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Thread: Trips to the Galactic Limits

  1. #1

    Trips to the Galactic Limits

    It all started back in May when I took a trip across the Formidine Rift and checked out the restricted Bovomit sector. Didn't really expect to find anything unusual (so wasn't disappointed!) and having completed that survey I thought "I'm not really far away, so let's see how far south I can get". That little thought turned into something of an obsession

    Here's a map of my first galactic limits journey:

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    The trip started on May 8th. After a brief stop at NGC 7822 to see if there was anything itneresting high above or deep below it, I headed straight out via the Heart Nebula and crossed the Formidine Rift (point A on the map) without great difficulty. On the far side I came uncomfortably close to death when I visited Phae Phlai AA-A H0. This turned out to be a 83 Solar mass Herbig Ae/Be star in close orbit with a 12 Solar mass black hole and both in nearly as close an orbit with a rather hot 32 Solar mass class O star. I dropped into the system between the protostar and the class O with the black hole close by too. My temperature rose rapidly and the combined gravity well meant it took ages to accelerate away with fires breaking out in my Anaconda's cockpit. It ended up taking over a minute before I could escape which resulted in significant module damage but luckily none to the hull. That black hole remains available if anyone wants to tag it as I couldn't get remotely close enough again to scan it - bring heatsinks! In the image, you can see the Herbig Ae/Be star dwarfed by the O star even though the former is closer:

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    After repairs, I continued on and circumnavigated the Bovomit sector (point B). What's in there is anyone's guess for now...

    I was now in "let's see how far south I can get mode". Making my way back to directly south of Sol, I started searching for the southern most system. I got to 15,622 LY south around 2,000 east of the centre line. But then I made a strange discovery on the galaxy map. Another 10,000 LY east there is a dense bubble of stars where it would be possible to get to over 16,000 LY south. Reaching the bubble turned out to harder than I had thought and even in my Anaconda with a 41.1 LY max jump there was just a narrow bridge connecting it to the rest of the outer arm and manual route plotting was required. Having got there I searched for the furthest south system and eventually found (point C on the map):

    Lyed KX-A C27-0 at 16,521 LY south of Sol

    I have named this Shackleton's Star in honour of the Antarctic explorer. With what is probably horrible Latin, I named the bubble of stars Exteriores Australis.

    Continuing along the outer arm, I started searching for the furthest system from the centre of the galaxy as it became apparent that this arm extended out further than the rest. Reaching point D, the furthest I could get to was:

    Angosk DL-P D5-0 at 45,058 LY from Sagittarius A*

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    After a long and uneventful slog back along the outer arm I crossed the Formidine Rift again, discovering the cluster of class B stars, NGC 1893 which really stands out given how few stars there are in the Rift. We'll have to wait for a slightly greater jump range to visit it though.

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    With a bit of a detour to check out a planetary nebula, I returned home on May 28th.

    Trip stats:
    - 21 days
    - ~ 100,000 LY
    - 5,951 systems
    - 33 ELWs
    - 69 million credits profit

    But that's only the start. Links to the rest below:

    Part 2a (west)

    Part 2b (north)

    Part 2c (down & up)

    Part 2d (east)

  2. #2
    An epic tale Allitnil - Thanks for posting, I can't wait for part 2.

  3. #3
    Once again my gast is well and truly flabbered! I wish I cold focus on a reason to explore!
    CMDR ROBBO6 : Sidewinder "Journey's Dawn", Cobra MkIII "Charon's Tribute", Vulture "Mjölnir", Asp Explorer "Iridium", Python "Dragon's Wrath".
    Competent : Merchant : ELITE
    Carved upon my stone, My body lie but still I roam

  4. #4
    Great respect for you Allitnil, I was out that way about 6 weeks ago but got really frustrated by the lack of star groups I started to feel stranded so turned for home and I didn't even get as far as your 'A'

  5. #5
    I've been out that way in my Cobra. Those extra 14ly of jump range let you get a *lot* further out before you run out of stars. I had to give up less than 35kly from Sag A*

  6. #6
    Great journey, Cmdr. Heatsinks do seem to come in handy in extreme rare cases
    Fly dangerous, CMDR Macros Black

  7. #7
    Part 2 - The Rest

    Having 'done' South and Furthest from Sagittarius A*, my sights were now set on North, East, West, Up, Down and Furthest from Sol. The question was how many trips to take. The answer: Just the one . But for the purposes of posting I'm going to split it into a few legs so....

