iau2404 — Press Release

24 May 2024
LEGO and the IAU Inspire Kids to Rethink the Night Sky
New project encourages children to explore the stars and create their own original “Funstellations”

From 23 May to 31 July, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and LEGO Group are joining forces to encourage kids all over the world to reimagine the night sky. The Funstellations project also highlights the value of preserving our astronomical heritage for future generations.

Throughout history, constellations have been defined by explorers, calendar makers, and cultures that imprinted their traditions on the stars. Today, astronomers officially recognise 88 constellations in the Northern and Southern hemispheres that have evolved from different cultures’ interpretations of the night sky. Constellations tell stories; they represent rituals, mythologies, historical events and important aspects of everyday life.

Now, the IAU and LEGO Group are teaming up and encouraging children worldwide to bring their unique creative lens to our view of the stars. To celebrate children’s curiosity about the future of space, the organisations are asking kids to reimagine the night sky with their own Funstellations.

Didac Phi, Associate Master Builder at the LEGO House, believes in the power of children’s creativity to understand our Universe: “Children are our inspiration for play and creativity. With so much of the Universe yet to be explored, there’s no science to say that what they create isn’t possible or doesn’t exist already.” Through their Funstellations, children are encouraged to probe their understanding of our Universe and explore the cosmos from the comfort of their own minds.

Tomorrow’s astronomers and explorers can download a sky map on the LEGO website and join the dots together to show what object or shape they can see in the stars – maybe it’s a pizza cowboy, a dancing dinosaur, or perhaps a giant mushroom holding a teacup. As they look up at the night sky, kids can imagine their own story through their new Funstellation and submit their creations online until 31 July. All entrants will be awarded a certificate of participation, and some Funstellations will be highlighted through the IAU’s social media accounts.

“We are excited to tap the unbridled creativity of children through this collaboration by encouraging them to look up at the night sky and think about the stars,” says Debra Elmegreen, President of the IAU. “The next generation of scientists and space explorers will shape how we understand and interact with the Universe. With this project, we hope to give them a head start.”

The Funstellations project also highlights the importance of protecting our dark skies from light pollution. Recent research using data collected from citizen scientists has shown that the night sky is brightening at an alarming rate; if light pollution is left unchecked, future generations may not have access to the profound and inspiring view of a starry night sky. Through this collaboration, the IAU and LEGO hope to demonstrate the inestimable value of preserving an astronomical legacy for generations to come, driven by the curiosity and creativity of today’s children.

More information

The IAU is the international astronomical organisation that brings together more than 12 000 active professional astronomers from more than 100 countries worldwide. Its mission is to promote and safeguard astronomy in all its aspects, including research, communication, education and development, through international cooperation. The IAU also serves as the internationally recognised authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and the surface features on them. Founded in 1919, the IAU is the world's largest professional body for astronomers.

The LEGO Group’s mission is to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow through the power of play. The LEGO System in Play, with its foundation in LEGO bricks, allows children and fans to build and rebuild anything they can imagine. The LEGO Group was founded in Billund, Denmark in 1932 by Ole Kirk Kristiansen, its name derived from the two Danish words Leg Godt, which mean “Play Well”. Today, the LEGO Group remains a family-owned company headquartered in Billund. However, its products are now sold in more than 130 countries worldwide. For more news from the LEGO Group, information about financial performance and responsibility engagement, please visit www.LEGO.com/aboutus.



Kelly Blumenthal
IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach Director
Email: blumenthal.kelly@oao.iau.org

Lina Canas
IAU Membership Coordinator
Email: lina.canas@iau.org / iaupressoffice@iau.org

Guido Schwarz
IAU Press Officer
Email: iaupressoffice@iau.org