In tribute of Stephen Hawking, EVE Online pilots lit beacons all across its galaxy

Science fiction owes a great deal to Stephen Hawking. His groundbreaking theories in astrophysics and cosmology helped cement our understanding of everything from black holes to relativity. And when he passed away at the age of 76, players in the EVE Online community decided to recognize his contributions to science in their own way by covering the night sky in beacons.

Called cynosural beacons, these modules emit a bright, radiant light and are used to open jump bridges that ships can use as a warp destination. On a normal day, seeing a cynosural beacon flare up is reason to panic—it often signals the cavalry has arrived to obliterate you. But yesterday and today, the beacons are appearing all across space as tribute to Hawking and his achievements.

The passing of Hawking has even inspired one pilot to travel to the system of Molea, the location of EVE's own player-run graveyard, where they plan on leaving a memorial for him

Thanks to a Reddit thread by 'kairiola,' pilots all across New Eden began lighting beacons at 22:00 UTC, with many staying lit for hours. Due to in-game rules, cynosural beacons can only be lit in null-sec and low-sec areas of space, where there's no real NPC police force to protect you. The image below is a heat map of New Eden showing the density of cynosural beacons, with massive colorations representing hundreds of lit beacons.

Image credit:  TiberClybouw on Imgur.

Here are some actual in-space shots of beacons lit all around New Eden. If you're having trouble identifying them, they look like distant galaxies.

Steven Messner

With over 7 years of experience with in-depth feature reporting, Steven's mission is to chronicle the fascinating ways that games intersect our lives. Whether it's colossal in-game wars in an MMO, or long-haul truckers who turn to games to protect them from the loneliness of the open road, Steven tries to unearth PC gaming's greatest untold stories. His love of PC gaming started extremely early. Without money to spend, he spent an entire day watching the progress bar on a 25mb download of the Heroes of Might and Magic 2 demo that he then played for at least a hundred hours. It was a good demo.