It’s a reasonable assumption that most Universe Today website visitors are, at the very least, intrigued by the night sky. This Universe Today reader, someone who always enjoys learning something new, was surprised to discover yet another cultural association with the wonders of the world around us. Vexillology is the scientific study of flags and apparently has a connection with Astronomy. If you’re looking for a highly informational book mashing up Astronomy and Vexillogy, Flags of the Night Sky, When Astronomy Meets National Pride, by Andre G. Bordeleau is a great resource.
In the United States of America we’re familiar with our country’s flag. We may also know our state’s flag. But, do we know what the colors and patterns stand for? Think about the gathering of the world at the Olympics. There’s something magical about the opening ceremonies of the Games. Talented athletes with a lifetime of hard work and dedication to their sport proudly march behind the honored flag bearer of their nation. As the flags and their teams walk through the arena, the world tunes in to watch centuries of national pride. All of these flags are not pure decoration, they have profound thought and meaning behind them. Flags of the world are displayed on an international Olympic stage; many portraying interesting connections to the night sky.
Bordeleau begins his book with a look at an internationally recognized flag – Brazil’s. Although its history dates back to 1889, its most recent incarnation is the most well known. According to Bordeleau, “The current flag of Brazil is akin to a star atlas featuring 9 different constellations and 27 stars.” The stars are not purely decorative; they correlate to specific states and to the capital. The Astronomy connection is fantastic.
With chapters ranging from sun-bearing flags, moon-bearing flags, and one titled “Starry Flags: Here’s Stars in Your Eyes”, Flags of the Night Sky covers it all. If you’re looking for in depth insight into national cultures displayed through their flags and their connections tied to the heavens above, this is a well organized, great resource.
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Flags of the Night Sky is available for purchase or download at Amazon.com
Universe Today and Springer are pleased to be able to offer three free copies of Flags of the Night Sky to our readers. In order to be entered into the giveaway drawing, just put your email address into the box at the bottom of this post (where it says “Enter the Giveaway”) before Monday, March 10. If this is the first time you’re registering for a giveaway, you’ll receive a confirmation email immediately where you’ll need to click a link to be entered into the drawing. For those who have registered previously, you’ll receive an email later where you can enter this drawing.