Hourglass Twins

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Hourglass Twins
Hourglass twins.png
Type Binary Planet
Gravity 0.6 to 0.8 g
Inhabitants Chert
Location 1st Planet from Sun

The Hourglass Twins are binary planets orbiting each other. Ember Twin is mostly desert rock, and Ash Twin is almost entirely made of sand. Both planets orbit very closely to the Sun.

The twin planets' gravitational pull on each other changes from time to time, resulting in a natural phenomenon where sand is passed between the two, creating the "hourglass" effect.

One minute into the game, the Ember Twin will start to pull sand from the Ash Twin. Once the flow of sand stops, the current cycle will shortly come to an end.

Description[edit | edit source]

The Hourglass Twins are the closest celestial bodies to the Sun (excluding The Interloper at its periapsis and the Sun Station). As they are relatively small planets, gravity is low compared to Timber Hearth, but not as low as The Interloper.

Sand Transfer[edit | edit source]

Over time, starting one minute into the game, sand will transfer from the sand planet to the rock planet, filling the insides (including the ruins) with sand. Like an hourglass, all of the sand is on the Ash Twin at first, but then transfers to the Ember Twin for 20 minutes. When the Sun goes supernova and the current cycle ends, all of the sand will be on the Ember Twin.

Ember Twin[edit | edit source]

Ember Twin is primarily made of rock, with cacti and various rock formations on the surface. There is a cave system with multiple entries, which lead to and feature various Nomai structures and artworks. As sand begins transferring to the planet after a minute, the caves and interior of the planet soon become inaccessible, preventing the player from entering the caves or trapping them inside. Chert sits in their camp atop the north pole of the planet, playing their drums.

Anglerfish Fossil[edit | edit source]

A fossil of an Anglerfish can be found within the cave system. The only way to access this area is by passing through The Sunless City. How the Anglerfish came to be on Ember Twin is unknown.

High Energy Lab[edit | edit source]

An intact Nomai structure can be found near the equator known as the High Energy Lab. The entrance to this structure can be found near the surface of the site, but the mechanism to open the door is broken from the outside. An alternate route can be found at the lowest level of The Sunless City, however this area is quick to be blocked off by sand, and so the player must be quick to access it. There is another way through the surface, but is covered with Ghost Matter, and the player needs to be quick to access the High Energy Lab this way. But it is much faster than accessing it from the Sunless City.

After the Nomai discovered the discrepant readings from the White Hole Station, Pye and Ramie were assigned to the High Energy Lab to attempt to recreate the phenomena. While Ramie believed that there was time warping going on, Pye remained convinced that it was a measuring error in their equipment that was causing the negative difference between arrival and departure times. After rerouting power fom the Sunless City to the Lab, they were able to recreate the experiment on a larger scale, proving that the holes were warping objects before they actually went through, much to the excitement of both scientists. This prompted the Nomai at the Southern Observatory to ask if this could be expanded to form a 22-minute jump, which became the Ash Twin Project.

Chert's Camp[edit | edit source]

Chert can be found playing their drums in their camp, which is sited on Ember Twin's north pole. Their camp is filled with astronomy equipment. As with other occupied camps, the player can refill their oxygen and jetpack fuel here.

Escape Pod 2[edit | edit source]

A Nomai escape pod can be found near Ember Twin's south pole detailing the events of their arrival on Ember twin. The escape pod is embedded into the crust of the planet and creates an opening into the large cave system, which eventually leads to the Sunless City

Sunless City[edit | edit source]

The Sunless City is a large Nomai ruin located deep within the cave systems of Ember Twin. By following written directions left behind by the Nomai, the player must navigate through a labyrinth of dark tunnels to reach the city. The city itself is divided into four different districts much like the Hanging City located on Brittle Hollow.

The lowest and first district leads to a pathway that must be used to gain access to the High Energy Lab. This district is the first to be blocked off by sand and this happens early during the cycle. It is recommended for players seeking access to the High Energy Lab visit this district first. The pathway can be hazardous to the player as it contains a large amount of cacti. Some chambers also lead to dead ends and the player can become trapped very easily by the rapidly rising sand.

The second district is known as the "Stepping stone" district, is where the player will encounter a large open chamber with minimal footing, falling in this area could cause the player to hit a cactus and damage themselves. In this chamber is the only access to the Anglerfish Fossil, however the entrance itself is hidden. Following the chamber to the end leads to more Nomai ruins and eventually loops back around to the main area of The Sunless City.

