/ 4 October 2019

Binary Star Posters

I make posters as a design exercise. A way to keep myself thinking in a few different directions at once. Any excuse to make a poster will do.

A soccer match here. An event there. It’s a good workout. I’ve made quite a few over the years, and even had them end up in cool places

While experimenting with texture and shape, I happened upon a combination that looked almost celestial.

It all tumbled out from there. The result: these five “binary star” posters. Each one is an abstract depiction of an actual binary star system. I stress – these are artistic impressions. They’re romanticized ideas of binary star systems, with a few nods to scientific detail. The unknowability and incomprehensibility of the actual details affords a bit of creative license.

ALGOL is the the demon star. From the Arabic “raʾs al-ghūl”, “the head of the ghoul.” In the constellation Perseus, Algol represents the gorgon Medusa’s head. In pretty much every culture that has recorded astronomy, Algol has been regarded as something unlucky and demonic. It’s actually two small stars orbiting each other and together orbiting a larger star. I’m calling it a binary system. (wiki)

The larger star in the ANTARES binary system is the size of the orbit of Mars. Its partner star is much smaller. The poster depicts two stars closer in size, but no less ready to explode. The real Antares (A) will go supernova within the next few thousand years, and when it does it’ll be as bright as the moon. (wiki)

The stars in the actual SHELIAK pair trade matter. One is consuming the other. In fact, the smaller star is consuming the larger one. Sheliak floats in Lyra, the harp constellation, which sounds lonely. An intimate, sinister, cold tone seemed to fit here. (wiki)

BG GEMINORUM is a binary with one standard-class star and one massive, unobservable black hole. Skirting the edge of a black hole – a truly impressive achievement. (It can’t last.) (wiki)



KEPLER-47 is quite notable for being the rare binary system that we believe hosts orbiting planets. (The modern Kepler planet-hunting telescope allowed close observation of this system, hence the name.) Planets orbiting a binary star system – it’s an amazing thing to consider. Anyone observing from the surface of a Kepler-47 planet would experience an actual Tatooine-style “twin suns in the sky” phenomenon. (wiki)

These aren’t for sale, and there aren’t plans to produce them. Just wanted to share. More to come? We’ll see.