Glass orb packs all the constellations in the night sky into fan - WBCB: The Valley's CW |

Glass orb packs all the constellations in the night sky into fancy desk ornament

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By Luke Dormehl


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Have you ever wanted to know more about the star constellations we can see from Earth? A stunning new Kickstarter campaign, taking the form of a fancy desk ornament and associated card game, aims to help.

In 2016, designer Clemens Steffin launched his “Universe in a Sphere” project on Kickstarter, creating a glass orb containing 380,000 perfectly lasered dots, each one representing an entire galaxy. His next project aimed to re-create just our very own galaxy, the Milky Way, with every dot representing its own sun. Now he’s moved onto re-creating the night sky as viewed from Earth — with the goal of helping us learn the 88 star constellations.

“Many of us tried to learn [these] when they were younger, but most stuck with three or four in the best case,” Steffin told Digital Trends. “Who doesn’t want to shine with knowledge about Arcturus, Aldebaran, Prokyon or Deneb Kaitos? These sound like Harry Potter spells. When my wife and I visited a planetarium, we got to know Dr. Susanne Hoffmann. She is an astroscientist, who specializes in the naming and connecting the star constellations. She was so inspired by our idea that she instantly agreed to design the constellations for us.”

star constellation orb kickstarter sphere photo

The resulting orb contains 5,068 stars divided up into their unique constellations. With a light built into the base of the sphere, you can see these stars divided up into their different constellations, stretching like silvery spiderwebs across the sky.

For the first time, Steffin has also created a card game which will accompany the sphere for an added dose of education. This functions along the lines of the card game Top Trumps, with each containing a different constellation. These are divided into categories such as “brightness,” “distance to Earth,” “area” and more. Players can compete against one another, while also identifying the constellations on the night sky sphere.

As ever, we offer our usual warnings about the potential risks inherent in Kickstarter campaigns — although, by now, Steffin is something of a veteran of the crowdfunding platform, which hopefully bodes well for this shipping on time and as described. A constellation sphere, complete with the full deck of 88 cards, will set you back 89 euros ($100). Cheaper options are also available containing only the cards or sphere. Shipping is set to take place in March 2019.


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