    Part 2a - West

    First order of the day was to consider my Anaconda's loadout. This is what I had used for the southern trip. It's a fairly standard long range Anaconda. The only way to extend the maximal range would be to switch to a 2D power plant which is certainly possible but the Conda is already prone to damage from close binaries so not really a good idea to worsen the heat profile. It would only gain 0.02 LY anyway. Of course, I could drop the detailed surface scanner as it's still possible to get first discovered tags without it by just basic scanning. That would gain 0.1 LY but it just didn't feel right. With the advent of update 1.3 there is more flexibility with the fuel tanks. The standard 32T tank gives 4 jumps which is plenty enough, but 16T would make it a bit too easy to get stranded with little hope of even the most adventurous Fuel Rat making a rescue mission! 16T plus a secondary 8T tank is, however, a reasonable compromise and that's what I chose to go with. It doesn't alter the maximum jump range which is still 41.17 LY, but it does increase the range that the navcomp will use from 39.40 to 39.97 LY. Crucially that's what the navcomp spider-web uses and it does make things easier out on the rims.

    Anyway, on with the actual journey!

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    Before setting off I examined the galaxy map and came to the conclusion that point E would be the best place to look. On June 12th I set forth on the ~42K LY trip there, encountering nothing of particular note. Arriving at this first destination late on the 16th I found a system 38.3K LY west of Sol around 18K LY north of it (point E). I had been thinking of heading from here to the core to look for the Up and Down records but decided to double check on the galaxy map first. Good job I did that as I realised I hadn't looked far enough north and that it should be possible to get somewhat further west . That would require travelling twice as far north. First issue: how to get there. It looked like it would be just about possible to travel directly north but it would require several thousand LY of manual route plotting with there always being the possibility that I would have to head for denser areas anyway. The alternative would be a lot longer in distance but more reliable time wise. Being risk adverse I took the latter route and, as you'll see, it ended up having some benefits

    Late on the 19th I had got to my jump off point for crossing the gap to the outer arm and started across - it was still going to be necessary to do a couple of thousand LY of manual routing. That done, the exploring Gods were smiling on me since on reaching the other side I came across this little beauty (point F):

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    Not only was it a planetary nebula with few other stars nearby to distract from it, but there was one star only about 3 LY away which gave a great external view. I've been to a lot of planetary nebulae, but that's the first time I've managed to experience that combination.

    Progressing to the outer edge I had just passed 40K LY west of Sol when I found my second ringed ELW:

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    I also found a new record for the coldest water world not far away.

    There's quite a large potential area of search here so it's far from certain whether I got as far West as I could but this is what I ended up reaching on June 21st (point G):

    Phraa Groa MG-F C14-0 at 40,544 LY West of Sol


    Part 2b will feature the furthest north and the furthest from Sol. In addition there was a bonus encounter...

  8. #8
    Cool.
    I have been hanging around at your point A on the map for quite some time, and I have only come across a few tagged systems. Is your CMDR name Allitnil or something else?

  9. #9
    Yes, Allitnil is also my CMDR name. On these trips I was really only scanning when I either visited interesting stars or got to the areas where I was searching for the 'furthest' systems so you aren't likely to randomly run across my name along the route.

  10. #10
    Oh wow. I read part one this morning and really appreciate your tack on exploration style.

    I look forward to reading pt. 2 here in a bit (I'm out exploring myself at the moment on that arm that looks like it ends at around 3 o'clock) Actually found myself in this end of the woods via a Fuel Rats request that had me "closest" at 16,800 ly. Anyway, I figure I'd follow this spiral out so long as my ship holds up.

    Thanks again for sharing. Great reading!

  11. #11
    Part 2b - North and Furthest from Sol

    I think it says something about we CMDRs that the furthest reachable part of the galaxy is heavily explored whilst most of the other extremities are ignored! The earliest visitors were CMDRs Kamzel (Erimus) and ATT in their Asps but others followed including myself in my little Cobra. Distance records had been set by Erimus at 65,279 LY from Sol and ATT improved that to 65,292 LY. That record stood for a long time until CMDR Svenno conducted his Quest for the Loneliest Planet when he reported having reached 65,368 LY in his Anaconda. Sadly Svenno has not been heard of since April and his name does not appear on any of the systems he found.

