A personalized star map is one of the best ways to remember, commemorate and connect to a time in the past. Romantic star maps recording a time and place significant to a relationship are the most popular star map options, as are birthdays. You can choose from any date since 1900, however, and you can create the title of the map yourself – so there’s a lot of space to think outside the box!
When Neil deGrasse Tyson ordered one of Under Lucky Stars’ star maps, he chose the date of the sinking of the Titanic. Of course, this world event is common to everyone, but he had a particular connection to the event himself. As he explained, when he watched the movie Titanic, he noticed the night sky wasn’t accurate. They had effectively copied and pasted half of the sky to create the other half. It wasn’t the starry sky above the Titanic on that fateful night, and so he asked Under Lucky Stars to recreate it for him.
We may not all feel the same connection to the sinking of the Titanic. Neil deGrasse Tyson even got involved with James Cameron’s remaking of the original (to help correct the inaccurate night sky)! But we do all have times from outside of our personal lives which are still personal to us. It could be anything from a moment in world politics to the release of a great movie. Here are 10 star maps from the last 120 years to get the ideas rolling!
*Click on any of the titles below to view the corresponding star map.
1 - Launch of Apollo 11 (July 16th 1969 13:32, Kennedy Space Center, Merritt Island)
Let’s blast off with one of the most momentous dates of the 20th century: the Moon landings. Apollo 11 launched on July 16th from the Kennedy Space Center with three astronauts who are now synonymous with spaceflight: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. Four days later, on July 20th, they successfully landed on the Moon and Neil Armstrong spoke the immortal words: “one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind”.
This successful mission to the Moon signalled the beginning of the end of Cold War tensions and it inspired shifts in perception around the world. Not only did it reframe the way humanity viewed itself and its capabilities, but it also encouraged social and cultural reform. A popular expression was soon born, “If they can send a man to the Moon, why can’t they…?”. Movements for racial equality were refuelled in the USA, as now everything seemed possible. This would make the ideal star map for space lovers and those who want to be reminded that you can make your dreams a reality.
2 - The Stonewall Riots (June 28th 1969, Greenwich Village, New York)
Just a few weeks before the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, something else had taken off: the LGBT movement. In the early hours of June 28th, 1969, the New York police raided the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. They roughly threw out the customers and staff from the pub but the locals of this popular gay bar rose up in support. Outside the bar, there were protests and clashes with the police for six days.
The Stonewall Riots triggered a revolutionary wave in the gay rights movement. This date has become a landmark in LGBT history and it represents a victory for freedom. You don’t need to be a member of the LGBT community to want a star map which reminds you that it is okay to be who you are. In fact, there are people out there who would fight for your right to be treated equally and live with pride.
3 - The Salt March (March 12th 1930, Ahmedabad)
On March 12th 1930, Mohandas Gandhi led a 24-day march of civil disobedience against the British rule in India. Gandhi walked from his retreat near Ahmedabad to the Arabian Sea (about 240 miles) with tens of thousands of followers joining him along the way. Gandhi, along with about 60,000 of his followers, was arrested. This march is one of Gandhi’s most famous acts in aid of liberating India, which gained its independence in 1947.
Gandhi’s peaceful form of protest has been cited by hundreds of movements since and he remains a source of worldwide inspiration. His vision of how the world should be and how we should go about changing it is a beautiful message to display in the form of a star map.
4 - Amelia Earhart’s Transatlantic Flight (May 21sth 1932, Atlantic Ocean)
In 1928, Ameila Earhart crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a plane piloted by Charles Lindbergh. Her job was to keep the plane’s log but it brought her huge international fame. Exactly five years later, she undertook the flight on her own. Earhart successfully flew from Newfoundland to Ireland, making her the first female to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. She continued flying until, tragically, she died attempting to fly around the world.
Her many achievements, most famously her solo transatlantic flight, have been immortalized in aviation history. She is also a heroine and inspiration for women all around the world. A star map commemorating Amelia Earhart’s transatlantic flight is a great reminder of just how much you can achieve, however great the obstacle.
5 - Roswell UFO Incident (July 7th 1947, Roswell, New Mexico)
On July 7th 1947, 75 miles north of the town of Roswell, a rancher named Mac Brazel discovered some strange looking debris in his sheep pasture. Unable to identify it, he contacted the local sheriff who, in turn, contacted the Roswell Air Force base. The air force said it was a crashed weather balloon - which made no sense to anyone who had seen the photos. Later the U.S. military announced the remains were a part of a secret atomic espionage project called “Project Mogul”. Many remain unsatisfied by the answer and a series of “dummy drops” by the air force, using alien-like equipment, only deepened suspicions.
