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Galactic Map

By DonSimpson
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38 Comments
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An alien map of our galaxy, done as a costume prop back in 1996. It's somewhat schematic, but the Orion Arm is at the top. This uses fonts of my own design, and was done in Freehand as a 8.5 x 11 inch file at a resolution of 600dpi. The download is nowhere near full resolution.

UPDATE: Recent articles indicate that our galaxy is the sort that has two major arms, so this, being based on earlier surmises, is obsolete. Maybe I will do a more up-to-date version later.
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© 2010 - 2020 DonSimpson
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anonymous's avatar
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Charanty's avatar
Looks awesome!
DonSimpson's avatar
Thank you. :)
BabakoSen's avatar
BabakoSenHobbyist General Artist
I love that font; I'd love to see that on some metalwork.
1996, huh? I think it'd be cool to see this reworked to account for the more-recently discovered bar at the center of our galaxy.
DonSimpson's avatar
I have a leather vest with that font on the back (as part of a large eye and triskele design). :)

I try to keep up with science news, but I'd totally missed that ours is a barred galaxy. I have googled the diagrams, and am considering. :) I've been interested in galactic structure for decades. back in the 60s, Dan Alderson told me about a phenomenon called "star rings", that supposedly indicated the shape of the parts of our galaxy that were not directly observable, but I couldn't track that down, even at the University of California Astronomy Library. The structure in Whyrl is based on best guesses for the time, fudged a bit and then highly stylized. I'm hoping the new information will be in the upcoming edition of The Astronomical Companion, my favorite astronomy reference.

Alderson, who did computer work for Jet Propulsion Laboratory, wrote a Fortran program that converted the near stars data into XYZ coordinates (for both ecliptic and galactic XY planes), which let me build an edition of 3D star maps using glass beads (coded by size for absolute magnitude and by color for spectral class), which I sold to various science fiction authors and fans in the Los Angeles area.
BabakoSen's avatar
BabakoSenHobbyist General Artist
Wow, really?! Do you have a photo of one?
DonSimpson's avatar
Yes, really. :) I never got any photographs, but I have managed to find my second prototype on a basement shelf behind boxes, with several decades worth of dust and cobwebs on it. I suspect it won't photograph well, even if cleaned up, because a stereo view (or holding it and moving it around) is needed to appreciate it. My first prototype was made by sticking carefully cut lengths of spaghetti into holes poked in a square of thick corrugated cardboard, with the top ends of the spaghetti strands indicating the star positions. It has long since fallen apart. The second prototype is two plates of clear acrylic with drilled holes, held apart by acrylic rods glued at the corners. Black threads are tied to small beads and fed down through the holes in the top plate, looped through the beads representing stars, and then put through the lower plate holes and clamped with small slotted squares of vinyl sheeting. The result is a six-inch cube showing most of the 100 nearest stars in their correct 3D relationship, though the "stars" are much larger than scale. Not very high tech; and the ones I made for sale were just scaled up, more carefully made versions of the second prototype, with a removable sheath of four walls, two adjacent clear ones and two black, that fit around the outside (this was something that Alderson suggested, and it was a great visual improvement).
Maiconmzp's avatar
MaiconmzpHobbyist Digital Artist
Wow, 600 dpi =O
I loved your idea, these circles mixed with some kind of tribal, very creative and original.
DonSimpson's avatar
Thank you. :)

600 dpi is the best my printer will do. It's an ancient one I got at a garage sale, but it was made for office work, so the quality is good.
ou8nrtist2's avatar
ou8nrtist2Professional
Great font Don.
I could see signing a sword blade with this script.
DonSimpson's avatar
Good idea. I'm tempted to ask you to design a sword. :)
ou8nrtist2's avatar
ou8nrtist2Professional
I'd love to collaborate with you on a piece Don.
I have a new sample of a forged twist pattern in 3/4 stainless square bar I'll be posting soon,which would be quite lovely for a short sword or dagger handle.
I just got a commission to use it for a (narrow)vertical style door knocker so the material cost is covered.
But as for a sword,I'm not really a bladesmith you understand,I'm really only a hiltmaker at this point.
Designing it though would be a lark.
I just watched the Lord of the rings trilogy again this week and was very inspired by the Elvish made daggers and swords...
DonSimpson's avatar
Well, I definitely already have too many projects....

The Lord of the Rings movies had some great designers. I think there is a book available that is just on the armor and weapons.
ou8nrtist2's avatar
ou8nrtist2Professional
I should find that then.
I know Weda Workshops is where much of the stuff was designed if not made as well.
DonSimpson's avatar
I heard they got pro swordsmiths to make the "hero" weapons.
ou8nrtist2's avatar
ou8nrtist2Professional
Yes,
What I read was that Peter Jackson was given the difference in the price point between making replicas and making real usable weapons ,and that it was so close he opted for the real thing.And i DO know Viggo Mortesen was carrying his sword with him everywhere he went for a full year before shooting to become completely familiar with it and to make it a part of him...
DonSimpson's avatar
Which is the sort of thing that would make having real weapons worthwhile, even if they cost lots more.
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savageworlds's avatar
I think I can see my mothership from here...;)


----
"If they have moving sidewalks in the future, when you get on them, I think you should have to assume sort of a walking shape so as not to frighten the dogs."
-(Jack Handey)
Ellygator's avatar
EllygatorHobbyist General Artist
Love the writing and overall composition!
DonSimpson's avatar
Thank you. :) The font turned out interesting as a colection of shapes, but I really like it as a tool for doing the composition.
Alpenminuial's avatar
AlpenminuialHobbyist Digital Artist
Very nice font!
DonSimpson's avatar
Thank you, :)
LordWobbler's avatar
LordWobblerHobbyist Artisan Crafter
Wonderful starmap/spellbook page!
anonymous's avatar
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