    Svenno's log and disappearance left me with a bit of a conundrum. I was obviously familiar with his journey and I knew of many of the systems he visited. It would be wrong for me to directly use that knowledge but part of my goal was to try and beat his distance records so I couldn't totally ignore it either. I settled for just recording the distances to beat and ignoring the system names (luckily names like Ceeckia XY-Z A1-2 aren't exactly memorable!). I also knew I would end up tagging a lot of systems that in some ways were rightfully his, but ultimately that's part of the game and as long as I found them independently I wasn't going to worry too much about it.

    Anyway, on to the details:

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    I proceeded north roughly following the outer edge of the Scutum-Centaurus arm although not so far out that I couldn't use the route plotter. Before long I reached the area where Svenno started the main part of his quest, but he had been operating some way further out so I wasn't going to be tripping over any of his systems at this point.

    This part of the outer edge of the galaxy has a greater density of systems than the rest so it was a good place to look for "furthest from Sagittarius A*" records for less common stars and this is where I found Black Hole, Neutron Star and Class O stars over 41,000 LY from the galactic core.

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    Galactic core lensed by a black hole near the edge of the galaxy


    Continuing on I made a detour to the Thueche AA-A H16 nebula (point H) which at almost 55,000 LY from Sol may be the most distant one. It was well explored already! Good for a moody selfie though:

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    Next step was to look for the furthest reachable White Dwarf from Sagittarius A* & Sol. WDs should be one of the most common star types in the galaxy but in the ED version they are comparatively rare and away from local space & the galactic core they seem to almost exclusively occur around 1000 LY or so below the galactic plane. It therefore requires an area with a reasonable density of stars to reach them. I had spotted plenty on my southern trip but it would have taken a massively greater jump range to get even close to them. The Scutum-Centaurus arm is a much better prospect and in the end I reached one not too far from its northern most extremity, just under 33,500 LY from Sag A*.

    Now it was time to head for the northern rim as quickly as possible because I had a date with two other CMDRs . Barefoot Bandit (Zeeman) and Stulli had been there for a while and we had talked about have a meet up over 65,000 LY from home. After a fairly straightforward crossing of The Abyss (*) that separates the Scutum-Centaurus arm with the extremeties of the Carina-Sagittarius arm I reached 65K on June 28th and we managed to meet up in the previously unexplored Ceeckia BY-F D12-1 system which is 65,278 LY from Sol (point I). Full details here.

    * - Erimus named the gap "The Abyss" as it proved impossible to cross in his Asp and required a lengthy detour to navigate around it. Svenno proved that a stripped down Anaconda can make it even very close to the end of the Carina-Sagittarius arm, albeit with difficulty. I crossed a bit further east than he did and it only required about 1,000 LY of manual routing.

    After leaving the other two, I commenced surveying the northenmost rim. Apart from the main "furthest north" and "furthest from Sol" records, there were also a lot of "furthest star / planet type from Sol" records to shoot for. The question in my mind was how many could I get given that Svenno had the same maximum jump range as me. And although I didn't know it at the time, CMDR Marlon Blake had also been there in his Conda not long before me.

    Proceeding towards the end of the arm, I eventually managed to achieve my main goal and on June 29th set a new record for furthest from Sol:

    Myeia Thaa JI-B D13-0 at 65,373.72 LY from Sol (point J)

    As an added bonus it has a terraformable water world! Not much land but I'm sure that can be arranged by anyone who really wants a home away from the crowds



    Two days later I found my "furthest north" system:

    Ceeckia PE-E D13-0 at 65,364 LY north of Sol (point K)

    It's close to the E-W axis zero line (only 130 LY away) so I was able to take a measurement to a system I had visited on my southern trip that is even closer to the E-W zero line. The resultant figue of 80,665.23 LY gives a good approximation of the diameter of the reachable galaxy along this line:

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    In the end I managed to beat all of the previous "furthest from Sol" records apart from two which Svenno had previously set: furthest earth like and furthest terraformable rocky planet. I would have dearly loved to get the furthest ELW but it's probably fitting that Svenno's name stays on that one in recognition of his adventure. If he ever does return home he's still got the chance to get his name on that planet as although I independently found the system, when I checked the distance to Sol I realised it was his record and chose not to scan the ELW.


    Next part will see me head corewards to see how far "up" and "down" I could get.

