OK, 2300AD fans – you may recall that last year in my 2300AD Near Star Map post I examined how the Arms in 2300AD shaped up when compared to our current knowledge of stellar distribution and discovered that they were actually pretty wrong, with lots of missing stars and broken links.
Also over the past year I’ve been (slowly) tracking down and compiling Star Catalogues on my Stellar Mapping page so I can figure out where the stars around Sol actually are.
Between the HIPX catalogue, RECONS, DENSE, CTIOPI and a bunch of papers from WISE with new brown dwarf and dim star discoveries (that aren’t on the Stellar Mapping page yet), I think I’m now able to draw a line and ‘close the catalogue’ for now. Yes, new brown dwarfs may still be discovered close to the Solar System, and perhaps a bunch of more distant new brown dwarf discoveries may be announced as more WISE data is analysed, but I think the space near Sol is reasonably well catalogued now – it’s certainly a lot better than the Gliese 3 data we had when the original 2300AD star map was made! So for now, I’m going to say that my efforts are complete and my 2013 Near Star Catalogue will not be accepting more entries until or unless there’s something really major to add (like another brown dwarf within 10 lightyears).
I’ve also been trying to figure out what the Arms might look like with the new stellar distribution. There are two main rules I’m sticking to for this purpose:
1) No fictional stars. Systems have to be within 7.7ly of the next star on the arm. Gaps can be bridged, but only with stutterwarp tugs which can travel up to 11.55 ly. This rule is more flexible beyond about 50ly from Sol, where our data on brown dwarfs is very incomplete compared to the space near Sol – but even then, links across gaps should only be present in exceptional circumstances. Unfortunately I’ve had to break this rule once, to connect Psi and Lambda Serpentis in Kafer Space – in that case a fictional brown dwarf is required or the Kafers won’t be able to get to Human Space!
2) Stay as close as possible to the original Arms. For example, if a world was on the Chinese Arm before then it should still be on the Chinese Arm – preferably around the same star, or one with a similar spectral type. Obviously it won’t be possible to completely match the old arms since there were missing stars and very broken links, but I can get close!
As it turns out, there are a LOT of stars that are accessible from Sol now. I think there is now a total of about 130 systems on the main Arms, and another 100 or so on all their branches, fingers, and extensions that can all potentially be reached by explorers without breaking the 7.7 ly limit! I’ve now mapped out French, Chinese, and American Arms (and traced out potential expansion beyond those), and extended the Canadian and Latin arms, as well as paths to the Eber homeworld, the Kafer Sphere, the Sung finger, and Pentapod Space. And while there are still stars that are between the Arms that allow come degree of interconnection, there are still ‘chokepoints’ and ‘bottlenecks’ that allow the Arms to exist as separate entities. So there’s a lot to play with now :).
Over the coming weeks I’ll be taking a look at the new Arms that I’ve defined and pointing out some interesting features and systems. Please note that this is entirely unofficial and non-canonical – it’s more the culmination of a thought exercise that considers “what if 2300AD used realistic stars”. At some point I’ll get the raw data out there somehow eventually, but for now I’m just going to start looking at the new Arms and pointing out the cool stuff :).
So to whet your appetite, here’s a quick flyaround video showing what my vision of the 2300AD universe looks like Arms that follow the Realistic Stars – for best results, view it full screen at 720p resolution! (click this link if it doesn’t show up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-B4wQnCRE8 )
The sphere grid radius is 50ly from Earth. The Blue arm is French, Green is Chinese, Orange is American, dotted lines are potential expansions. Red/Pink at the top is the Kafer Sphere. Solid Pink at the bottom is the route to Kormoran. Dark Pink at the bottom is the route to the Eber Homeworld (potential Chinese expansion). Purple is Latin. Red at the bottom is Canadian, Gold is the Beta Aquilae cluster.
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