Stargazing may be a fond childhood memory for many of us. At the time, it was actually possible to see the stars, without pollution or high rises blocking the view. However, research has found that for children today, gazing up at the sky and spotting constellations is not really an activity they enjoy or indulge in.
According to a study quoted by The Big Bang Fair – a four-day event where youngsters interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) come together in Birmingham, UK – 72% children in the UK today have not looked up at the night sky to spot a constellation. And 29% could not name a single classical constellation if faced with it. The study was done with 1000 children between ages seven and 19 as subjects.
In order to attract more youngsters to stargaze and take active interest in the astronomical universe, the Big Bang Fair teamed up with Birmingham University to make new constellations more relatable. According to reports, these reimagined constellations contain some stars from existing ones, too.
According to a press release on the Big Bang Fair’s website, a number of the 88 existing constellations recognised by the International Astronomical Union have names inspired by ancient Greek and Roman mythology. Children today do not relate much to these names or figures, which is why the modern constellations will have names of icons from the worlds of sport, entertainment, science and activism.
These new creations include Harry Potter’s glasses, Serena Williams's tennis racket, a book to represent Malala Yousafzai, a constellation in the structure of a signature move of Usain Bolt, and more.
Check out the photos here:
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.”
The press release also contained information about the list of constellations, the direction you should look at to spot them, and time of year they would be most visible. Find it below:
- Malala Yousafzai (Book) – North (NNW) – February (Winter)
- JK Rowling (Harry Potter’s glasses) – North (NE) – March (Spring)
- Sir David Attenborough (Whale) – North (NNE) – April (Spring)
- Tim Peake (Spacecraft) – East (ESE) – April (Spring)
- Sir Mo Farah (Mobot) – East (ENE) – June (Summer)
- Serena Williams (Tennis Racket) – North (NW) – September (Summer)
- Usain Bolt (Lightning bolt celebration) – East (E) – November (Autumn)
- Sir Michael Bond (Paddington Bear) – East (E) – December (Winter)