In some parts of Elite Dangerous space you can see distant black smudges between you and the bright galactic disk. If you find them on the galactic map they are described as Dark Zones, but the nearest is something like 450LY away.

What are they? Are they worth gearing up an explorer vessel to go and visit?

  • You will only know then answer if you gear up and explore. What I love about Elite:Dangerous is that there are no answers for you in general. You have to go and find out.
    – Adam Arold
    Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 17:33
  • 1
    @AdamArold what I also love about E:D is the community of players doing their own thing. I'm intrigued by these things, but probably not enough to spend my precious and sparse playtime converting my behind enemy lines undermine/hunter into an explorer and making the trek. I also suspect they're related to high value explorer missions that tend to appear in the systems closest to them, but I'm nowhere near the explorer rank to go find out yet. On the other hand, I bet some other explorer has.
    – Keith
    Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 17:41
  • Indeed. I don't know the answer to your question because I've just started E:D some days ago but I was a fan of E:F back then and E:D follows in its wake. This is why I just commented not answered. I expressed my view about this matter.
    – Adam Arold
    Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 18:51
  • They are nebulae. I've been to the Coalsack nebula. It's quite interesting to check it out, when you are inside the number of stars you can see drops substantially. You don't necessarily need a specially outfitted vessel to visit, so long as you have a sufficient jump range (if you travel closer to the galaxy centre star density will generally be increasing anyway).
    – SMeznaric
    Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 12:01
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    @DangerZone - Please don't edit questions that add the game name organically. We don't want it at the beginning, but otherwise, it's generally okay to leave it.
    – Frank
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 22:48

1 Answer 1


@Smeznaric is pretty much correct. The dark areas are dust clouds and\or nebulae that have not compressed enough to generate the thermal energy to start glowing. Flying into one of these dark areas has the effect of essentially blacking out the rest of the galaxy from your view, leaving you in a very dark place.

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