Starways, Local and Otherwise

One of the most obvious facts about intergalactic space: It's got a lot of galaxies in it. The Ecumene generally refers to galaxies as starways.

Naming conventions are as follows- most prominently known name, Ecumene name, simple designation, occasional nickname).

Solekhynatsa, the Topaz Crossroads

Solekhynatsa is the galaxy the Ecumene (and its sister setting) are located in, and as such its simple designation is the Localmost Starway. The Topaz Crossroads is an absurdly large spiral starway- one of the largest, period, in all measures except those that center interacting and elliptical starways (and even then it ranks relatively high). It is one of the most massive starways of all, but features no ring or bar. Its six spiral arms are each easily distinguished, and the gaps between them feature few spurs. The starway's core is only weakly active at present, but there is evidence of recent stronger activity.

The disc is only somewhat warped by the many companion starways, most of which are relatively far away from the galaxy proper. It is likely that all recent galactic interactions have mostly ended, with only a few smaller companions still on eccentric orbits likely to tear them apart at the moment. Starforming activity is starting to calm down, but the sheer size of the starway and the presence of bound and torn starways within the galaxy proper mean that the Topaz Crossroads produces approximately 20 solar masses worth of star per year. The galaxy contains many spherical clusters, with relatively few considered likely to be former galactic cores. Most of the companion galaxies are warped by their interactions with the vast starway, and all three of the spiral starway companions have prominent bars.

Much of the information on the structure of the Localmost Starway comes from sources far beyond the Ecumene, both in time and in space. There are several known full maps of the galaxy, using data from vast arrays of telescopes stationed outside of it- the earliest of these dates from almost two hundred million years ago. All have detail down to individual stars, though star count differs by as much as one part per million- and full listings, even ones taken at similar times often feature similarly-sized differences in what exactly those stars are. While one might think this would provide a better-constrained figure on the number of stars in the Big Weirdo, surveys taken most recently- though indeed with less accurate and powerful arrays- indicate a figure considerably lower. One hopes that the difference is simply due to lack of refinement.

The name Solekhynatsa originates from one of the oldest large polities known within the starway, which formed nearly two billion years ago. As far as is known, said polity existed in a very connected time for the galaxy- such that information and starships originating on one side could circle around the long way to the other within a few centuries. Words that either sounded similar, translated to similar meanings, or otherwise resembled the term Solekhynatsa were remarkably common in major galactic languages of the time likely due to crosslinguistic spread over the previous few Blooms. The initial term is thought to have initially been devised as a prank- perhaps a rude name, though across two billion years even this knowledge is on a shaky foundation. Regardless of the meaning, the use of the word as a name for the Localmost Starway circulated throughout the galaxy and became remarkably common in the next few millenia- such that the relatively few artifacts of the time often state that as the name of the galaxy they were constructed in. Across the intervening time, the name waxed and waned in popularity- but the last similarly-connected galactic civilization, which had its peak approximately 31 million years ago, made a point of designating stars by building extremely durable beacons indicating their name and location within Solekhynatsa. Many of these beacons are still intact today, and in the lack of knowledge of a galactic consensus on the term Solekhynatsa is considered likely to be the most widespread single term for the Localmost Starway.

Simple data: SA(s)c, ~630 kly diameter, ≥17 ≤23 trillion stars, 13 trillion solar masses. 23 bound starways, 44 torn starways, 9000+ globular clusters, 63 companion starways (3 spiral starways, 2 elliptical starways, 5 dwarf spiral starways, 6 irregular starways, 13 dwarf elliptical starways, 13 dwarf spheroidal starways, 21 deep clusters). An extremely large spiral galaxy with an undersized companion group. Host to some extremely peculiar civilizations. Six major arms with a few wide spaces between them. ~20 new solar masses a year.

Dahalis Caruny Iyil, the Grand Confluence of Helices

Dahalis Caruny Iyil is large but isolated, a rare occurence. Its core features a faint bar, with a more prominent ring structure around it- from the ring sprout several spiral arms (or else the ring is formed from the confluence of the arms). The arms sweep out to cover most of the disc of the galaxy. While there are spaces uncovered by the two main arms, smaller arms sprout either from the ring or from other arms to fill much of that space- making it difficult to tell where one arm ends and another begins. However, the arms do not wind very tightly. This leaves space for the two main arms to share with three smaller arms, and over a dozen spurs or arm segments.

