Let's Take a Trip to Another Galaxy

Scott Tortorice

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I was bored, so I figured it was a good time to get a change of scenery. So I launched my little spaceship and left earth orbit. I paused at the moon to decide where to go.


I had no clue, so I did what every great explorer has done in history when confronted with the same dilemma: I just clicked around the sky until I found a destination. :D


Ah, that will do nicely! A whole new galaxy! NGC 613, 106 million light years away. Awesome. Engage the warp drive!

Abracadabra, and I am there. I seem to have approached the galaxy almost edge-on:


Now, which star system should I visit? With a billion-billion stars to choose from, I had plenty of choices. Using my foolproof system of random clicking, I settled upon a blue supergiant binary system:


Engage the warp drives!

I arrive a safe distance from system. The blue supergiant is a monster of a star, one that almost is blinding in its luminosity. I called up the system's orbital plot:


Looks like a tight system of planets around the blue supergiant, with a tiny orbital system much further out from the primary. But I don't see a star there. Weird. Well, first lets explore the supergiant's system a bit. Because I am adventurous, I decide to head to the innermost planet. Something tells me I am going to need SPF 10000 lotion.


Argh! My eyes! I am blinded! :cool:

Not surprisingly, I discover a blistering hot "scorched desert" planet. Look at that surface temperature! 2623 degrees Fahrenheit! That's hot enough to melt Molybdenum! Gravity is slightly more than twice the earth's. Deploy the shuttle! Put the AC on full blast!


What is that burning smell?

Flying over the surface, I find exactly what is to be expected: Dune. Arrakis. Desert planet.


Miles and miles of endless sand dunes, broiling under a relentless sun. This shot was taken just at sunrise. When the blue supergiant was fully up in the sky...whiteout.

I had to leave before we all burst into flames.

Where next? Well, if that was the closest planet in the system, let's check out the most distant planet, fourth from the sun.


A scorched "selana," aka moon. Like our earth's moon, but in a hellish environment. It still clocks in at 1393 degrees Fahrenheit despite its 74 AU distance from the supergiant. Engage the warp drives!


Welcome to the "magnificent desolation" of an alien moon. Beautiful in its own way.

I spend a bit enjoying its rugged surface but decide to move on. That mysterious other system nags at my conscious. Where is its star? Why is it so dark in its distant loneliness?


Like an exile cast out from the bright and cheery central star system.

I zoom in on the orbital schematic and discover the most dangerous beast of all: a black hole!


I have to check this out...but from an initially safe distance. I select the outermost planetary body, a dwarf planet classified as another "hot selena":


At 551 degress Fahrenheit, it seems downright cool after visiting those other planets that orbited the blue supergiant! Engage!

I arrive and find a sizable world that looks like our moon, but for what appears to be snow on parts of the surface.


Of course, at 551 F, it can't be earthly snow, but something else. What? I am not sure. I descend to near the surface to take a look.


Definitely white-ish "stuff" on them there hills. Not sure what it could be. I head on over to take in a portion of that large impact crater I spotted from orbit. Off to the left, you can see the monster rising over the horizon roughly 5 AU away:


Let's get closer. o_O

I bring my ship in just off the limb of the closest planet to the black hole, a nearly identical dwarf planet. The black hole ("B") beckons to me.


I "inch" closer (a few million miles in reality):


I can see the monster curving space around itself even from this distance. I go for broke and get as close as I dare, just 1100 miles from the event horizon:


Taking a few snapshots, I run! LOL!
 
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Scott Tortorice

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Thanks Scott, looks like fun!
My pleasure. Space Engine is proof that the best things in life are free! I always find myself jumping in and just poking around for hours. This program does better with procedural generation (for the most part) than what No Man's Sky and Elite: Dangerous has accomplished. To be fair, it has a five year lead, but it is still impressive, especially considering it is a one man project with two volunteer helpers. :)
 
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