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$6,475
pledged of $4,200pledged of $4,200 goal
140
backers
4days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Mon, November 18 2019 5:01 PM UTC +00:00.

BLACK HOLE

A true-to-scale replica of Earth's Schwarzschild Radius, the size at which Earth would become a black hole.

BLACK HOLE

A true-to-scale replica of Earth's Schwarzschild Radius, the size at which Earth would become a black hole.

$6,475
pledged of $4,200pledged of $4,200 goal
140
backers
4days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Mon, November 18 2019 5:01 PM UTC +00:00.

About

Have you ever wondered about the size of a black hole? This is a true-to-scale model of a black hole with a mass equal to planet Earth.

We love outerspace. But sometimes the concepts and scales of astrophysical objects can be difficult to wrap your head around. So in order to simplify one complex idea, we've created this tungsten sphere that is *exactly* the size of Earth's Schwarzschild Radius. Like a meter stick or a kilogram weight, this is a physical representation of an extremely precise measurement. It is a new tool for aiding in comprehension of the scale of black holes and it makes a great gift for any science enthusiast or physics student.

Physicist Brian Greene using our Schwarzschild Radius model as a teaching aide during his talk titled “The Nature of Space and Time” at CSICon 2019. Photo credit Ray Hall

The Science

If you compress any massive object into a smaller space, you'll increase the object's density and further warp the spacetime around the object. If you keep compressing it, it will eventually reach a size, called the Schwarzschild Radius, where it has become so dense that even photons of light cannot travel fast enough to escape the dramatic warping of space. You have now created a black hole.

If you compressed the entire Earth—mountains, oceans, and everything else that makes up our planet—into the volume of this 17.7 mm diameter ball (about ½ of a teaspoon) our world would become a black hole. 


It should be noted, for the sake of accuracy, that the Schwarzschild radius represents the event horizon of a black hole. The event horizon is not a physical surface, but a region of space in which all trajectories lead to the center of the black hole. To an outside observer, it is the only discernible feature and appears as the literal black hole since nothing within this sphere is visible. You can think of this as the point of no return since light, the fastest-moving particles in the universe, cannot escape the extreme warping of space, then it stands to reason that nothing else can either. According to current theories, black holes do not have a “surface” but a singularity, a point within the black hole with zero volume which contains all of the black hole’s mass. 

Simulated view of a black hole. Note that the singularity is a point in the center of the black hole with zero volume and infinite density. The gravitational lensing effect is caused by the extreme gravitational pull distorting light from background objects. Source: Alain Riazuelo CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://arxiv.org/abs/1511.06025)
The size of our replica is the most important parameter of this project. The mass of Earth is well-known and the associated Schwarzschild radius is easily calculated (see below). Our test run has proven we can achieve the diameter within a tolerance of ±0.3 mm.

Where 𝑅ₛ⊕ is the Schwarzschild radius of Earth, 𝐺 is the gravitational constant, 𝑀 is the mass of Earth, and 𝑐 is the speed of light.

Material

Our next priority after getting the diameter exactly right is to simulate the extreme density of a black hole as best we could. This is why we decided to make it out of tungsten—one of the densest elements in existence. Denser than uranium and almost twice as dense as lead, it still doesn't come close to the actual density of a black hole. Afterall, you'd need to squeeze the entire planet into the size of this ball—along with the ball itself. The tungsten sphere weighs 52.8 g or 1.86 oz.

So why not use a denser material? Put simply, the few known materials of greater density would be prohibitively expensive to use. For example, osmium, the densest-known metal also happens to be the rarest. So a sphere of osmium this size would easily cost thousands and would only weigh slightly more than tungsten. But tungsten's surprising weightiness effectively conveys how a black hole is massive enough to influence its surroundings.


All black holes will come with a stand. These are our basic stands, but we'll upgrade to a nicer, more luxurious stand if we reach our stretch goal. UPDATE: We've talked our manufacturer down to a lower price so we no longer need the stretch goal. All backers will get the upgraded stand!

Stretch Goals

UPDATE: We've talked our manufacturer down to a lower price so we no longer need the stretch goal. All backers will get this stand! 

We’ve already had prototypes made up using Multi Jet Fusion (MJF), the latest in 3D printing technology. Help us reach this goal so you can get a piece made with this awesome technology. A bonus effect of this printing method is it makes an incredibly matte black finish—fitting for a black hole project. As you can see, not enough light reflects off the stand for our camera to discern any detail.