With only small galaxies as companions even in the past, the disc is not very warped- the shape of the galaxy is defined near-entirely by its arms. There are only a few prominent starforming regions in the galaxy, with most nebulae being smaller regions than the great kilolightyear formation regions of highly active galaxies- where a conventional galaxy a tenth the mass might form a solar mass worth of stars per year, the Grand Confluence of Helices only forms about four-fifths of a solar mass per year. Stellar groupings are likewise rare, with only a few spherical clusters compared to its mass- and most of those are dispersed over up to hundreds of light-years. Only four clusters have been determined to be former galactic cores, with another six in distant orbits not bound to Starway A's halo. With them is a dwarf elliptical starway, a long trail of stars snaking through Big Lonely twice before coming to rest near a badly distorted spherical cluster.

The name Dahalis Caruny Iyil originally comes from an ancient archive purporting to be a message sent from the galaxy, reported as a combination of three separate names from the three most prominent civilizations in that galaxy. Said message reportedly spoke of a plan to use the mass-energy of the galaxy to send a FTL message that would circulate through the entire universe multiple times, letting any life with the ability to detect the message know that they were not alone in the universe. Follow-up STL messages about the progress of the plan would apparently not be sent, as the FTL message would be enough and arrive much faster (though using far, far more power). While using telescopes across half a billion light-years provides little detail and is long out of date (and even the best ansible plans for doing the same require hundreds of thousands of years for an observation), it is generally considered likely that some or all of the archive's message is inaccurate or a hoax- there is no record of a followup FTL signal. Several high-powered FTL and STL messages have been detected from the galaxy in the interim- while these are much less powerful than the purported message, none have even mentioned civilizations or species analogous to the ones from said message.

Simple data: SAB(rs)c, ~490 kly diameter, ≥5 ≤20 trillion stars, 10 trillion solar masses. 4 bound starways, 1 torn starway, 1000+ globular clusters, 7 companion starways (1 dwarf elliptical starway, 6 deep clusters). A great ringed/barred spiral far from pretty much anywhere else. Faint bar with a ring formed by the confluence of two vast mostly-unwound arms, with smaller arms filling the rest of the disk. ~0.8 new solar masses per year.

Asihrin Ilsevna, the Joining Coil

Asihrin Ilsevna is large, but is cocooned in its own grouping of galaxies. Its core has a very prominent multi-ring formation, which four great spiral arms wind into- making this galaxy one of the few many-arm spirals whose arms are so distinct as to count as a grand design spiral galaxy. Spaces exist between each arm, though they are wound tightly enough to make these spaces small, and gravitational eddies from companion galaxies cause the arms to manifest small spurs sticking into the spaces. The disc is warped, with a wavelike pattern across swathes of the galaxy caused by encounters. However, there have not been collisions between the Joining Coil and its companions in a while (though a few are approaching) recently, and starforming regions are in decline despite their prodigious size. The rate of star formation has been estimated to be between thirty and sixty solar masses per year.

Likewise, Starway B is an active seyfert galaxy, with a brighter core than usual. Clusters and nebulae of all types are very common across the galaxy's bulk- with thousands of globular clusters both within the disc, in the sphere formed by the radius of the disc, and within the halo. About two dozen globular clusters can be found untethered to any companion galaxy, but these are snatched up fairly quickly. Several clusters are former galactic cores, with several more having been pulled apart into torn starways- though other torn starways are connected to extant galaxies, and others loop around Starway B several times. Many other starways are within Big Feisty's sphere of influence, with two of them even being large spiral galaxies with their own sets of companions.

The name Asihrin Ilsevna is a relatively recent invention, dating from soon after the 3626th Bloom 2/5ths of a million years ago. One of the larger local civilizations of the time, more sparse but larger in breadth than the Ecumene's own known space, began to designate the galaxy as such- and, simple enough, the name has remained common up until now. Several meanings for the name are known in various languages across the time and space of said civilization, and it is uncertain which is the earliest one.

Simple data: SA(r)b, ~410 kly diameter, ≥10 ≤15 trillion stars, 8 trillion solar masses. 11 bound starways, 21 torn starways, 8000+ globular clusters. 97 companion starways (5 spiral starways, 4 elliptical starways, 7 dwarf spiral starways, 9 irregular starways, 24 dwarf elliptical starways, 33 dwarf spheroidal starways, 19 deep clusters). A great unbarred seyfert spiral embedded in a galaxy group of its very own. Four grand design arms sprout from a central ring, with small spus due to companion interactions filling the small spaces. ~45 new solar masses per year.

