13Dec2017

Usain Bolt, Sir David Attenborough Etc. New Star Constellations

 The new Usain Bolt constellation Credit: University of Birmingham

 Now this is something I fully applaud! Astronomy experts have picked out a new set of constellations representing stars of sport, literature and science to encourage more youngsters to look up at the night sky.

The University of Birmingham created new star alignments in honour of Usain Bolt, Sir David Attenborough and Mo Farah among others. The boots of Paddington Bear and Harry Potter’s glasses have also been captured in the heavens. The new constellations were created after research showed that the traditional classical star formations, based on the zodiac and characters from ancient mythology are failing to inspire children today.

Seven out of 10 children said they had never looked up into the night sky to pick out a constellation, and 29 per cent were not able to pick out a single constellation when showing diagrams of the most well known. Emma Willett, who led the University of Birmingham research team, said: “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.”

There are currently 88 existing constellations officially recognised by the International Astronomical Union. The new creations include well known stars to make it easier to find them in the night sky. Harry Potter’s glasses, for example include the star Izar, a binary star in the official constellation of Bootes.Paddington’s boots contain the star Bellatrix, Betelguese and Mintaka, all of which lie in Orion.

Image result for Usain Bolt, Mo Farah and Sir David Attenborough picked out in new star constellations

 Sir David Attenborough has been represented by a whale, and his constellation includes stars which are also found in Ursa Minor, or the little bear.Other new shapes include a tennis racket for Serena Williams, a spacecraft for British astronaut Tim Peake, and a book in honour of Malala Yousafzai.

Sir Mo Farah meanwhile has been immortalised in the form of an ‘M’ shape constellation after his renowned ‘Mobot’ celebration, with Usain Bolt is also celebrated through a pattern of stars that resembles his own celebratory lightning-bolt stance, most of which are found in Taurus.Although they are not official, children are still invited to attempt to pick them out.

The new constellations are the work of experts at the University of Birmingham’s Astronomy Society. The process of developing the new constellations involved a careful analysis of star maps for different regions of the sky by researchers. They were developed alongside The Big Bang Fair, an annual festival designed to encourage children to take an interest in science and engineering.

Image result for Usain Bolt, Mo Farah and Sir David Attenborough picked out in new star constellations

Beth Elgood, Director of Communications at EngineeringUK, who organise The Big Bang Fair, said: “Stargazing is a great way to spark young people’s interest in the universe and inspire them to find out more. “Inspiration is at the heart of The Big Bang Fair, where young visitors, their teachers and parents have the chance to get hands-on with engaging STEM activities, workshops and shows and discover where science and maths could take them in the future.

”Astronomy experts have picked out a new set of constellations representing stars of sport, literature and science to encourage more youngsters to look up at the night sky. Source: Usain Bolt, Mo Farah and Sir David Attenborough picked out in new star constellations

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