Sightseeing in the Cluster

Duvolle Gravitational Wave Observatory (Trace Cosmos)

Seriously, look at that gorgeous skybox!
The Gravitational Wave Observatory, with the stunning Trace Cosmos in the background.

Solitude is solitary no more. Solitude had always lived up to its name by being an exclave of the Federation. Rather than connecting directly to the rest of Gallente space, the region was only accessible through the low security Amarr regions of Aridia and Genesis or through a trek through Intake Syndicate-controlled null security space (unless, of course, you were lucky enough to find a wormhole connection, though that raises its own host of problems). It was an odd situation for a sizeable chunk of Gallente citizens, and one that newly-elected President Celes Aguard had promised to rectify during her successful election campaign. She followed through with that campaign promise with this week’s opening of a stargate between Solitude’s Eggheron and the system of Kenninck in Placid. Although the region is still only accessible by traveling through low security space, it no longer stands completely isolated from the rest of the Federation.

Blast from the past with that Postouvin shoutout tbh
A better look at the research complex.

And that means it’s easier than ever to go take a look at one of the lesser-known wonders of New Eden, the Trace Cosmos. The Trace Cosmos is a vast interstellar wasteland that fills the gap between Solitude’s settled stars, Aridia, and the capsuleer-controlled region of Fountain. Despite its location between 3 well-travelled regions of space, there’s only one system close enough to the wastelands to allow visual observation of the field without specialized equipment: the Solitude system of Gererique. At the tail end of a short pipeline from the bulk of the high security systems in Solitude (which includes the system of Postouvin, which readers may recall as the site of the Kyonoke Outbreak in YC 119), Gererique sits on the very edge of the Trace Cosmos. And it’s just as well that it’s not any closer to the Trace Cosmos, as Aura explains:

So puuuuuuurdy

The fields of Trace Cosmos hold miniscule black holes and weird spatial rifts, making it much too dangerous to traverse. It is widely believed that the fields are the remnants of a massive collision between two galaxies millions of years ago. The colossal occurrence permanently altered the areas most affected, turning them into barren death traps.

Sorry to get my Science on, I guess?
The Observatory orbits Gererique I.

Barren and full of death they may be, the Trace Cosmos are also absolutely gorgeous. From the safety of Gererique, the fields dominate the sky, glowing a vibrant purple hue. Along with the countless smaller black holes that make up the field, there are perhaps a dozen or so that are large enough or close enough to have an accretion disk and relativistic jets visible from the system. At first glance, it may seem paradoxical that something that is most well known for having so much gravity that even light can’t escape could be so bright against the blackness of space. But having that much mass in such a small area has the effect of drawing in the interstellar gas and other matter near the black hole and, in doing so, accelerating them to incredible speeds. Before the matter is swallowed up by the black hole, the gas begins to collide with other matter being pulled into the maw of the black hole, and because everything is travelling at such high speeds, the friction alone is enough to make the accretion disk shine like a sun, glowing not just in visible light but ultraviolet and even x-ray, and because the disk is beyond the event horizon (the so-called point of no return), the energy can escape the black hole’s clutches to ionize the more distant gas in the field, giving the Trace Cosmos its iconic violet glow.

I'm trying not to make all of my shots center around the Trace Cosmos I PROMISE.
Part of the research complex.

With so many black holes in such a compact area of space, it’s unsurprising that the Trace Cosmos is an area ripe for scientific research. The research giant Duvolle Laboratories has taken advantage of Gererique’s unique location to construct the Duvolle Gravitational Wave Observatory near the first planet in the system. Gravitational waves, ripples in the very fabric of space-time itself, are most easily detected when bodies with incredibly high gravities interact with each other, so it’s unsurprising that the Trace Cosmos, with its multitude of black holes, is a fertile hunting ground for the elusive waves. Although the Labs are best known for their biotech and propulsion systems, they have a sprawling research portfolio, and its clear that they have invested significant funds into developing the Observatory here. Aura has this to say when asked about the Observatory:

Would really love to know what these rings are tbh

This Duvolle Laboratories corporate research facility was established in the Gererique system to take advantage of close proximity to the field of miniscule black holes and weird spatial rifts known as “Trace Cosmos”. Gererique has the notable distinction of being the only inhabited system that comes close enough to sections of Trace Cosmos to make the phenomena visible to the naked eye.

The results of research conducted at this observatory are considered closely guarded trade secrets of Duvolle Laboratories.

I think this was the last flight of Scientia before the nullifier changes. Still pretty bitter about those changes tbh, but at least it nudged me to take these shots before they kicked in.
Scientia navigates one of the station’s exit lanes.

Closely guarded as the results of the research may be, Duvolle does not appear to mind you coming to take a look at the equipment used. The main research center is a station of Gallente design, with a distinctive sun-shield on one side and various jutting arms that I presume are filled with all manner of scientific equipment. But the observatory itself, I presume, is found a few kilometers from the station. There, surrounded by constantly moving antennae pointing every which way, sits a large stack of rings that are strongly reminiscent of some other research facilities that I once studied in Drifter Hive systems. A soft blue glow emanates from within the rings that stands out all the more because of the vibrant violet hues of the Trace Cosmos. I could not possibly begin to describe the functions of the rings, but they certainly look impressive enough from my layperson’s perspective.

I like the purple reflection you can see here.
Looking onto the stars of the Federation to which Solitude now connect.

As much as I tried to pay attention to the Observatory itself, however, I found my eyes drawn repeatedly back to the stunning views of the Trace Cosmos. The ever-shifting dance of black holes is easily apparent even from this distance, and the streaking jets and swirling accretion disks were almost hypnotic to watch. I found myself glad that Gererique is now at least somewhat easier to access from the rest of the Federation. More citizens deserved to behold this breathtaking view and to watch the hypnotic remains of a titanic collision that occurred before humans had even evolved. Solitude is indeed solitary no more and, though the introverts among us may disagree, at least in terms of having access to the views of the Trace Cosmos, that is very much a good thing.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Duvolle Gravitational Wave Observatory and Trace Cosmos
  • System: Gererique
  • Security Rating: 0.7
  • Region: Solitude
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -3.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen. Additionally, although the system is high security space, please note that this is a high sec pocket and is ONLY accessible through either null security space, a few low security routes, or a fortuitous wormhole connection.

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