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Distant Worlds – Nebula, Black Holes and Bright Stars

Distance: 7K LY from Sol, Hull Integrity: 100%

I’m currently 7K from Sol as I’ve just recently landed at WP4 in the Eagle Nebula. I don’t intend on doing much, it’s largely a set-up for tomorrow or later in the week depending on the arrival date for WP5. We’re at the point in the journey were waypoints are quite clustered together, meaning we’re hitting a number of them in relatively rapid succession.

Thor’s Eye

I have a strange relationship with black holes. The first one I went to was okay. Interesting but not amazingly impressive. Thor’s Eye is my second black hole. I visited twice, because the first time I went all I saw was space. I could not actually see the black hole! This is probably scientifically correct.

How did I see the first one? Apparently, you ‘see’ the black hole by distorting what’s on the other side of it when you look at it ‘through’ the phenomena. I went back for another shot and took the images above. It turned out to be quite impressive. I’m looking forward to some more fearsome black holes when we hit Sag*A and The Great Annihilator. I’m just going to have to work with some other pilots to make sure I get the best view of it.

Welcome to Waypoint Two

I came and went from waypoint two a few times, so as will usually be the case, the images aren’t all from one visit. The more interesting images are from the later visits as my first arrival seemed to be a solo experience (I’d got there a week ahead of the arrival date).

The best experience was undoubtedly on the rendezvous day. I’d arrived late as I usually need to do some jobs on a Friday evening so they don’t flood into the weekend proper. There was still some people there and as we talked and whatever else the star drifted behind the large planet our planet orbited. It was great to see things go from ‘day’ to ‘night’ due to the eclipsed sun.

One of those unexpected moments. Not so long after the base camp for waypoint three was announced so I set off.

It’s fun to catch the rarer vessels in the fleet when multiple pilots congregate at the base camps. I’ve seen a Corvette, Cutter, Cobra, T-6, Hauler and this image adds the Orca (along with a T-6 and Cutter), which is one of the oddest vessels in Elite as it’s a luxurious yacht for transporting people in luxury which doesn’t have much purpose in the game currently.

We do have a T-9 in the fleet, which is a massive, low jump range, trading vessel. It’ll take a ridiculous level of endurance to jump that thing all the way over 65K LY. It’s been accepted as the fleets flagship and there is currently a bit of a game to ‘spot The Wasp’ which is the name of the ship as it moves with the fleet to the final destination.

Three Nebula

There are quite a few nebula between WP2 and WP3, handily they are the nebula that I was going to visit on my second nebula exploration after I finished the first but Distant Worlds came along so I figured they’d be my focus in terms of my excursions out from the WP2 base camp.

I freely admit they are starting to all look a bit the same now, but you do occasionally get a cool shot and the ones that are different colour, say blue, are worth catching.

Waypoint two is actually within the Lagoon Nebula. A common location for some of the first few waypoints as it can guarantee an impressive sky. If there is one problem with my jaunt around the Lagoon Nebul is that it’s very orange and that’s about all you can say about it. I guess it just didn’t seem intense or varied enough. The trip was was worth it overall though for the take-off image and the one cruising around the planet in high orbit.

The Cat’s Paw Nebula was fantastic, though I realise it can often come down to catching the right system or planet to view these things from. Originally I was disappointed with it, then bam, the right planet and observation point comes along and it’s fantastic. It’s such an intense orange. Almost violent in its intensity. It’s particular good with a bright, yellow star burning with it.

It was getting quite late by the time I visited the Trifid Nebula so I didn’t take many photos. I was also suffering a bit from nebula fatigue. I should have probably persevered a bit as it is a nebula with different hues than the typical orange you get.

Welcome to Waypoint Three

It’s important to remember I hit waypoint three in the same evening a group of pilots watched the sun get eclipsed at waypoint two so I went from the official rendezvous at WP2 to meet those landing early, as in shortly after the coordinates were announced, at the WP3 base camp.

The base camp was on the dark side of the planet so what I found was a handful of ships that had landed in a circle and were using their lights to create a landing spot visible from a good distance. It was strangely endearing to see this, which is a bit odd, but it just showed that little bit of extra effort that the members of the fleet take to make things easier in little ways for everyone.

I sat at the base camp for a bit as the lights of the SRVs driving around the camp in the darkness was like something off of a Ridley Scott film. It doesn’t really come across in the images, but it was very haunting and atmospheric.

Nebula and Bright Stars

The Omega Nebula is visible in the sky above the base camp of waypoint three. I was getting a bit sick of touring nebula so I sort of half-heartedly felt I had to take a look. I was really glad I did as the different colours of this one really made it worth having a jaunt around.

The key thing is to try and get a good look at the nebula from the surface of a planet, ideally one that’s interesting in and off itself. This combines things up which can work really well. I loved the planet I was for the shots of Omega. It was grey but shot through with an iron ore type of colour which contrasted well with the nebula that surrounded it. It was also pretty cool to see the planet it orbited in the sky in the semi-distance.

The Omega Nebula was one of the more interesting ones I’ve seen in a while.

The other point of interest out of WP3 was the PW2010 Super Cluster. It dominates the sky in and around the area due to the obscene amount of bright, densely packed stars. It draws you in to visit it on that basis. The trouble with it is I’m not sure I’ve mastered the art of getting the best out of a sightseeing trip to such a cluster. It tends to look the same no matter where you look at it from. Stars in the sky, etc. I suspect the key thing is what you see in the systems themselves.

It’s quite possible I didn’t maximise the opportunity in terms of what to ‘see’, it may also be the case there is a lot of great scanning opportunities I didn’t take advantage of either. It was worth it though just for the shots in orbit of the massive white star, such as this one.

The Expedition Continues…

I still need to figure out what I’m going to do out of WP4, assuming I don’t take a bit of a rest. The next waypoint is the fifth one. It’s the first one that is multiple of thousands of light years away from the previous one and it takes the expedition over the 10K barrier. In order to get that fact I noticed that’s one third of the way to Sag*A, which is in turn half the expedition completed. In short, we’re a sixth of the way there, albeit probably the easy sixth.

It will be when we leave this waypoint that the expedition begins a new phase. The fleet splits up for one, though I’m not sure to what degree this is happening, numbers, etc, and how this will influence things. As there is going to be a slower fleet which demands less LY coverage per week.

I’m really enjoying it so far and it’s giving my play of Elite significant purpose.

About Ian O'Rourke

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