by Pio Iannetti
By now we all had the chance to appreciate the tracks of the last album of Ziggy Stardust and everybody surely must have noticed the beautiful and fascinating astronomical picture contained inside. Why exactly that peculiar and unknown picture? What does it represent? Such are the questions that I asked myself, for besides being a Bowie fan and collector, I’m also an astrophysics and astrophotograpy lover. Framing the sky zone that was represented was the first step.
Comparing the image with the astronomical pictures taken by me and consulting my old and glorious stellar atlas, faithful friend of a thousand nights spent observing the firmament, I “discovered” that the sky section printed in the album Blackstar is located near the Andromeda galaxy.
The Andromeda Galaxy, located in the constellation of the same name, is an elliptical spiral galaxy of great dimensions and a neighbour to us, even if it’s distant about 2.5 million light years; together with the Milky Way (our galaxy) it’s part of the so called Local Group, a conglomerate of about 50/70 galaxies that, with other clusters, forms a larger and more extended structure known as “Virgo Supercluster”.
Why then that limited section of the Andromeda galaxy was used? What mystery is hidden behind this picture? Recently, using the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), some researchers have discovered that Andromeda’s halos are considerably more massive and extended than it was assumed before and the photograph mentioned shows these intriguing peculiarities also due to some Quasars located in the background, quasi-stellar objects headquarters of massive black holes: and here, the connection to the Blackstar video is amazing!
Everything begins to be clear now, but there is something more, and it is even more amazing; something that could maybe disclose the real nature of this album, in its entirety.
Thanks to this photograph and to quasars, researchers expressed a theory, the probability that the Andromeda Galaxy is moving closer to us, to our Milky Way, colliding in a silent process of fusion. The Lazarus track, from my personal atronomical and scientific interpretation, could have another meaning still, not as the “end” that the shutting of the closet doors seem to suggest, but as a “transformation” similar to that great cosmic fusion theory.
A brilliant and infographic vision not easy to comprehend, a message directed at everybody in the universe, as is also clearly depicted in the picture of the Plaque aboard the Pioneer 10 (in the booklet above Girl Loves Me), as is suggested in the whole Blackstar album…the Black Star.
“This is allI ever meant…
That’s the message that I send…
I can’t give everything away…”
(Translation by Rossella Iacono and Rachele Mura)