After David Bowie died, the mortality-driven themes on his latest (and, as it turns out, last) album, Blackstar, suddenly became less inscrutable. The video for “Lazarus” became a poignant goodbye, while the all-black vinyl album artwork and its prominent star symbol took on new meaning. “The Blackstar symbol [★], rather than writing ‘Blackstar,’ has as a sort of finality, a darkness, a simplicity, which is a representation of the music,” as designer Jonathan Barnbrook told Dezeen.
And now, according to Gigwise, a curious (or irresponsible) Imgur user recently discovered yet another secret feature of the Blackstar gatefold. Expose the LP cover to sunlight (without the record inside, of course), and the matte black background within the star outline transforms into a starry night sky. The Reddit thread about this phenomenon goes into more detail about how long it takes—perhaps anywhere from one to three hours—and notes the cosmos appear only under direct sunlight. (In other words, it’s not a permanent thing.) Another poster points out that there’s a starry night photo in the vinyl booklet already, and so this trick is actually the sunlight illuminating that part of the artwork. Either way, not only is this a clever reference to Bowie’s fascination with space and sci-fi, but it also makes Blackstar a pointed reminder that the universe is a vast place with plenty of enduring, eternal beauty. As far as farewell messages go, that’s hard to beat.