David Bowie Left a Beautiful Secret in the 'Blackstar' Vinyl

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Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

A customer picks up a copy of "Blackstar" the latest album by British musician David Bowie in a branch of HMV in central London on Jan. 11, 2016. 

David Bowie’s swan song LP Blackstar has been out almost four months, and we’re still uncovering hidden secrets within it. This time, it’s not about the lyrics or the music, but the very packaging of the vinyl itself. 

Under certain conditions, the black paper beneath the LP cover’s cut-out star design alters to reveal a smattering of stars, as if from an actual NASA photograph. Fans began to post their discovery on social media, and Bowie’s son, filmmaker Duncan Jones, shared it with the masses.




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Some suspected the hidden stars appeared after the packaging was left exposed to sunlight for an extended period of time. Others surmised there was no change at all -- that thinner paper was used inside the gatefold so a star image printed inside would be exposed beneath light instantly. Different pressings of Blackstar contain slightly different packaging, so the effect could have several variations. 

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As far as we can tell, the phenomenon only occurs in the vinyl version of the album -- not the CD.

David Bowie died Jan. 10, following a concealed battle with cancer. Blackstar, released just two days prior, had already been hailed as an excellent record, but took on a new life following Bowie’s death. Sales-wise, it became Bowie's first No. 1 on the Billboard 200, earning 181,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. during its first week.