There are times when one is writing a science fiction story or novel and they find they’re uninspired with what the characters can see out of the porthole or projected on the viewscreens. You can go with the generic star field and maybe some Star Trek-ish warp distortion, but what if you want more?
One of the cool things about the US government is they produce a lot of fascinating educational material that is exploding with goodness for sci fi writers.
Let’s say your character’s ship is slipping inside a nebula to hide from the enemy. Hey it (almost) worked for Khan Noonien Singh!
Do you know what makes up a nebula? Are you aware that there may be a tiny spinning pulsar, a neutron star that is compressed so densely that a teaspoon would weigh hundreds of tons back on Earth, hiding in all of that exploded matter? What makes all of those pretty colors?
I’m adding a beautiful yet fascinating (add Spock eyebrow lift here) video that runs through what makes up a cloud of “stuff” after a star explodes, 936 years ago for this particular event thanks to Chinese historians who wrote about a “guest star” appearing in the sky that was so bright it could be seen during daylight and took years to fade from view. It’s more than just pretty clouds in space.
Please note that most of the rich colors are added artificially so humans can “see” them. Our vision is rather limited to visible light only, so layering on infrared and x-ray using false (but oh so pretty) colors allows us to appreciate the astounding and complex structure that makes up a nebula. Next time, think about the consequences of flying too close to the high-energy pulsar or through one of the jets. What if you passed through the high-energy accretion disk of material spinning around the neutron star? Would future generations see racing through nebulae and leaving a trail of dead star matter in your wake disrespectful of the civilizations that may have lived there before the star went nova?
For those folks who could use this kind of mind expansion and educational material for their work, make sure you subscribe and select notify on the Hubble Space Telescope YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqvjEkH_41m4DYaoNQwk4Bw