Seuikot, the Walled Whirlpool

Seuikot is considerably smaller than Starway the previously-mentioned galaxies, but remains above-average. It is one of a class of badly disturbed spiral galaxies whose arms have been twisted into a wide outer ring, though its is more symmetrical than most. The bar-shaped core is almost divorced from the ring, though weak spiral arms curl tightly through the gap to form a bridge. Several oval formations can be discerned within the ring, remnants of disturbances from recent companions passing through- most spectacularly its similarly-sized spiral starway companion, whose arms are twisted and trail long streams of stars. As a result, the Walled Whirlpool is a very active starburst galaxy- having recently been enriched by its encounter. Over a hundred solar masses worth of stars form every year, quite remarkable for any size. Clusters are more common than usual for similarly sized galaxies, though many of the ones that used to be galactic cores have been launched back out of the galaxy. Likewise, many of the torn starways have been torn apart once more and lack any cohesion. Companion galaxies are somewhat more common than usual for a similarly-sized galaxy, owing somewhat to the recent large collisions.

The name Seuikot has its origin in one of the few known "small" intergalactic expeditions- Seuikot is in fact one of the closest starways to the Localmost Starway, and at some point in the past a group in that galaxy elected to make the dozen-millenium trip to the Localmost Starway. Details are scarce, and the group arrived in an area that is at present time dispersed largely 30 kilolightyears spinward of the Ecumene. The group was reported to consist of about a dozen craft, each a relatively small space habitat in its own right, but the archives this data was recovered from are all by chance corrupt in similar locations of the narrative. Most of what is known about their galaxy comes from telescope and telescope-ansible observations of the Walled Whirlpool.

Simple data: (RP)SBa, ~140 kly diameter, ≥200 ≤600 billion stars, 800 billion solar masses. 2 bound starways, 9 torn starways, 500+ globular clusters. 42 companion/shared companion starways (1 spiral starway, 3 dwarf spiral starways, 2 irregular starways, 12 dwarf elliptical starways, 9 dwarf spheroidal starways, 15 deep clusters). A mid-sized ring starburst galaxy, sharing a smallish galaxy group with a similarly-sized spiral companion. Weak but tightly-curled arms bridge the ring and the core. Oval subrings denote interactions. Over 100 new solar masses per year.

Kranzep Polim, the Unwound Volute / Lorye Evif, the Enlightened Whirlpool

Kranzep Polim is an example- one of 17 similar galaxies all in a multipolar group, most slightly below the average size for a spiral starway. This one in particular has widely dispersed incoherent arms bridged by small star formation regions. Both arms trail into other nearby galaxies, leading some to term it an "unwinding spiral" due to the interactions pulling it apart. The star formation rate is prodigious for such a small galaxy, about three solar masses per year. A few globular clusters exist within and without the Unwound Volute's immediate surroundings, likewise in numbers comparable to a considerably larger galaxy.

Lorye Evif is remarkably small for any spiral galaxy, let alone one of its design- a widely dispersed multi-arm unbarred spiral. It appears to be falling apart- likely because it has very little dark matter, almost certainly a result of encounters with its parent galaxy- one of the other galaxies in the same group as Kranzep Polim. Twenty globular clusters shine in various places along the Enlightened Whirlpool, and little clumps of thin galactic arm trail it in its orbit.

The names of these two galaxies originate from the same high-power intergalactic transmission, one definitively confirmed by its repeated updates. Said transmission is notable for being updated both in FTL and in STL, resulting in a complicated version system to help distinguish the two. The most recent FTL version is from a mere two thousand years ago.

Simple data: SBd, ~50 kly diameter, ≥20 ≤50 billion stars, 70 billion solar masses. 7 torn starways, 150 globular clusters, 5 direct companion starways (2 dwarf starways, 3 deep clusters). 66 indirect companion starways (17 spiral starways, 3 elliptical starways, 5 dwarf spiral starways, 4 iregular starways, 2 dwarf elliptical starways, 2 dwarf spheroidal starways, 33 deep clusters). One of 18 similar smallish galaxies in a no-clear-victor group. Incoherent torn arms pointing towards other galaxy. ~3 new solar masses per year.

SAm, ~5 kly diameter, ≥300 ≤600 million stars, 2 billion solar masses, 20 globular clusters. An adorably small companion galaxy, torn apart a bit and bereft of dark matter due to interactions with its much larger companions.

Information on classification of planets, stars, and larger bodies.

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