Sunday, January 30, 2011

Solar System Map to the Twelve Colonies of Kobol

Just came across this bit of news about Battlestar Galactica. A map of the solar system of the Twelve Colonies design by BG writer Jane Espenson and science advisor Kevin Grazier. Actual artwork done by Geoffrey Mandel.

First of all, the map is a work of art and is very beautiful. so much detail to try and soak up. Another thing - since it comes from the staff of the tv series Caprica; its now cannon. This is the OFFICIAL map of the colonies at the time of the start of the Battlestar Galactica movie/tv series.

Quoting from the io9 article about the map:

Not only is this map a thing of great beauty, but it's totally official — Grazier was science advisor for Battlestar Galactica from the very beginning, and helped to define a lot of the show's concepts. And Espenson, as the original showrunner for the prequel series Caprica, had to do a lot of thinking about exactly how the Twelve Colonies were laid out. This info comes straight from the creators — and from the showrunner's bible for BSG and Caprica. And Grazier, who works at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, verifies that the info in this map is "scientifically plausible." It was created by Hollywood graphic designer Geoffrey Mandel, who made countless adjustments as the technical data underwent scrutiny.

We're excited to present an exclusive high-res image of the map, which sells for $14.95 from Quantum Mechanix and measures 27" by 39". This is one item that should definitely be on your Dradis.

We asked Espenson and Grazier some questions about the map, and they ended up telling us a lot more about the science and backstory of Battlestar Galactica:

I didn't realize there were four different stars in the Cyrannus star system. I had always wondered if there were just 12 habitable planets clustered around a single sun. Where did the idea of four different stars come from? Was this in the show bible someplace? I'm especially curious about Leonis, the "heart of the colonies," which I don't think we ever heard about. Also, Scorpion, the "playground of the colonies." Is that the colonial version of Risa?

Jane(Espenson): Even back before Caprica the show existed, I believe Kevin and I had talked a bit about the configuration of the colonies. All the work on that is his. I instinctively loved the idea of a star cluster. The idea of 12 habitable planets all orbiting one star just seemed unworkable. And crowded. This group of stars makes so much sense. Kevin was at work on the configuration of stars and planets long before we shot a single frame.

Kevin(Grazier): Indeed, the instant Ron hired me on BSG, I was so excited, I went home, read the series bible and the first two scripts for "33" and "Water", then proceeded to hack out a document on the astronomy of the Twelve Colonies – how might we get twelve habitable planets in one star system (which is stated in Ron's series bible).

I (Charlie Jane Anders) suggested that either the Twelve Colonies are spread across a couple neighboring stars at the edge of a star cluster, OR that they were orbiting a multiple star system like Castor (six stars in three binary pairs), or a summer target well-known to amateur astronomers, Epsilon Lyrae (the famous double-double star). The latter became our touchstone for the star system that supported the planets of the Twelve Colonies. end quote.

There you go - a guide to what was once the Twelve Colonies of Kobol. Now in control of the Cylons!

1. by Charlie Jane Anders.(
2. Quantum Mechanix (

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