Saturday, December 31, 2011
View of the Xeelee Ring
The "full view" on this is fairly large (or at least I hope it is). But few subjects beg for a high res image as much as the immense alien structure at the heart of Stephen Baxter's mind-stretching book "Ring".
And very few subjects are as challenging to visualize. A full appreciation is only possible from reading the novel, but you may notice there are entire galaxies that appear in front of the Ring. This is due to the immense scale of the artifact - it is as wide as a hundred galaxies.
The structure is composed of a single strand of "string" - a defect in space-time - that is being woven from the crushed debris of countless whole galaxies. The mysterious Xeelee have been working on this project for quite some time - for several billion years in fact.
What is the purpose of such a monstrous construction? The Xeelee intend to use the Ring to initiate a "Kerr Metric" - in effect a doorway that exits the Universe. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerr_Metric
You may wonder at the reaons they undertake such a task, but I won't spoil the book!
So who are the Xeelee? They are the oldest sentient race in the Universe - and one of its greatest mysteries. But as one character states with regard to the Ring: "...that they have the audacity to even dream of such a device!"
Incidentally, those small points of light in the background aren't stars. The Ring occupies an immense empty void, and those lights back there are whole galaxies on the far side...
That's why I like science fiction...