12 Space-Related Products for Astronomy Lovers

LEGO/The Unemployed Philosophers Guild/Amazon
LEGO/The Unemployed Philosophers Guild/Amazon

Have a few friends who are always looking up at the sky? Here are some gift ideas that celebrate the celestial bodies they know and love.

1. Moon Light Ball; $12

The whole moon can be lassoed out of space and brought near you. Give this 4-inch lunar light to anyone who needs a little illumination on their desk or in their closet.

Buy It: Amazon

2. Saturn Crystal Puzzle; $11

Take puzzles to another dimension with a 3D crystal model of Saturn. The jigsaw is made of 39 interlocking pieces that come together to form the shape of the ringed planet.

Buy It: Amazon

3. Glow in the Dark Constellation Map; $25

Skip the travel poster and go for something really out of this world. With the lights on, this nearly 29-inch poster shows the stars and constellations of the Northern Hemisphere. When you flip off the lights, the lines fade and the stars and Milky Way shine vibrantly.

Buy It: Amazon

4. Chart of Space Exploration; $40

This all-inclusive map from Pop Chart details the history of cosmic exploration by highlighting every orbiter, lander, rover, flyby, and impactor to ever enter space. In total, the chart features 100 exploratory instruments.

Buy It: Amazon

5. Ceramic Constellation Mugs; $16

The Unemployed Philosophers Guild Heat Changing Constellation Mug
The Unemployed Philosophers Guild/Amazon

At first glance, this ceramic mug looks like a simple sketch of the night sky. But fill it up with a hot beverage and watch constellations like Cassiopeia, Perseus, Sagittarius, Andromeda, and more come to life in an array of colors. Alongside being microwave-safe, this mug allows anyone to go stargazing no matter the time of day.

Buy It: Amazon

6. Space Plates; $40

A great addition to any space-themed kitchen, the melamine plates feature watercolor designs of the eight planets (Sorry, Pluto!) that will make any entrée seem otherworldly.

Buy It: Amazon

7. NASA Lunch tin; $20

Best gifts for space geeks.
The Coop/Amazon

Just because you can’t travel to space doesn’t mean you still can’t feel like an astronaut. This NASA-approved lunchbox is modeled on the canisters used during the Apollo missions to transport film reels from the command module back to Houston. It comes with three stackable tins, which hold up to three cups of food, and a foldable handle for easy storage. It's the easiest way to bring some NASA charm to your office kitchen.

Buy It: Amazon

8. Finders Keepers Shirt; $20


BustedTees/Amazon

Here's a humorous shirt for patriotic friends and family. It features an astronaut on the moon with the triumphant words, "FINDERS KEEPERS." Obnoxious? Maybe. Funny? Always.

Buy It: Amazon

9. Virtual Reality Planetarium; $50

Give your loved one the gift of a planetarium that they can hold in their hands. The device has eight different modes and three hours of educational audio and is compatible with images of 150 different celestial objects, all taken by the Hubble Telescope.

Buy It: Amazon

10. Earth and Space: Photographs from the Archives of NASA; $28

Earth and Space: Photographs from the Archives of NASA
Chronicle Books/Amazon

With a preface written by Bill Nye the Science Guy, this book is perfect for any astronomy, science, and photography fan. Full of breathtaking photos from NASA’s archives, Earth and Space allows you to explore stars, the Jellyfish Nebula, Pandora's Cluster, and more from the comfort of your couch.

Buy It: Amazon

11. Solar System Bubble Bib Necklace; $55

Solar System necklace.
UncommonGoods

Scientists may have said that Pluto is no longer a planet, but this bib-style necklace featuring the planets in our solar system (along with the Sun) says otherwise. Handmade and full of color, this piece of jewelry allows you to carry the solar system around no matter where you go.

