galaxy in return is just a drop in the universe.”
As of Jan. 18, some 6,394 people joined Danny in the effort.
For a more Earth-bound tribute, there’s a petition to put Bowie’s face on a £20 note.
The 1,000 supporters (as of Jan. 18) of that effort don’t express an explicit preference for which personae to use on the currency. It’s worth noting, of course, that the Bank of England last year asked for nominations for visual artists to feature on the £20, but that window of opportunity closed in July.
But the most unusual petition? Say no to David Bowie dead. Andrea Natella writes to, “God or whom it may concern” and currently has 11,159 supporters.
— John Hooper (@john_hooper) January 14, 2016