UPDATE: We've talked our manufacturer down to a lower price so we no longer need the stretch goal. All backers will get this stand!
Upgraded stand prototype. Printed using Multi Jet Fusion for a matte black finish.

Our Team

We are science enthusiasts who run one of the only science stores in the world. We have the unique job of finding and creating effective educational items that are of such high quality that people actually want to own/use them. While working on this project, we met @physicsfun, a physics professor on Instagram who does a great job of using simple objects to demonstrate complex physics. He has overseen and confirmed all math and physics involved in this project. 



Why Are We Doing This? 

As mentioned above, we are always looking for innovative ways to communicate complex scientific concepts. Black holes, by their very nature, are perplexing and push the limits of known mathematics and physics. Holding a tangible, full-scale model not only helps us comprehend the enormous mass that makes up even the tiniest black holes, but it also provides a creative avenue to share this information. Put it in your friend's hand and amaze them with this fact: This is the exact size Earth would be if it collapsed into a black hole, or: This is the actual size of a black hole with the mass of Earth.

Plus, it makes a great gift for the hard-to-shop-for nerds in your life just in time for the holidays. 

Timeline

This project tentatively began in late August and was greenlit upon a successful prototype run of 50 units from our US-based tungsten manufacturer. We’ve already ordered more units to be created and designed custom packaging to be printed. These are currently being manufactured and are expected to take about 6 weeks. Once we receive these shipments, our small team will assemble the packaging and begin shipping out orders the same day from our warehouse in Tulsa, OK.

Timely delivery is our #1 priority. We are planning to have most orders shipped in December, hopefully in time for the holidays. As there are still several steps in this journey that could be delayed, please have patience if you do not receive your order in time for a holiday gift. 

For anyone who doesn’t necessarily need their order in time for the holidays, we are thanking you for your patience with a lower price. Our goal is to ship all orders in 2019, but we guarantee all “no-rush” orders will be shipped by early 2020 at the latest.

US recipients can expect to receive their orders within 3–5 days of shipping. For orders shipping to non-US addresses, please allow 2–3 weeks for delivery.


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Sharing

Share this campaign on social media and we’ll include a free black hole enamel pin with your order! (Sharing links at the top of the page)

More information as well as wholesale information coming soon to blackholeearth.com





Vsauce video used with permission: Travel INSIDE a Black Hole

Universe Sandbox² available at http://universesandbox.com/

Risks and challenges

The manufacturing process could encounter problems that might delay shipment; however, this is less likely since our test run was successful.
Orders shipping during the holiday season are always susceptible to delays.

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Environmental commitments

Visit our Environmental Resources Center to learn how Kickstarter encourages sustainable practices.

Sustainable fulfillment and distribution

We'll be using Tree-Nation to plant enough trees to ensure our project is delivered 100% carbon-neutral. Our forest will be viewable here: https://tree-nation.com/profile/the-stemcell-science-shop

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

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    Pledge US$ 36 or more About US$ 36

    ❮❮❮ NO RUSH ❯❯❯

    Don't mind waiting a bit longer? Time passes slower as you near a black hole...

    Your patience is rewarded with a discount and free US shipping.
    (International backers get discounted shipping.)

    Bonus: Share this campaign on social media to get a free black hole enamel pin!

    Includes:
    • Tungsten Black Hole Replica
    • Free US Shipping / Discounted Int'l Shipping
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    Pledge US$ 40 or more About US$ 40

    PRIMARY

    You are the mass that makes our black hole exist. Thank you.

    Bonus: Share this campaign on social media and we'll include a black hole enamel pin!

    Includes:
    • Tungsten Black Hole Replica
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    Pledge US$ 70 or more About US$ 70

    BINARY

    Two black holes to orbit each other.

    Bonus: Share this campaign on social media and we'll include a black hole enamel pin!

    Includes:
    • Tungsten Black Hole Replica
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    Pledge US$ 30 or more About US$ 30

    ❯❯❯ EARLY BIRD ❮❮❮

    You're standing at the event horizon...

    Leaping into the black hole before everyone else earns you a discount.

    Bonus: Share this campaign on social media and we'll include a black hole enamel pin!

    Includes:
    • Tungsten Black Hole Replica
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    Reward no longer available 42 backers
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