Publication: The Sun
I don't believe it!
In a successful publicity stunt, a TV channel got astronomer/artist Mark Garlick to find the faces of showbiz stars in the stars. So it was that the entirely unofficial new constellation of Victor Meldrew decorated The Sun's front page. Fortunately I was invited to inject a spot of reason with a commentary noting how seeing shapes in the stars was nothing new.
MAN has been finding patterns in the stars since he first looked up at the night sky thousands of years ago. So Dr Garlick is following an ancient tradition in creating patterns of his own.
Early humans joined the dots to turn a random scattering of distant suns into a picture gallery of heroes and mythical creatures.
Ancient farmers learned when to sow crops or reap harvests by the dates when certain star patterns rose above the horizon.
The patterns are known as constellations - and the stars that make them up are in reality usually unrelated to others in the same grouping. They just happen to lie in the same general direction when seen from Earth.
Some constellations are so obvious that they are known to every child - such as Orion the hunter which dominates winter skies or the Plough which can be seen on any clear night from the UK.
Other famous star patterns are the band of constellations through which the Sun, Moon and planets appear to travel throughout the seasons -the zodiac.
Some star patterns are a lot less clear - and often it is difficult to see the picture that the constellation is supposed to represent. You can see the figure of a man in Orion. And Leo does somewhat resemble a lion lying down.
But Pegasus looks like simply a square rather than a winged horse. And you need a heck of an imagination to see Andromeda as a princess chained to a rock and not just a straight line of stars.
There are 88 official constellations making up the entire sky. It is a bit like a cosmic jigsaw except that none of the pieces is missing. Dr Garlick took a few artistic liberties to create his constellations. These are not very obvious patterns in reality as he would be first to admit. To be honest, you'd need a telescope to see most of his stars!
I have been stargazing since I was a child and I remember the fun of playing join-the-dots with the stars as I learned my way around the sky.
Britain's leading club, the Society for Popular Astronomy, recently held a contest to invent some modern constellations. Winning entry was a fantastic depiction of a space shuttle by James Wright of Newark, Notts.
Another example of bringing an ancient art right up to date.