The codex screenshot for the The Dark Wheel - Which system is it?

You are not alone Old Duck :) I do exactly the same - sometimes near of the bubble and sometimes I just travel to some random sector far far far from HQ and scan everything near. I keep my eyes open and check visually sky map for interesting stars, stellar remnants and dark regions. I'm taking pause from DW search and just relax - this time at the end of the galaxy (Sol 27,000ly).
 
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Summary Thus Far

Hi all, OP here. Great work by everyone so far. There's some great nuggets in the preceding 7 pages, so let me try to summarize the research so far:

Thread Summary:

  • Station type confirmed as Orbis - Thanks to Jackie Silver and MrMarkusCZ for confirming the station in the screenshot is an Orbis variant. Aulin Enterprise looks like the exact same variant.
  • Possible star types: M, T Tauri, Ae/Be Herbig. Stellar temperature maybe from 1500K-2200K. Thanks to yelboc, Rexus, and MrMarkusCZ for their research and narrowing the search.
  • Disqualified star types: L, giants, supergiants - the corona sizes and colours don't match. Thanks to MrMarkusCZ.
  • Distance to star: Due to the possible star types and corona sizes, we believe the station is under 100 Ls to the star, maybe even under 50 Ls (or less!). Thanks to nicedevill for this.
  • Gas giant: There's consensus that it would be highly unusual for a gas giant to be this close to a star. I think one could argue the screenshot is inconsistent with the rumour about the The Dark Wheel orbiting the 8th moon of an unnamed gas giant.
Honourable mentions:
Exotic theories:
  • Elliptic orbit theory - Alexium67 points out that if the station is indeed orbiting the moon of a gas giant, it could be in an elliptic orbit that only rarely brings it this close to the star. Personally, I think this would discount the screenshot as a hint, and I still want to believe it's intended as a hint. (who knows though)
  • Permit locked system - The Dark Wheel could be in a permit locked system. Can we see star types for permit-locked systems and make a guess? Or to rule out some theories? (eg. Polaris)

New Information:

Star Colour
A couple of us noticed the Codex screenshot seems to have had the colour balance adjusted on it, as the colour of the red star doesn't match that in-game. (It could be in-game colour grading, or it could be some touchup on the screenshot after.) One lucky break is that the Orbis in the screenshot has red lights on it, which we can use to re-calibrate the red balance of the image against a known screenshot of an Orbis, to undo the colour grading and figure out the true colour of the star. The small red lights in the Codex screenshot are actually orange in the Orbis screenshot posted earlier in this thread, so I've tried to correct that. The simplest correction seems to be just desaturating the image by around 20%, which makes the lights look more orange instead, and is consistent with what an artist would have done to touch up the image a bit (boost the saturation).





I'm not an expert, and the new "lighting system" in-game which does realtime colour grading is definitely a wildcard here. A screenshot of an Orbis facing a class M star for comparison would probably be a more useful starting point, but make of it what you will.

Mechanism for Hiding The Dark Wheel
Based on everything we know, we're looking for an Orbis station hiding close to an orange star, maybe a T-Tauri or M type star. We know there's a planet in front of it. We believe the screenshot is real, as it's the whole premise of this thread. We don't know if it's The Dark Wheel or not, but it's fun to try to find it anyways.
I see three possibilities:
1) The station is just out there in some sector, outside the bubble, hiding in obscurity, by the planet and star and in the screenshot. It could be undiscovered, or it could be permit-locked. We don't know.
2) The station is inside the bubble, but in a system with multiple stars, and is orbiting a very distant star that nobody's explored. The problem with this is that we have an all-seeing FSS, and we would know if the station was out there, so there has to be a mechanism for FDev to "hide" the station somehow.

There have been many proposals for how FDev could hide a station like this, such as making it appear only when you get close (like an old school USS or mission target). However, there's one possibility that I think deserves extra attention from us. (I think Xaintly is on to something in the Raxxla thread, and I coincidentally had the same thought this week.)

I think it would be consistent with our data so far if this station was hiding in an asteroid cluster. Nobody ever looks in these, so they'd be the perfect place to hide The Dark Wheel. It checks some boxes:
☑ The stars we're looking for (T Tauri and M) both often have asteroid belts.
☑ The distance of an asteroid cluster is consistent with the distance the station is from the star (say 50 Ls).
☑ The mechanism is leak-proof. Hiding it under an existing type of object instance in the game is way less risky than having some special secret type of object that could get leaked accidentally via the API or executable mining. It requires no extra coding

With this in mind, I think we'd have to reinterpret the screenshot. I think the station is not "orbiting" the planet we see, but it's actually hiding in an asteroid cluster instance that's just beyond the planet. So we'd be looking for an a system with a T-Tauri or M star, with one or more planets inside an asteroid belt, then an asteroid belt. And we have to start searching those asteroid clusters! (Start with the 8th cluster if you're feeling lucky :D)

Thoughts?

P.S. Should we stop hunting for this "8th moon of a gas giant", if we think it's unlikely to be in agreement with the screenshot, without invoking an exotic theory like an elliptical orbit?
 