Buy It: UncommonGoods

12. LEGO Women of NASA; $25

LEGO Women of NASA Set.
LEGO/Amazon

Not only does this LEGO set include minifigures of Nancy Grace Roman (with the Hubble Space Telescope), Margaret Hamilton, Sally Ride, and Mae Jemison (with the Challenger), but it also comes with a booklet to educate users on these four pioneering women who helped make NASA what it is today. At 231 pieces, it's not too overbearing of a build, but it might be the most enlightening. 

Buy It: Amazon

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

15 Cool and Unusual Candles You Can Buy Right Now

PyroPet
PyroPet

Candles are a great way to add some ambiance to any room—especially when that candle smells like pancakes. The next time you're planning a special evening, with yourself or someone else, consider these options.

1. Avocado-Shaped Candles

Two avocado candles
Echaprey / Amazon

Your favorite fruit can now be your favorite candle, too. These surprisingly lifelike avocado-shaped candles make the perfect decoration. We can't guarantee that they smell like fresh avocados, though.

Buy it on Amazon for $15 for two.

2. 60-Hour Coiled Candles

A candle with coiled wax
Candle by the Hour, Amazon

This long-lasting candle features a coiled design that promises 60 hours of burn time—20 minutes for every inch of wax. Simply pull the candle through the clip to burn more. The candle self-extinguishes when it burns down to the clip, allowing you to use it as a timer. It comes in vertical and horizontal coil designs, and can be refilled when you reach the end.

Buy it on Amazon or The Grommet starting at $22.

3. Skunk- and B.O.-Scented Candles

An array of candle tins
Stinky Candle Co.

If fresh pine isn’t your thing, may we suggest nacho cheese? The Stinky Candle Company specializes in candles boasting unorthodox odors. Choose from off-putting scents like onion, potting soil, and body odor, or go for some more delightful scents, like clean puppy and pizza. While we don’t recommend the fart or skunk candles, the money candle definitely has some potential.

Buy it on Amazon for $12.

4. Book-Scented Candles

Perfect for curling up with a good book, these candle scents were inspired by classic literature. Pick from “Sherlock’s Study,” “Oxford Library,” or “Halfling Hills,” or channel the smell of your favorite collection with scents like “Old Books” and “Reading at the Cafe.”

Buy it on Amazon for $22.

5. PyroPet Candles

PyroPet Candles
PyroPet

These geometric cat candles—first featured on Kickstarter in 2013—hold a (slightly morbid) surprise inside. Once lit, a skeleton cat emerges, which almost makes you feel bad for setting it on fire in the first place. If the cat's not your style, the candle also comes in the form of a bird, unicorn, deer, and more.

Buy it on Amazon or The Grommet for $34.

6. Roman Candles

Fred Roman Candles
Fred, Amazon

The packaging on these punny Roman-numeral-shaped candles from Fred promises they'll help you party like it's MCMXCIX.

Buy it on Amazon for $10.

7. Cactus-Shaped Candles


ornerx, Amazon

These realistic cacti candles might fool your friends—until you light them. The wax candles come in sets of six.

Buy it on Amazon for $10.

8. Homesick Candles

Homesick candles
Uncommon Goods

Smell is connected to memory, so if you’re missing home, you’ll want to burn one of these candles. The scents of these hand-poured, soy wax candles were created with the input of locals from every state. All states are available.

Buy it on Uncommon Goods for $30. 

9. Candles With Plantable Packaging

A candle next to two boxes of plantable packaging
Uncommon Goods

These candles smell like a blooming garden filled with poppies and sunflowers. If the floral candles make you long for the real deal, simply soak the seed-infused boxes in water and plant them in the ground.

Buy it on Uncommon Goods for $28.

10. Chocolate Egg Cream-Scented Candles


Katz's Deli, Amazon

Alongside excellent food, did you know Katz’s Deli sells a scented candle, too? Made in New York City, these wax creations evoke the restaurant’s famous chocolate egg creams. Light one and be transported to the Lower East Side, no matter how far away you actually are.

Buy it on Amazon for $25 plus shipping.

