A 3D model of the Milky Way,
with the Solar System positioned
in the exact center of the glass cube.
Small lot production.

Price: 80,000 JPY

Price in Japanese yen. Check values in local currency
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title image

Beyond our solar system

The Milky Way galaxy suspended in a glass cube

Behold: a galaxy suspended in a glass cube.

A laser was used to etch around 80,000 of the stars in the Milky Way, using three-dimensional data from the Japan’s National Astronomical Observatory.


Production of the cube was motivated by the urge to see a galaxy in three dimensions. In encyclopedias and such, galaxies can only be viewed in two: we wanted to do so from all directions. Even the Magellan Cloud, comparatively close to us, is outside this cube. Space can be sparsely filled, one could say…or rather, there are great extremes in density.

The first cube was produced for the “Window” exhibition at Mashiko/Starnet in 2005.

Due to government stipulations governing the use of observatory data, we were unable to release the cube for commercial sale immediately, however thanks to the tireless efforts of all those involved, it can at last be offered for sale.


The reason the galaxy is positioned slightly to one side is that the Solar System (in other words, Earth) has been placed in the exact center. This is where the title “Beyond our solar system” originates.

Nobody has ever seen our galaxy from outside like this. And it is unlikely that mankind will reach anywhere with this sort of view for a very long time.

The same could once be said for Earth. Nobody had seen the overall view of our planet from outside. The first view of the Earth by humans from space was apparently via footage shot from an unmanned V2 rocket in 1946.

In any case, it was about 60 years ago. However world maps depicting the whole of the planet have been around for centuries. This for example is a map of the world drawn in France in 1760. Note the parts here and there where unfortunately they didn’t get it quite right…


MAPPE MONDE Joseph Delisle“The Image of the World”

A world map in which imagination makes up for what experience and measurements fail to reveal.

In fact the three-dimensional data for the galaxy is apparently of a similar accuracy to world maps from the Age of Exploration. No one knows it all. There is a gas cloud at the center of the galaxy, and even using technology such as radio telescopes, we are still unable to build an accurate picture of what lies on the other side.

All the star data obtainable using the latest observation apparatus, and theoretical calculations by computer. Add some imagination to fill in the missing parts, and you have the maps of our galaxy that researchers around the world draw and compare among themselves. When it comes to galaxies, this is as far as mankind has come.

“Beyond the solar system” was built using data from a project dubbed 4D2U. The galactic data for 4D2U was produced by Eiichiro Kokubo, Assistant Professor in the Division of Theoretical Astronomy at the National Astronomical Observatory, and Kato Tsunehiko, now at Osaka University, based on the latest results of theoretical simulations.

This data is acknowledged internationally as some of the best-quality galactic data currently available.


Next we have the 42cmΦ black velvet cloth on which the cube stands. Light refracts to create three-dimensional reflections. The galaxy is laid out so that the tabletop aligns with the ecliptic and horizon.

We usually see this galaxy from the inside, as the “Milky Way”. In it are the Sun, the Earth, and us.
Our world has a center. Outside it extends all this space.


Beyond our solar system
Milky Way galaxy 3D model

Glass cube W:120×D:120×H:120mm (about 100,000 light-year length)
weight 5.3kg
Black velvet cloth
Original data: NINS, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan 4D2U Project
Eiichiro Kokubo, Kato Tsunehiko (→Mitaka++)
Data designing: Yukio Ando (exa)
Cooperation: Mariko Takahashi
Laser marking: L-TEC Inc.

Price: 80,000 JPY …SOLD OUT

All prices in Japanese yen.
Please use your favorite currency conversion website to check values in local currency.
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Living World Inc.
Fax: +81-3-6369-4720
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