Transluscent rings in the dense star fields of the core.

Transluscent rings in the dense star fields of the core.

Over a week of travel since the last entry now, and I finally reached the galactic core. The star density is noticeably higher, with some large clusters of bright blue stars among other things. I’ve been making my way there fast-ish, only stopping for blue worlds (water worlds and Earth-like worlds), or for ringed gas-giant sightseeing here and there. Another undiscovered Earth-like was scanned on the way, making it four so far.

Then, while using the galactic map to plan an evening’s trip in the OGAIRY sector, I found a tiny blue planetary nebula, with a black hole at its centre. The course was plotted, and a couple dozen jumps later, the nebula was in sight: an incongruous bright blue cloud in the dotted black sky.

A blue planetary nebula in the distance.

A blue planetary nebula in the distance.

The view from inside was extremely pretty, the dreamlike blue making it a nice change from the red nebulas I visited so far.

Inside the planetary nebula of the OGAIRY sector.

Inside the planetary nebula of the OGAIRY sector.

And at the centre of it, I got close enough to the small black hole to play with the gravitational lensing to capture some photographic memories. I was dropped out of supercruise when getting too close, but without damage thanks to the low speed, and there’s not much more danger than that due to the invisible wall that prevents you from going too far. Temperature is pretty much the only thing that can kill you while exploring, and small black holes like this one don’t cause much heating.

The black hole at the centre of the nebula.

The black hole at the centre of the nebula.

What *does* cause heating however are stars that you get too close to. This was the case of a close binary pair when a jump had me pop out just in-between. The companion star wheezed by my canopy as I made entry and stopped in front of the main star, and straight away I could see the ship temperature rising fast, too fast. Taking a quick vector out between the two, I managed to get out quickly without incurring any damage to the equipment, with a maximum temparature level of 89%. That’s a reminder that even though exploration in Elite is a fairly peaceful and straightforward affair, a small lapse of concentration can be deadly when fooling around stars. I got lucky there since I was watching everything and reacted instantly, but had I been watching something else, a few more seconds would have been enough to start frying up the equipment.

This binary system caught me by surprise: the jump had me out between the pair and quickly overheating.

This binary system caught me by surprise: the jump had me out between the pair and quickly overheating.

I’ve since been following a trail of neutron stars with occasional black holes, and my scans, to which a fifth undiscovered Earth-like world was added, should now be worth something when (if?) I make it back. I’m now into the core proper, and less than a thousand light-years away from the Great Annihilator which is my last planned target before Sagittarius A* itself.

Advertisements