Elite Journal: To Sagittarius A* (and back)!

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After my trip to Barnard’s Loop, I decided to head straight back out on another exploration run to the very center of the Milky Way and the Supermassive Black Hole at Sagittarius A*.

My priority was to get there and see it, so I decided to essentially ‘speed run’ there.

Uncut (yes, uncut) video of my journey from populated space all the way to Sgr A*.

My journey took 22 hours, not counting time taken to sleep in deep space. I did also end up scanning a few planets here and there, including some Earth-like Worlds.

You spend forever looking, then two Earth-likes come along at once.

You spend forever looking, then two Earth-likes come along at once.

I also, amazingly, bumped into another ship while deep into my journey. Merely 300LY apart upon first contact, Commander Kerrash and I flew together for a short while. I featured in his weekly intergalactic video stream #102.

Somehow, I struck gold in the DRYAU AOWSY sector, finding Neutron Star after Neutron Star, along with a large number of Earth-likes, Terraformable planets and Water Worlds.

Arriving in Sagittarius A* was an awesome experience. The feeling of achievement is great and I’m totally glad I did it.

Being able to say you’ve been to Sgr A is not something very many can actually do. But I can!

Sagittarius A* – the Supermassive Black Hole at the center of the Milky Way!

I also managed to find a couple of Water Worlds in systems relatively close by!

My return journey followed a very different path to many, and while the visuals of the Supermassive Black Hole were nice, they were not the best I saw on my trip, as the return journey was even better! I headed straight down 1000LY from Sgr A so I was literally looking down (or up) at the Galactic Plane from it’s central point. The massive disc of dust and stars made the surrounding starscape seem eerily unfamiliar.

1000LY below Sagittarius A*.

I managed to find quite a few Earth-like and Water Worlds below the Galactic Core. The PHRAA FLYA and ALHAIP RQ-B sectors specifically delivered some amazing sights.

After finishing my time ‘below’ the Galactic Plane, I set my sights on the Great Annihilator, a known Black Hole system. This system, perhaps more than Sagittarius A*, made the trip worthwhile.

The distortions made me feel quite disorientated!

The massive visual warping and lensing effects really made this an interesting system to visit. Of course, getting close enough to the Black Holes that you get massive visual effects (like I did, at least), means also taking heat damage, and this really was the first system that made me fearful of not making it home.

After leaving the Great Annihilator behind, I made my way home. Stopping off at a few special objects along the way…

Think Earth-likes are rare? Think again!

Think Earth-likes are rare? Think again!

Suddenly the Milky Way started throwing Earth-likes at me!

Boom... Earth-likes.

Boom… Earth-likes.

I even found one system that had three Black Holes!

Think Black Holes are rare? Thank again!

Think Black Holes are rare? Thank again!

EIDAIRLD AA-A H78 is without a doubt one of the nicest places to view a Black Hole. Unfortunately the two nearest are small, but the farthest is large and creates quite a nice lensing effect on the Galactic Plane.

My own Black Holes, baby!

The FLOARPS sector is absolutely full of Black Holes. I thought about sticking around and ‘farming’ them, but frankly, I wanted to make my way home as I feel some of the transmissions I have received to be of great concern. It seems like things are about the kick-off around Lave, Leesti and Zaonce.

The video thumbnail was predictable, right?

From the FLOARPS sector and over the next few thousand lightyears, I made a series of large mistakes and navigation errors, putting myself in danger on multiple occasions.

I jumped into this system between these stars, overheated and suffered a dropout with damage.

I jumped inbetween these stars, overheated and suffered damage.

My cracked canopy was greatly concerning… At this point I felt the galaxy was out to get me. It kept happening, again and again!

Watching that heat gauge rise...

Watching that heat gauge rise…

Next stop was the IC 1287 Nebula. Relatively close to populated space, this small Nebula covers it’s system in a blanket of red and white.

IC 1287 Nebula.

Considering how many Nebulae I bypassed along the way between Sagittarius A* and IC 1287, it felt somewhat fitting to stop.

Now about 1000LY from home, I decided to stop scanning as much and try to just make it home in one piece…

Cracks in the ship canopy...

Cracks in the ship canopy…

Phew! I made it back to the Tsu system!!

Paintwork looks a little messed up there!

Paintwork looks a little messed up there!

I spent the next two-and-a-bit hours selling my data. Considering I had only really looked for things to scan at random times, I am really happy to make over 30 million credits and claim many planets and stars under my own name.

In conclusion: What a journey. Again – I never thought exploration would be for me, but I really enjoyed myself. Considering that the first time I explored I was burned out with it relatively quickly, doing a much larger journey like this doesn’t seem to have phased me in the slightest… That’s pretty interesting. It’s actually growing on me every time I try it!

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Space Gaming Category Information

My first space game addiction was with David Braben's 'Frontier - Elite II' released in 1993 on the Commodore Amiga. This game actually gave me so much of what I wanted in a game that I continued to play it until the 'Elite - Dangerous' release in 2014.

I also played through the 'Wing Commander' series from Chris Roberts, enjoying them immensely. This led directly to my support of his 2012 crowdfunding campaign for the Star Citizen and Squadron 42 games that are still in development.

These days I use gaming to try to escape from the pressures of real life. I also occasionally upload or stream gameplay to YouTube and Twitch, and rather than doing this to instruct others of the best way to play, I do it because of the social interaction with viewers and other gamers.

Left: Hires redraw I did of a 'Frontier - Elite II' Eagle ship with Merlin and Aster planets visible.


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Tim is British and lives in the United States with his wife and kids.

He works for software developers Image Space Inc. and Studio 397 on their racing simulations, and is a fan of Gaming, Motorsports, and photography.