The original Stellar Cartography was an add-on for VGA Planets that introduced star clusters, planetoids and debris disks, nebulae, and cloudy ion storms. Here at Planets.nu, that content has been adapted for our use in selected games.
A star cluster centers on an uninhabitable planet that cannot be reached by ships. At the core is an impassible field that destroys anything it touches (including ships, ion storms, and minefields). This is surrounded by a wide radiation belt that kills a ship's crew and colonists in cargo at a variable level depending on how close to the center they happen to be. Star clusters exist in multiple strengths and varieties.
A stronger and more powerful starbase can be built by most races over any planet in a star cluster. This base costs more but has stronger defenses; it's built in the same manner as any other base.
Some ships come equipped with radiation shielding that permits them and their cargo to pass unscathed through a star cluster.
Ships that have lost their full crew to radiation are known as "ghost ships". They can be captured by another vessel that locks a tow beam onto them, or at a friendly starbase. As ghost ships, they count against the Ship Limit but belong to no particular race. Ghost ships cannot fight or function.
A nebula is a dark spot on the map through which ships and planets cannot be seen using standard scan. The visibility range is limited to a variable range, depending on the density of the nebula. Please note that such abilities as "Dark Sense" function normally here. Basic cloaking devices are rendered nonfunctional by a nebula, but Advanced cloaking devices function properly.
As opposed to normal ion storms , the cloudy ion storms used in Stellar Cartography have variable strength across their irregular fields, and usually contain at least two distinct centers. Complex storms change faster than standard storms. In addition, they merge and are destroyed a bit differently.
Debris disks are formed when a planet was destroyed (usually during the pre-game setup). Small planetoids within the disks may be colonized and mining bases (smaller and less expensive than a standard starbase) can be constructed above them.
Wormholes are transient natural phenomena that allow starships to move vast distances quickly. Wormholes may provide transportation in either one direction or both. It is believed that the Chunnel abilities of the Cyborg were developed based on this.