  12. #12
    Found one of yours by the Heart Nebula!
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    There are still unclaimed systems around here.. I just got myself a gas giant with water based life on it! That's almost as good as a Water World

  13. #13
    Ziggy Stardust is offline
    This user was unable to follow the forum rules and ended up banned or suspended! :(
    Ziggy Stardust's Avatar
    Sweet mother of some holy thing, that is quite the epic exploration.
    Sits like a man, smiles like a reptile
    CMDR Alad Insane - Exploratory Plonker - Boldy faffing where no man has faffed before

  14. #14
    Part 2c - Down and Up

    Out on the galactic rims, the star density initially drops off rapidly but the diminishing then slows. This means that it's possible to get out quite a bit further out than might at first seem apparent. It also means that there are plenty of stars tantalisingly just out of reach - a situation that's unlikely to change even if we get much higher jump range ships. The area of search isn't all that big, typically about 2-3,000 LY in length and no more than 200 LY in height. Above and below the galactic plane, however, things are rather different. After a general reduction in density there is a much harder cut-off outside of which there are hardly any stars at all. And the area of search is huge, an exhaustive search would likely need to cover at least a 2,000 LY radius. That's a lot of space to cover!

    There's one other difference of note between searching for the "furthest" system out on the rims and at the core. In the rims, the primary tool for plotting routes is the spider-web of navigational lines. Whilst this can't say for certain that you cannot reach a particular star (ie if you need to make a jump with reduced fuel), it quickly shows you that you definitely can. And it will generally do so for any system within about 140 LY of your current position even if the actual jumps required to get there would be very much longer. Thank to some "optimisations" this just isn't possible at the core as the spider-web only goes out to about 12 LY or so making it totally useless. Searching here requires a completely manual approach.


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    Turning south on July 2nd, day 22 of the journey, I headed more or less straight for the core and found this rather turbulent gas giant on the 4th:

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    It had ammonia life and I wasn't sure if I was just seeing the local weather or it was a defence mechanism so I ran away!

    Next stop was the Dryiquae AA-A H32 nebula where I almost made a fatal mistake. Not taking enough note of my route, my second last jump took me to a neutron star and I then did the final jump only to realise that the destination was also a NS. With not many other stars nearby. Not good with just a 3 jump fuel tank as there was not enough fuel left to retrace my steps. I doubt even the best of the Fuel Rats would be prepared to travel that far to help either! After a brief moment of panic and "what have I done?!?" I did find a K star within range. A good reminder of the need to pay attention at all times! As for the nebula, it had already been well explored.

    A few hours were spent on July 6th looking for some carbon stars to fill the vacant "furthest from Sol" records. Plenty of S, MS and C-N examples but not a sniff of either a C or C-J. But making up for that, I did stumble across this beautiful ringed ammonia world, I just wish I had remembered to write down the system name (similarly lax note takers are advised to check out https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=170261)



    On the outer fringes of the core I came across several planetary nebula, finding 15 over a two day period. I took the opportunity for some close up external views:



    Two of them were only about 60 LY apart with one visible from inside the other:

    Attachment 52603
    (if it's not obvious, the second is above and a little to the left of centre of the gas giant)


    On July 8th I reached the core and started looking for the furthest down system. One of the earliest candidates I found was a black hole system at 2,896 LY below Sol which afforded some unusual views thanks to the lensing!



    Late on the 8th I found my furthest down system:

    Schao Pri WP-X E1-8 at 2,905 LY below Sol

    It's a lone (and probably lonely ) neutron star.

    I spent the whole of the 9th battling with the route plotter as I made my way up to the top of the galaxy. Unfortunately it was such a pain that I decided not to bother revisiting Sag A* itself and the next day I set about finding the highest system ending up with:

    Quemie MR-W E1-8 at 2,854 LY above Sol

    There are some really interesting systems close to the top but this one turned out to be a rather boring T-Tauri binary without any planets or even asteroid rings.

    I tried manually editing the graphics settings files to see if I could force a really high field of view value to get in the whole core but it didn't seem possible and all I ended up with was a fish-eye perspective without a huge deal of extra visibility:



    By now signs of space madness were definitely setting in:



    I seriously considered heading straight home at this point and leave the Eastern rim for a later time but I wasn't sure if I would ever get round to it so decided to press on, but that's for the next & final part.

  15. #15
    That is one hell of a Sunday Drive! Love some of the pictures you got from settings hacking!

    Decided which planet you're going to buy after you sell the data?
    <b>CMDR Marlon Blake</b>
    CMDR Marlon Blake: Expeditions include The 145 million credit Expedition, The 65,340Ly Destination and The 35 Ship Expedition
    CMDR Froggit Blake: Footpad for hire!

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