The main star at Pismis 24-1 and its companion in the distance.

The main star at Pismis 24-1 and its companion in the distance.

First major stop on my way to the galactic core, NGC 6357 is a nebula in the constellation Scorpius where many stars are forming. It is also the host of a large number of massive blue stars, including the extremely bright Pismis 24-1 later found out to be not a single source but multiple stars in close orbit. The open cluster Pismis 24 was therefore on my list of places to visit in there, and it did not disappoint, with a beautiful pair of bright blue stars.

The screenshots don’t do these justice though, as the distance to the stars don’t let one appreciate their size. Much smaller but more visually impressive were a pair of red stars in very close orbit.

Close red binaries.

Close red binaries.

Further exploration of the nebula led me to scan my first few black holes and play with the gravitational lensing effect that the game implements.

Gravitational lensing around a black hole in Pismis 19.

Gravitational lensing around a black hole in Pismis 19.

Some random exploring later took me down into the rings of a beautiful brown dwarf, possibly one of the most eerie places i’ve been to so far in this game.

Diving in the rings of a brown dwarf.

Diving in the rings of a brown dwarf.

It was then time to head out again towards the core after a last goodbye…

Cruising in NGC 6357.

Cruising in NGC 6357.

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