11. Crackling Fire Candles

A lit candle next to two sticks of cinnamon
Uncommon Goods

The next best thing to a real fireplace? These candles, which boast wooden wicks that crackle as though you'd thrown another log on the pile. Inspired by the poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas," the candle smells like vanilla, cinnamon, and clove—the scents of a long winter's nap, according to the creators.

Buy it on Uncommon Goods for $30.

12. Edible Candles

These birthday candles are designed to both adorn your dessert and be your dessert. Available in dark or milk chocolate and five different designs, Let Them Eat Candles feature a wick that you can remove after the singing ends, allowing you to eat the delicious chocolate sticks.

Buy it on The Grommet for $12 for three.

13. Terrarium Candles

Cactus and poppy terarium candles
Uncommon Goods

Hand-made by Canadian designer Zoe Tang, these terrarium candles contain incredibly detailed plants made out of wax. The candles come in two varieties: either jasmine-scented poppy on a white-tea-scented base or pine-scented cactus on a vanilla base. They’re so beautiful, you probably won’t even want to light them.

Buy it from Uncommon Goods for $25.

14. Hatching Dinosaur Candle

Dinosaur candle
Yazan-Molandi / Amazon

This is one candle you’ll be excited to finish. The egg-shaped candle melts down to reveal a delightful surprise—a tiny porcelain raptor.

Buy it from Amazon for $45.

15. Glacier-Shaped Candles

Icelandic designer Brynjar Sigurðarson's creations have a message behind them: Global warming can only be ignored for so long. Just like real ice, these wax designs melt when they get hot—and just like real glaciers, they're increasingly rare. Since their creation in 2015, they've sold out at most retailers, but you can still get them (albeit for a higher price) from Pamono.

Buy it from Pamono for $83.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

A version of this article first ran in 2015. It has been updated to reflect current availability.

This Rolling Smart Robot Will Keep Your Cat Company and Help It Exercise, Even When You’re Not Home

Ebo
Ebo

As any true ailurophile knows, cats love to sleep. On average, kitties spend anywhere from 16 to 20 hours of each day napping. But that laziness we often find so charming can sometimes lead to obesity, which can cause some pretty serious health problems for your feline friend. So how do you make sure your cat stays happy and healthy, even when you’re not home? That’s where Ebo comes (or rolls) in.

Ebo is a smart robot designed to keep your cat company and provide them with some much-needed stimulation, especially when you're not around. With more than $90,000 in pledges raised already, Ebo crushed its original $5110 Kickstarter goal, but you can still back the project here, with pledge tiers that start at $159 for a standard EBO and a smart collar that tracks your cat’s activity levels.

The Ebo itself, which is just over two inches tall, connects to Wi-Fi and features an app that allows you to schedule when you want it to start and stop playing with your cat.

When it’s playtime, the tiny robot scans the room to ensure there’s enough space to play safely. Once it makes sure the coast is clear, the robot moves on its own, utilizing an ergonomic design that enables it to wheel in any direction, spin, roll over, or even dance. You also don’t need to worry about keeping your cat’s robot friend charged. If your Ebo happens to be running low on battery, it rolls itself back to its charging station until it’s ready to go again.

According to the designers, Ebo interacts with cats in a way your feline friend understands—through a mix of sound, movement, and light that is always unpredictable. You can even play with your cat through the Ebo with its built-in laser.

The app also allows you to monitor your cat through video. And if they do something cute—as they always do—you can easily snap a photo or shoot a video, edit it, add fun filters, and then share it with others.

The device’s smart collar can be used for up to 30 days on a single charge. Should it get stuck, there’s a safety mode in which it will be released automatically to prevent accidental choking.

If you want an upgrade, there's the Ebo Pro (starting at $199), which features an AI algorithm that analyzes your cat’s mood and motion and adapts for future play.

No matter which Ebo you choose, they all come full of accessories, including decorative soldier, bamboo, onion, or feather caps. And if you order in time, you can snag a model decked out in a Santa hat.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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