I like your summary. We need new thoughts and energy. I can imagine that low powered the Dark Wheel station can be masked as asteroid cluster. Many systems have asteroid cluster more distant from parent star than some other (metal rich often) bodies so than Codex screenshot can be still original screenshot from the game.

But that theory about 8th moon of a gas giant under 1000ly (just number - it is not based on any clue) from Sol is still very possible for me too. When I was checking few hundreds of candidate systems based on selects from EDSM database I found dozen of new candidates - systems never registered or without all bodies scanned in EDSM. This is very subjective but I think EDSM have under 50% of scanned bodies in that 1000ly from Sol radius. And it is quite huge problem - so many commanders are using EDMC or upload data to EDSM manually all time and moving in that space and we still don't have enough data. Space is really big for random search and in game tooling is very poor to help find new candidates.
 
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I found this system while i was out exploring, i didn't check the 8th moon because the gas giant was 3-4k out from parent star. Is this something along the lines of what we are looking for?
 
To recap, this was my logic behind the search for DW station:

  1. Gas giant must have 8+ moons and must be the first body in the system (noted by "1 h" in body name)
  2. Star from the picture is most likely a red dwarf, but I decided to check red giants and supergiants too
  3. System is unpopulated
  4. When in the system, I turned off orbital lines to minimize unnecessary distractions and fly towards the moon, do a full circle around it at a very small distance (1-2 Mm), visually check for anything out of ordinary and look at Nav panel and contacts list just to double check I'm not missing anything
I have not visited systems that have the aforementioned gas giants (1) with star types other than (2). Remember, all of this is based on the assumption that Frontier didn't fiddle with Codex image and that the image is 100% representative of what we will see when we approach station up and close. These are the results of my search:

  1. Every red dwarf in 500 Ly radius from Sol - nothing found
  2. Every red giant in 1000 Ly radius from Sol - nothing found
  3. Every red supergiant in 2000 Ly radius from Sol - nothing found
So... Should we expand the search from 500-1000 Ly (from Sol) for systems with red dwarves? 500-2000 Ly? Is Codex image misleading? Well, I hope that image is credible because otherwise that would make everyone searching for it mad at Frontier and it would raise big questions about everything developers throw at us in the future.

Finding the station via brute force will be hard or luck based so I took a break from search and went to Sag A and Beagle Point. If anyone wants to continue where I left off, here is the full list of systems in 500 Ly radius that have gas giants with 8+ moons, including various star types (not only red dwarves). I have crossed out all the systems I visited and checked. This list will be regularly updated if you message me with a system name that has no station.

o7
 
  1. Every red dwarf in 500 Ly radius from Sol - nothing found
  2. Every red giant in 1000 Ly radius from Sol - nothing found
  3. Every red supergiant in 2000 Ly radius from Sol - nothing found
If it's a red giant/supergiant then the planet could plausibly be further out than 1h - could be 2h or 3h.

But I think this is probably pretty conclusive that whatever system it's in, it's not one which players have already explored into the EDSM dataset.
 
Have folks taken into account moons of moons in the search?

Codex entry says the 8th moon, but that may not mean moon "h".

Example 1) If a planet has moons a, b, c, d, e, e a, f, and g, then g is the 8th moon.

Example 2) If a planet has moons a, b, c, c a, d, d a, e, f, g, then f is the 8th moon.
 
Have folks taken into account moons of moons in the search?

Codex entry says the 8th moon, but that may not mean moon "h".

Example 1) If a planet has moons a, b, c, d, e, e a, f, and g, then g is the 8th moon.

Example 2) If a planet has moons a, b, c, c a, d, d a, e, f, g, then f is the 8th moon.
If this were true then we will never find it. We barley have anything to go on and if this rings true idk if we should waste time searching for it when the bubble burns.
 
Have folks taken into account moons of moons in the search?

Codex entry says the 8th moon, but that may not mean moon "h".

Example 1) If a planet has moons a, b, c, d, e, e a, f, and g, then g is the 8th moon.

Example 2) If a planet has moons a, b, c, c a, d, d a, e, f, g, then f is the 8th moon.
Moons of moons? I've never seen that.
 
I saw moons orbiting another moon of gas giant (it is visible in orrery but it was always only one moon). I already thought about it in Raxxla context - if that name is just abrev/code then LA at the end can be moon (first so A) orbiting 12th moon (L) and it all orbiting some big body (some number - maybe 10 because X haha I have no idea). But I know this thread is not about Raxxla :p

Example of (child) moon orbiting another (parent) moon of (parent) gasgiant:
 
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Hey guys. Loving this thread. Long-time forum reader here. Just wanted to share a crazy (and bear with me, crazy) thought that I had whilst out searching a few weeks ago.

I was staring at the 2D map in EDDiscovery, as I often do while exploring and noticed something in the pattern of journeys that people have made around the bubble.
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Due to the popularity of nebulae near to the bubble, you can see a very visible polygonal shape drawn by the journeys of other commanders. Opening this up on the galaxy map reveals that the nebulae roughly form a circle to the south-west of our beloved bubble.

