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New Star Constellations Honor Celebrities Like Usain Bolt And Sir David Attenborough


Jonathan O'Callaghan

Senior Staff Writer

Usain Bolt is one of the celebrities recognized in the new constellations. University of Birmingham

Astronomers have produced eight new unofficial constellations based on celebrities such as Usain Bolt, JK Rowling, and Malala Yousafzai.

The constellations are designed to encourage children to look up at the night sky, with 72 percent of 7- to 19-year-olds saying they’d never looked up at the night sky to find a constellation.


The project is called Look Up To The Stars, and it was led by the University of Birmingham in the UK in partnership with The Big Bang Fair.

“It was an honour to work alongside The Big Bang Fair to develop a new set of constellations for the modern day to encourage children today to look up to the stars,” project lead Emma Willett from the University of Birmingham said in a statement.

Stars in the night sky were used to draw up the new patterns. University of Birmingham

“We really hope these new creations will help people of all ages develop their interest in space and astronomy, working to inspire the next generation of astronomers to take an interest in the field.”

The constellations include Jamaican athlete Usain Bolt doing his signature “lightning bolt” pose, and UK athlete Mo Farah doing his famous “Mobot”.


Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan, an activist for female education shot by a gunman in 2012 who attempted to murder her, is honored by a book, while JK Rowling’s face is portrayed around Harry Potter’s glasses.

Tim Peake is honored by a space shuttle. University of Birmingham


JK Rowling gets the Harry Potter treatment with his iconic glasses. University of Birmingham

Sir David Attenborough is honored by a whale, Tim Peake by a spacecraft (technically a Space Shuttle, while he flew in a Soyuz capsule, but oh well), Sir Michael Bond by his creation Paddington Bear, and tennis player Serena Williams is shown serving a ball.

Each constellation comes with accompanying information on the stars used to create them. The team also gave directions on the best time to observe them and where to look, which you can see here.


As mentioned, these are not official in any shape or form; there are only 88 constellations recognized by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). But it’s hoped that they might encourage children to get outside and take a look at the stars in the night sky.

“Stargazing is a great way to spark young people's interest in the universe and inspire them to find out more,” Beth Elgood, Director of Communications at EngineeringUK, who organise The Big Bang Fair, said in the statement.

Sir David Attenborough is portrayed by a whale. University of Birmingham


spaceSpace and PhysicsspaceAstronomy
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  • constellations