The G2 Dust Cloud

Here's something that I haven't seen mentioned in neither the galactic mapping project, nor on the list of real nebulae: the G2 Dust Cloud. It's a rather unique stellar feature that's approximately 28000 ly from Sol, on the far side of Sagittarius A*. In real life, it's better known as the G2 gas cloud, or simply as "G2", as its exact nature is still somewhat uncertain. It was first thought to be a dusty gas cloud that was on an accretion course to Sag A*, but to most everyone's surprise, in 2014 it was revealed to have actually survived the encounter. As far as I know, the two most likely theories are that it's still a cloud, but we're seeing it at an odd angle; the other is that it's actually a pair of binary stars that have since merged together.

But in Elite, we do know what Frontier chose to represent it with: it's a faint dark red nebula that's some 2000 ly away from the core. That would make it the farthest non-procedural nebula from Sol, and possibly the closest large (and non-procedural) nebula to Sagittarius A* too. As it's so small and faint, finding it without using the galaxy map's search function would be next to impossible: even from 80 ly away, I could barely make it out by eye. (It's little wonder that it popped up on the forums only once, with one of its systems mentioned in passing by CMDR Mohingan some three months ago.) Thankfully, due to the extreme star density in the area, there are lots of systems both around and in the nebula, so you can get close looks at it from all kinds of angles. Up close, it looks as if the core was splattered with dark stains of blood - although even then, you'll probably want to be on the dark side of a planet to see all the details.

If you're in the area, I recommend visiting the cloud: after all, it's not far from the biggest attraction in the galaxy. Back when I was there, I saw the tags of only a handful of Commanders, and the area was mostly unexplored. I did survey 214 systems, but since the sector is in the core, there are thousands of stars to explore. And the small red nebula amidst the core's sea of stars is certainly a sight that you won't see elsewhere.
 
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Cool - I'd heard of it prior to 2014 but had managed to completely miss that it had survived the encounter in the real galaxy as well.

Note for the lazy... Searching for "G2" in the galaxy map didn't take me there, but "G2 D" was sufficient.
 
The G2 dust cloud is quite a subtle one, as the screenshot I took just over two weeks ago shows (I have mentioned the nebula a couple of times in my cartography reports, e.g. https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=212600&page=27 but I felt it was too far off the DWE route to post details). It's very easy to miss and I only happened upon it by chance looking around the Galaxy Map in the region around waypoint 13 (the Phipoea Nebula, which is about 800LY away iirc). I think the closest nebula to Sgr A* is the Amethyst Cloud (waypoint 10) but that is based around a single system, so this may well be the closest large nebula to Sgr A* (the Phipoea Nebula itself would be the main competition in that respect).
G2 DUST CLOUD.jpg
The G2 DUST CLOUD as it appears against the plane of the Milky Way
I checked for Earth-like and Ammonia Worlds but failed to find any within the nebula. If I remember correctly, I also checked for the presence of a UA shell in the region 140-170LY but found no *SS. There were plenty of life-bearing gas giants in the vicinity of the nebula but comparatively few terrestrial worlds. Several different commanders had tagged some systems but I also found plenty of untagged systems. As I was making only a short detour from the DWE route I did not stay long and did not do any prospecting for materials.
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This should definitely be reported as a possible POI for the Community Mapping Project. The fact that it hasn't been reported, despite being visited by several commanders (at least two of whom I recognise from the forums), is surprising but it also means there's nothing to lose by submitting it straight away, rather than waiting to get back home and sell the data. (I don't think it's a requirement to have sold the data to report it and I've found an untagged small nebula near waypoint 14 that I intend to submit myself, regardless. The OP requires you to have been there and to provide screenshots as proof, surviving the return trip to sell the data is a bonus.).
 
Regard to the proximity to Sag A* its definitely not the closest - I'm 600ly from there and next to a nebula.

DW Waypoint 10 I think is one system away,
 
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Sorry, I meant a non-planetary nebula. For some reason, I tend to think of those separately.
It's still the closest large and/or non-procedural nebula though, so I edited my post to reflect that.
 
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Also, here's a picture of the edge of the dust cloud rising from a planet's horizon, and a different kind of dust cloud below:
vO9n36q.jpg
 
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If the dust cloud was accreted by Sgr A* in ~2000 AD and is then some 2,000 kly away in 3300 AD the black hole must have accelerated the cloud quite a bit. 2000 light years in 1300 years is a decent speed. :)
 
If the dust cloud was accreted by Sgr A* in ~2000 AD and is then some 2,000 kly away in 3300 AD the black hole must have accelerated the cloud quite a bit. 2000 light years in 1300 years is a decent speed. :)
We saw it go past Sgr A* in ~2000 CE so it actually went past ~24,000 BCE.
 
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