It might be space weariness (I am coming back from a fairly long exploration journey after all) but it seems to me that these dark nebula form a sort of Dark Wheel very near to our bubble. This got me thinking about whether a clandestine organization with a passion for poetic naming might not hide their secret base at the center of such a construct.

Wild theory, born of space sickness most likely, but my enjoyment of the fine ideas and thoughts you all are postulating compelled me to share my own wacky idea. I'm currently docked at Jameson with the intent of pushing to Alliance with TDW faction and then searching in the center of this ring for as yet undiscovered M and Ts of the nature we are seeking. 'Tis likely for naught yet somehow compels the search.

Seek on, commanders. Somewhere out there the Dark Wheel turns and I'd love to be a part of the finding.

-- CMDR Stu
 
Due to the popularity of nebulae near to the bubble, you can see a very visible polygonal shape drawn by the journeys of other commanders. Opening this up on the galaxy map reveals that the nebulae roughly form a circle to the south-west of our beloved bubble.
I understand your logic, but this is pure coincidence. People will always take straight routes towards different POIs and as a byproduct, polygons will form.
 
It might be space weariness (I am coming back from a fairly long exploration journey after all) but it seems to me that these dark nebula form a sort of Dark Wheel very near to our bubble. This got me thinking about whether a clandestine organization with a passion for poetic naming might not hide their secret base at the center of such a construct.
Worth a ganders, but it's still a lot of space to look around for "something".
 
Yes, this is the type. How much of this system did you explore?
I didn't explore any of it since it didnt fit the screenshot. I would go back but I'm apart of operation ida so were busy in the bubble. Feel free to check it out tho, I thinks it's around 15 jumps from sol in a 50ly jump range ship.
 
Hey guys. Sorry to disrupt you current discussion but someone pointed my towards this thread from a thread I had made in the Exploration forum about searching for the Dark Wheel station.

After reading the bit about the Dark Wheel's station being a "disused starport orbiting the eighth moon of an unnamed gas giant" in the Codex I decided to compile a list from EDSM of all systems within a 200 ly cube centered on Sol that have a gas giant with 8 or more moons. EDSM's API limits the number of systems it will return from such a search to 200 ly so ideally I would have liked a bigger search radius but considering the length of time the Dark Wheel has been operating, their station might actually be within this search cube.

My theory is that if the Dark Wheel station is located in any of those systems it will most likely be a system without other stations or factions, and/or the distance to the gas giant is going to be over 100,000 ls.
My guess is that the station won't appear in your nav panel like regular stations (it being kept on minimal power to avoid detection), so something interesting might pop up when we get within 1,000 ls of the moon.

EDSM returned a list of 14,775 systems and of those systems 801 contain gas giants with 8 or more moons. Right now I'm adding information about the system population and if the system requires a permit in addition to the information I already have on hand: system name, gas giant name, number of moons, distance from the main star.

What do you guys think? Is this something anyone would be interested in?
 
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Hey guys. Sorry to disrupt you current discussion but someone pointed my towards this thread from a thread I had made in the Exploration forum about searching for the Dark Wheel station.

After reading the bit about the Dark Wheel's station being a "disused starport orbiting the eighth moon of an unnamed gas giant" in the Codex I decided to compile a list from EDSM of all systems within 200 LY from Sol that have a gas giant with 8 or more moons. EDSM's API limits the number of systems it will return from such a search to 200 LY so ideally I would have liked a bigger search radius but considering the length of time the Dark Wheel has been operating, their station might actually be within 200 LY from Sol, or the "new world" planets from the original Elite game (Lave, Leesti, etc).

My theory is that if the Dark Wheel station is located in any of those systems it will most likely be a system without other stations or factions, and/or the distance to the gas giant is going to be over 100,000 LS.
My guess is that the station won't appear in your nav panel like regular stations (it being kept on minimal power to avoid detection), so something interesting might pop up when we get within 1000 LS of the moon.

EDSM returned a list of 8260 systems that are within 200 LY of Sol and of those systems 709 contain gas giants with 8 or more moons. Right now I'm adding information about the system population and if the system requires a permit in addition to the information I already have on hand: system name, gas giant name, number of moons, distance from the main star.

What do you guys think? Is this something anyone would be interested in?
I feel like at 100,000LS the screenshot in the codex would be pointless unless the system has more than 1 star. Now if we widen the search to multiple stars it becomes "needle in a haystack". Unfortunately I don't think we will get close until another clue comes out.
 
I've finished crunching through the data for all 14,775 systems I got from EDSM and now have a list of 801 systems that contain gas giants with 8 or more moons, for a grand total of 906 moons that need to be checked.

The gas giant that's furthest away from the main star clocks in at a whopping 1,051,316 ls distance. The median distance for the 757 total gas giants on the list is only 1,989 ls, so the vast majority of those planets are reasonably close to the main star. Only 72 planets on the list are over 10,000 ls from the main star & 8 systems require a permit.

Elite Dangerous: The search for the Dark Wheel

I'm also including the JSON files for all those systems in case anyone wants to compile their own statistics or add some more information (like star type) but don't want to deal with the EDSM API rate limit policy.

dark_wheel_json.zip
 
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