Harvoid Constellation meta
by Mike Selinker, Foggy Brume, Ian Tullis, and Meta Group B, cache locations by Stephen Peters, Zack Butler, Greg Lohman, and Graham Wright
Answer: EPSILON ERIDANI
The "galaxocaching" website looks suspiciously like geocaching.com, except it instructs teams to use their "Galactic Positioning Systems" to find caches on various stars. There are seven caches in Ursa Major (the Harvoid Constellation), but oddly, they all lead to the same place.
Like on most geocaches, each cache page contains a clue in rot13 (A=N, B=O, etc.). Here, the caches' clues can be strung together to create a bit of doggerel:
- When Algernon suffered
- His horrible crash
- He left you a clue
- In each galaxocache
- To order the clues as
- The stars you are spannin'
- You might Google "cache"
- And "Annie Jump Cannon"
Googling the delightfully science-fictiony astronomer "Annie Jump Cannon" and "cache" will bring up a real geocache called "Oh Be A Fine Girl, Kiss Me!" located not far from Harvard. The cache discusses in detail Ms. Jump Cannon's work on a star-type ordering system known as the “Oh Be A Fine Girl, Kiss Me” (OBAFGKM) method—a.k.a. the "Harvard scheme."
Each galaxocache has the following locator number, star correspondence, cache title, mnemonic word, cache location, and answer, presented in the order of the star mnemonic. Algernon has also left a codeword to open the virtual version of the cache puzzle.
|GXCPHCD||Phecda||Out Huntin'||OH||JFK School of Government||LEPER COLONY|
|GXCDUBH||Dubhe||Brodie Encounter||BE||between Aldrich and Burden||DRAMATIS PERSONAE|
|GXCALTH||Alioth||Aliotherapy||A||Harvard St. and Mass Ave||PSALM BOOK|
|GXCALKD||Alkaid||Friends In Noble England||FINE||Gund Graduate School of Design||PICCADILLY CIRCUS|
|GXCMIZR||Mizar||Growth Involves Reconstructing Legos||GIRL||Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts||TRAUMA CENTER|
|GXCMRAK||Mirak||Keep It Stylin', Stupid||KISS||Harvard Business School||INDETERMINATE EQUATION|
|GXCMGRZ||Megrez||Megrez Expedition||ME||Malkin Athletic Center||TUCSON, ARIZONA|
At the site of the geocache, players may sign the logbook. Algernon has already done so. In his note, he has added seven key words. These seven words are the entry passwords for each of the cache puzzles. Each is one or more pictures that solve to these entries:
- GXCPHCD (Phecda): LEPER COLONY
- GXCDUBH (Dubhe): DRAMATIS PERSONAE
- GXCALTH (Alioth): PSALM BOOK
- GXCALKD (Alkaid): PICCADILLY CIRCUS
- GXCMIZR (Mizar): TRAUMA CENTER
- GXCMRAK (Mirak): INDETERMINATE EQUATION
- GXCMGRZ (Megrez): TUCSON, ARIZONA
These solutions require the game's box cover to decode. The cover...
...can be paired with this constellation map, obtained on the galaxocaching site.
...this shows the matchup.
Overlay the starmap on the cover, and certain constellations will line up with different letters. By the standard constellation abbreviations, answers can be matched to two constellations each (Pictor and Circinus for PICCADILLY CIRCUS). Going to those constellations’ caching pages and looking at the cache names for each constellation will spell out a message in OBAFGKM order.
- Lepus (Lep) and Columba (Col): E-E
- Draco (Dra) and Perseus (Per): P-R
- Pisces Australus (PsA) and Bootes (Boo): S-I
- Pictor (Pic) and Circinus (Cir): I-D
- Triangulum Australe (TrA) and Centaurus (Cen): L-A
- Indus (Ind) and Equuleus (Equ): O-N
- Tucana (Tuc) and Aries (Ari): N-I
Reading the left-half letters, then the right, spells Algernon's location, EPSILON ERIDANI.