APPENDIX VI: Getting Around Galactic Maps
- By: Fireangel
- Coreward – towards the center of the galaxy
- Rimward – towards the edge of the galaxy
- Spinward – clockwise, as seen from Galactic North
- Anti-Spinward – (AKA Dragward) counter-clockwise, as seen from Galactic North
- Galactic North – The side of the galactic disc that does NOT include the Magellanic Clouds
- Galactic South – The side of the galactic disc that DOES include the Magellanic Clouds
- (Planet Name) Galactic Coordinate System – System wherein the planet in question sits at the center of a 360º circle with 0º placed at the galactic center. TOG uses the Terran Galactic Coordinate System, which is complimented by the Terran Constellation Galactic Map established in the early days of the Raj. Each world has established its own GCS, though most (with the exception of TOG) prefer to use a (System Name) GCS.
- (System Name) Galactic Coordinate System – System wherein the galactic center sits at the center of a 360º circle with 0º placed towards the planetary/solar system’s primary star. The Sol Galactic Coordinate System has been adopted by most Milky Way starfaring civilizations, including the KessRith, since each clan has its own system and none could agree on which KessRith system should be used as 0º, it was decided that the SolGCS would be used as a “neutral” (particularly since the human's galactic map was objectively more complete than their own). The Vauvasar also use the SolGCS for Milky Way mapping purposes.
Note that other cultures have systems for measuring angles in a full arc not based on 360º.
Old v. New MapsEdit
Let’s compare the newer galactic map with the original one presented in the original FASA books:
The grid immediately becomes obvious, with each square representing 10,000 from one side to the other; it is easy to use for basic reference, but non-sensical if more detailed distances are required.
It should also be obvious that the actual image of the galaxy is based on a thirty-year-old outdated model of the Milky Way.
We’ll keep the basics and update the map.
As can be seen, astronomy has advanced quite a bit since the original map was drawn; the shape of the galaxy has been defined with greater precision, making the previous map obsolete on several fronts.
With the new map, we try to keep as much of the old version while better reflecting the real shape of the galaxy; this means that in several cases the regions have actually grown in sheer area (each concentric ring marks 5,000 LY).
In the original map several areas were not “covered” as part of a territory (note the rimward tip of the Orion Spur); this is reflected by the bands outside the recognized regions between 150˚ and 270˚ TGCS Galactic Longitude.
The dragward ends of the Outer Arm and the Perseus Arm may well include the Free Naram States as well as Free Trader worlds and other lesser groups; the sheer expanses of empty space between the arms making travel there impractical.
It should be noted that there are no hard borders with the galactic center; this is simply because travel through the galactic center is simply not done due to navigational hazards and a lack of habitable systems.
Also of note is the unclaimed space between the Ssora District and the rest of TOG space, present in the original map, we can see that it includes a spur of the Norma Arm and associated dragward trails.
Constellation Map of the GalaxyEdit
Early in their explorations, Earth humans mapped the galaxy based on the stellar constellations visible from Earth. Though the method is far obsolete, in common parlance many former colonies describe themselves by (constellation) Sector (e.g. Gemini Sector). Many "legacy" Legions from the early Republic era still carry their "constellation" designation.