Kami no Kousakujo

You can now send your fam the Universe with an envelope of constellations

Nothing says "I love you" like science.

FIONA MACDONALD
17 JUN 2016
 

Ever wanted to give your loved one the entire sky, but couldn't quite say it with flowers? Well, now you can send them stars in the mail, with this envelope full of constellations.

Developed by Japanese paper company Kami no Kousakujo, all you have to do is slice open the envelope and hold it up to a light source to view an astronomically correct group of stars of your choice. I honestly can't think of anything lovelier to receive in the mail.

 

You can buy one of these enevelopes from the Kamigu webstore for around US$10 + shipping (or buy a pack of five for eight times as much on the US-based Japan Trend Store). With most of the details about the envelopes being in Japanese, we can't tell you too much more about them, aside from this charming description:

"Send a sky full of stars to someone who has little chance to see them. Give a small gift of soothing nature."

And they've got a point. Although humans spend millennia orienting themselves using the stars, one-third of us can no longer see the Milky Way due to light pollution - so this is a pretty nice thing to do for any space-lovers in your life.

Not only that, but knowing your constellations is still a pretty handy life skill - the US navy has even started teaching celestial navigation to its recruits again to help them find their way in the case of a cyber attack or if their GPS has been hacked.

So what is a constellation? In an astronomical sense, the term doesn't really mean too much - it's a group of stars we can see in the night sky that form a recognisable pattern, it doesn't necessarily mean the stars are associated with each other in any way.

While we recognise constellations by their familiar patterns (hello, Orion), the International Astronomical Union - you know, the guys that decided Pluto was no longer a planet - define the 88 official constellations based on their sky coordinate boundaries, just in case any stars die and mess with the picture we see in the sky.

 

And even though these constellations won't look the same when humans venture off our planet, we're going to need to rely on star maps to find our way, just like the earliest navigators did, which is pretty lovely, when you think about it. 

So let's get a head-start on that by familiarising ourselves with the stars we can see from Earth once more, even if it's only on paper.

If you're an extra dedicated friend, you can even send a letter inside your constellation-filled envelope. Because, after all, what fun are the stars when you don't have anyone to share them with?

Update 30 June 2016: An earlier version of this article said that you could buy a pack of five constellation envelopes from the Kamigu webstore. They actually only sell individual envelopes for the US$10 price tag. We've corrected this error in the story.

hoshi-zora-star-filled-envelope-2Kami no Kousakujo

H/T: Gizmodo

More From ScienceAlert

Earth's days are getting 2 milliseconds longer every 100 years

But there still aren't enough hours in the day.

10 hours ago
Google says it will be running solely on renewable energy by 2017

Your web search is about to get carbon-neutral.

8 hours ago