The Third district is known as "Anglerfish Overlook" and leads to a cave where the player can view the Anglerfish Fossil from above, however there is no way to access the fossil from here. This district is also the entrance to The Sunless city from Escape Pod 2 but due to falling sand, there is no way back.

The Fourth district, known as "The Eye District" is the highest district, and acts as a temple. This district contains lots of information regarding the Nomai and their search for the Eye of the Universe. This ground floor of this ruin is covered with Ghost Matter, should the player fall into it they will likely die within seconds.

There is a fifth area at the top of The Sunless City, above the entrance to Anglerfish Overlook. This area leads to a small tunnel with an opening at the far side that can be used to reach the Gravity Cannon. The player may use this hole as an easier way to access The Sunless City in future cycles.

Quantum Moon Locator[edit | edit source]

On the south pole of the Ember Twin lies the Quantum Moon Locator. This device was built by the Nomai to locate and track the Quantum Moon. On the device itself there are five different symbols, each depicting a different celestial body in the solar system, each symbol points toward its respective planet. The fifth symbol shows the location of the Quantum Moon and which body it is currently orbiting. Nearby is a small Nomai ruin with information regarding the device.

Gravity Cannon[edit | edit source]

A huge cylindrical structure can be found near the equator of Ember Twin that can be accessed from the surface. There is a door leading into The Sunless City that can be opened from the outside, shortly after entering there is a pit with cacti blocking the way that you can cross using careful jetpack control, thus The Sunless City can be accessed from here. At the bottom of the cylinder lies a control panel that grants the player the ability to recall a Nomai shuttle from its current destination back to the launch pad. The panel also allows the player to launch the shuttle, and anything resting on the pad, into space at a high velocity. Whilst the shuttle is landed at the pad the player can access the inside to find out more about its destination and crew.

Texts and recordings[edit | edit source]

Ash Twin[edit | edit source]

Ash Twin is initially filled with sand, however as the game progresses, the sand drains away revealing the Ash Twin Towers.

Ash Twin Towers[edit | edit source]

As more of the sand on the surface of the Ash Twin transfers to the Ember Twin, more of the structures buried within are revealed. These structures are a set of towers built by the Nomai to act as teleporters to various locations throughout the solar system.

Each tower visually represents the planet it connects to (for example, the Sun Station's tower looks like a sun, while Giant's Deep's tower resembles a cyclone) and contains a teleporter pad that the player can use to warp immediately to and from the associated location. The player can be teleported to the Sun Station, Brittle Hollow, Giant's Deep, Timber Hearth, Ember Twin and to the Ash Twin Project.

The towers were presumably designed by Phlox, and the warp cores inside were created at the Black Hole Forge.

Ash Twin Project[edit | edit source]

The Ash Twin Project is a Nomai facility located within the core of the Ash twin itself. It is powered by the Advanced Warp Core, and runs the very time loop that the player experiences throughout the game. The conscious memories of a lifeform that paired with one of the Nomai Statues are stored here, allowing for the player to spawn exactly where they started while still retaining their memories from the previous loop. It consists of a long pathway with two Nomai switches at the end. One switch powers the artificial gravity that allows for the player to stay on the pathway (it spins at incredible speeds) and the other opens/closes the encasement that holds the Advanced Warp Core. On the walls throughout the pathway, you can find many Nomai scripts detailing the creation of the Ash Twin Project. It is to be noted that the facility needs the power from a supernova to activate. This was originally supposed to have happened with some help from the Sun Station, but it failed to prompt the Sun's explosion. Though the Nomai in the Outer Wilds star system died out well before they could ever activate the ATP, it actually ends up activating naturally, as the supernova at the end of each of the player's time loops activates the machine.

Texts and recordings[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • The semimajor axis of the twins' barycenter is 5km. [1]
  • The twins orbit very close to the Sun, and thus it is not recommended to use the autopilot, as there is a large chance that it will try to fly through it.
  • Although the pillar of sand does not hurt the player directly, it can drag both the player and their ship up into Ember Twin from the Ash Twin, possibly resulting in a crash that will damage or kill the player.
  • If the player gets caught in the sand pillar whilst in their ship on the Ember Twin, they will be pinned to the ground unable to move for the duration they are covered. It is possible for the ship to become embedded into the sand during this and so unable to move at all.
  • For more information regarding the Hourglass Twins in the Alpha version of the game, see: Hourglass Twins (Alpha)

References[edit | edit source]

  1. provided by the Lore Explorer