The Universe Sphere – The Milky Way in a Sphere
Did you ever want to hold the Universe in your hand? Wouldn´t it be cool to have a solid glass sphere with the structure of the Universe inside it? The success of our previous campaign „The Universe in a Sphere“ showed us: Yes! But not only that, we got many requests if we continue making these spheres and if we plan to add more variants. We realized quite fast, that the Milky Way is a must have, especially if you already own the Universe in a Sphere.
Never mind, human can try do understand, so we decided to create a collection of Spheres. We want to go from huge to small, with the Universe in a Sphere as our our big bang, continuing with the Milky Way in a Sphere and only stop if you say: Please stop it, we don´t need more beautiful glass Spheres.
Hoping, that this will never happen, we already worked on many Ideas like The Sun in a Sphere, The Solar System in a Sphere, Elon Musk´s Tesla in a Sphere, The Earth in a Sphere, Bacteria/Virus/Molecules in a Sphere, DNA in a Sphere, Atom in a Sphere. So stay tuned and now:
Let´s start with „The Milky Way in a Sphere“…
If you google the Milky Way, you will find many beautiful pictures, fantastic animations and pretty decent maps. But after some research, you realize, a lot of it is artwork.
To make it short, it´s because a Galaxy is so stupendously huge, that it would take approximately 1,000 years with the speed of light, alone to reach a point from where you might see the other end of our Galaxy. If you stay inside it, you can´t see the forest for the trees. Especially the center is so crowded and bright, that you have no chance to see through…
This sun, our sun, seems to have around 200,000,000,000 brothers and sisters. Two hundred billion stars that rotate with a speed between 20 and 200 kilometers per second in the shape of a giant disk. There are 1 million times more stars in our Galaxy, than dots in one Milky Way Sphere.
The diameter of the disk is
150,000 light years (1,400,000,000,000,000,000 km) and it is
2,000 light years thin (190,000,000,000,000,000 km). Our closest neighbor is the star Proxima Centauri, which is apProximately 4 light years away (37,000,000,000,000 km). In these dimensions, movement is hard to notice and you can easily forget, that it´s only a matter of perspective and time .The sun circles the Milky Way every 220 mio years…
Video:(http://beltoforion.de/article.php?a=spiral_galaxy_renderer, music: Unicorn Heads)
How do we know, what our Galaxy looks like?
We will answer this question, right after the break, in which we show you, what you get if you support this campaign and why we need you.
What do you get?
If you support this campaign, you can choose between „The Milky Way in a Sphere“, „The Universe in a Sphere“, different bundles, 3D printed bases and an LED Base plate. You can get the LED Base plate by simply adding 10 € to your pledge. It has different changeable color sets, but does not rotate the sphere. „The Milky Way in a Sphere“ is still in progress, but the first prototypes and the previous Spheres are already convincingly beautiful.
We will offer the most favored bases of our previous campaign in order to prevent having 300 different variants to pack, like last campaign. If you want a special material or color we do not offer, you can visit our shop at
where you can order our bases (you will not be able, to buy the LED base plate there). Shapeways is a 3D printing company with its seat in Europe and the US.
Now we want to lay the groundwork for future campaigns and designs, as well as we want to finish our second Sphere, „The Milky Way in a Sphere“. We asked a friend, who leads a company for movie post-production, to help us and he has done some awesome work. Together, we designed the second prototype, which looked so impressive, that we are super hyped for the next projects.
How is the Milky Way measured and how much can we see?
We wanted to get the data for the Milky Way in a Sphere as detailed and true as possible, so we looked up, how the Galaxy was measured and who did it.
We found out, that the ESA (European Space Agency) sent the satellite Hipparcos into space, to map out the stars between 1989 and 1993.
That´s a while back, we thought, there must be more recent data…
The ESA sent another satellite in 2013, the Gaia mission, which revealed first data in 2016. We downloaded the data, opened it in excel and wondered, why there are no x-y-z coordinates? After some research, we noticed we have to transpose the data. Longitude (l), Latitude (b), Parallax, geometry, we had to remember the good old school days, learn something new and voilà, after several hours we were able to calculate our x,y,z.
Distance = d=1/Parallax
X = d*cos(b)*cos(l)
Y = d*cos(b)*sin(l)
Z = d*sin(b)
What do we see here? After some research and a phone call with a professor of the University of Astrophysics in Potsdam, our guess became true, it´s only a fraction of the whole. That fraction is pretty good measured, but again, the forest for the trees. With that knowledge, we found visualizations of the Gaia data and we became sure, we need more data to design the Milky Way.
So we looked up more data. We found different infrared data, stellar density data, data catalogues like tgas and hyparcos, pictures, photos and we built the first prototype. It looked good, but not awesome. Every dot had the same size and the arms were hard to mention.
We hired Ronald and his company “BASIS KG” from Vienna, Austria and together we took our images, datasets and 3D models to create the second prototype.
„First, we concentrated on the stars in the arms and made them more visible and highlighted. After that, we selected the data from the bright star clusters and gave them more volume by adding stars. Next was to bring the stardust and all the asteroids into the Sphere and we decided to phase them out from the center to the edge“
After several hours of work we finally got the result and were so impressed, that we instantly ordered our prototypes…This is the first footage of our new Sphere, but we might improve it and its production during the two month of our campaign.
100.000 € – The Milky Way in a pocket cube At 100.000 € we want to add the option for tiny glass cubes containing the Milky Way, that cost only several euro.
200.000 € – The big sphere At 200.000 € we want to add the big 15 cm sphere, which still needs more development
306.970 € – Designed product packing
At 306.970 €, the finish line of our previous campaign, we wan´t to hire a company for professional packing, so the bases and spheres fit inside one designed box.
How is it made?
To show the laser etching process, we made a video of a cube, because it is better to see.
Risiken und Herausforderungen
Like in the past campaigns, it´s still necessary for us to produce a larger amount of spheres, to lower the production costs and make it affordable for many people. We have learned, that there will always be costs you can´t predict and we were really happy, that the initial campaign was such a huge success.
We also had some trouble with our shipping service provider, who messed up 3000 tracking codes, falsely rejected 200 packages because of the batteries. At the end, we delivered all these Spheres, but this cost us quite some time and nerves. Nonetheless, we are more than confident, that we will also overcome any future hurdles.
Together, we successfully finished two big campaigns on Kickstarter, but we are still only two brothers, who are in the progress of building their company. Therefore, it happened from time to time, that we had delays in answering mails.