The Roswell Incident is the most famous and thoroughly investigated (and debunked) UFO claim. Whether you believe this was a genuine UFO or not, the Roswell Incident represents, at least, our wish for far-reaching connection with life forms beyond our own planet. The idea that we may not be alone in this universe is scary for some, but exciting and reassuring to others. Would a star map of the Roswell Incident hold a positive message for you?
6 - Thrilla in Manila (October 1st 1975, Manila)
One of the most famous moments in the world of boxing and sports in general was the third and final boxing match in a series between Mohammed Ali and Joe Frazier. Joe Frazier had won the first fight in the trilogy, the “Fight of the Century”, and Ali had won “Super Fight II”. When Ali won the final fight, dubbed by Ali, the “Thrilla in Manila”, a legendary story had been written into the pages of history, but it also signalled the beginning of the end of for both boxers’ careers.
It was a ferocious and exciting fight. Both boxers were desperate to win and it was said that Ali had never fought with such anger. In the fourteenth round, Frazier’s chief second, Eddie Futch, threw in the towel for Frazier giving Mohammed Ali a win by technical knockout. A star map, personalized to the “Thrilla in Manila” wouldn’t just represent the fight itself, but the incredible life and career of Mohammed Ali. If Mohammed Ali is an inspirational figure to you, then consider getting a star map of one of his greatest fights.
7 - Nelson Mandela Freed from Prison (February 11th 1990, Robben Island)
On February 11th 1990, Nelson Mandela, the leader of the movement to end the apartheid in South Africa was freed, after 27 years in prison. Every day of his imprisonment was a powerful symbol of resistance and, by the end of his time in prison, relaxations of the apartheid laws were already underway. Four years later, in 1994, Nelson Mandela became the president of South Africa – the first black head of state.
Nelson Mandela died on December 5th 2013, but his life and legacy continue to inspire the world. Why not bring his memory a little closer with a star map set to the time of his release from prison, or any other time from a long list of incredible feats in his life?
8 - Fall of the Berlin Wall (November 9th 1989, Berlin)
On August 19th 1989, the Iron Curtain between Austria and Hungary was opened and caused a ripple of peaceful reparations to take place. Just three months later, on November 9th 1989, the Berlin Wall was knocked down. This momentous occasion was the first time East and West Berlin had free passage between them since 1961. Families and friends had been torn apart by the building of the wall, and many lost their lives trying to cross from one side to the other.
Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the inner German border fell. The Cold War came to an end and the reunification of Germany took place within a year. This was a great moment, signalling the end of so much heartache and a difficult chapter in human history. Symbolically, it is also an act of reconciliation, opening up and togetherness which stands in stark contrast to the ideals which the wall had upheld. A star map of the fall of the Berlin Wall would help remember this great moment and spark many interesting conversations.
9 - Martin Luther King ‘I Have a Dream’ Speech (August 28th 1963, Washington D.C.)
“I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" - one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today!” - Extract from Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech
Martin Luther King is famous for much more than just a speech, but if there is one thing everyone knows about this civil rights pioneer, it is this speech. These rousing words came at a time they were needed more than ever. They are words of hope, freedom and love. The same qualities were embodied by the man speaking them. Channel the feeling and ideas of this speech into your own home with a map of the stars from the day Martin Luther King shared his dream.
10 - The Publication of Nineteen Eight-Four (June 8th 1949, London)
On June 8th 1949, one of the greatest books of the 20th century entered the world: Nineteen Eighty-Four. Its author, George Orwell, was originally born Eric Arthur Blair. Apart from Nineteen Eighty-Four, he wrote many insightful, original and satirical works, such as Animal Farm, and non-fiction books, including his account of the Spanish Civil War, Homage to Catalonia.
Orwell is one of the most influential writers that has ever been and his ideas still affect popular culture today. Many of the words Orwell invented in 1984 have become a part of the modern vernacular, including “Newspeak”, “doublethink”, “Big Brother” and “Thought Police”. Orwell’s warnings of life in a totalitarian state may very well have helped to prevent their onset. Certainly, he has given the world the warning signs to spot, and language to describe, an “Orwellian” state. Why not celebrate one of the greatest writers of all time with a map of the stars set to the day of his birth?
Of course, the options are endless. The birth of Princess Diana? The death of Elvis Presley? The end of the Second World War? The publication of Lord of The Rings? Music fans will be spoilt for choice with dates of their favourite artists performing. How about Queen at Live Aid? Star maps aren’t just for our private lives. They can be used for anything! If you have any good ideas, please share them with us, or we’d be happy to brainstorm more ideas with you. After you’ve chosen, designing and ordering a star map is easy. It will be up on your sitting room wall in no time!