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A Rare Star Indeed

The other star that occupies most of the sky during Building Victoria, is Kapteyn's Star. I find this start to be incredibly fascinating. From its unusual name, to its origins, it is a star like few in our neighborhood.

To begin, it is a Red Dwarf star. Red Dwarfs are the most common stars in the universe (we think--they certainly are in our galaxy) and if you look up at the night sky, you cannot see a single one of them.

That's right, not one. The most common star (by a long, long way) and you can't see any with the naked eye. The reason is that they're just too darn dim.

The Kap (as the characters take to calling it) is not the first red dwarf the Intrepid has encountered. Their first encounter was with LHS 1565 (which they later name Estrella de la Muerte). That red dwarf was very small and very dim. Not significantly larger than Jupiter.

The Kap, however, is a rare specimen amongst these common red stars. Let’s run through what makes it so special.

1. It's not from our galaxy

That's right, The Kap is an extra-galactic interloper. Its galaxy was devoured by the Milky Way billions of years ago.

2. It doesn't rotate around the galactic core in the same way as other stars

The Kap is on more of a polar orbit. It only spends a short period of time in the galactic disk, and then shoots out, far above or below the plane of the galaxy. Most of the time, were you to be living around Kapteyn's Star, you would see the Milky Way from above or below, not from within.

Moreover, it orbits retrograde (in the opposite direction) of other stars in the galaxy.

3. It is ANCIENT

Astronomers postulate that The Kap is from the Omega Centuari Globular Cluster, which is the remnant of a dwarf galaxy that the Milky Way absorbed long ago.

Omega Centuari is 12 billion years old, and it is estimated that The Kap formed shortly after, making giving it a birthday only 1-2 billion years after that of the universe itself. At that point there were few stars, and The Kap shone in a much darker universe, possibly one where few stars would be visible at all from the surfaces of its worlds.

4. It has solid planets

Most stars of that age do not have terrestrial worlds (at least, none that we have found). Kapteyn b, which the colonists name Victoria, is the oldest known potentially habitable planet we have found.

The rocks under Landfall could be twice as old as our own Sun!

To think of it, the world of Victoria, one side boiling, the other freezing, quietly drifted around its star for billions of years. It saw its parent star subsumed by the Milky Way, and often sees the Milky Way from above and below, hundreds of thousands of lightyears away.

It was lifeless and barren.

Until one day, two ships appeared above it, and life came to visit.