A solar system (more properly, star system or stellar system) is a grouping of one or more stars, commonly orbited by one or more planets and various other cosmic detritus.
Transformers typically travel to different star systems in the course of their adventures. As star systems are generally several light years apart, this requires some sort of faster-than-light propulsion, or an instantaneous gateway system of some kind, such as a space bridge.
Notable solar systems in Transformers fiction include:
- The Sol system, dominated by the sun, appears in almost every Transformers story. Its known orbital bodies include:
- The Alpha Centauri system, home to the planet Cybertron.
- An unnamed system where the Matrix Quest took place, home to the following planets:
- The Lambda Scorpii system, also home to the planet Cybertron.
- The Kol system, home to the planet Varas Centralus.
- The Eigerson-48 system, home to the planet Mumu-Obscura.
Those poor, confused writers
A star system should not be confused with a galaxy, which is a massive grouping of millions of star systems. A single galaxy is unfathomably huge, with our own Milky Way Galaxy containing several hundred billion stars. The distances between galaxies are several orders of magnitude greater than the distances between the star systems they contain.
Unfortunately, in Transformers fiction, "galaxy" is frequently used in places where "star system" makes a lot more sense, or at least is not as jarring. Given that all interstellar travel is based on fictional technologies, it's not inconceivable that characters might actually come from or travel to other galaxies. But the notion seems an unnecessary complication at best (a single galaxy is a more-than-ample playground for fictional adventures) and often outright contradicts information given elsewhere. Cartoon animation, for example, almost never supports the idea that characters actually leave the Milky Way galaxy.
Notable examples of galaxy/solar system confusion include:
- "The Test"
- "Primal Fear!", in which the Decepticon Warworld is said to be operating in "another galaxy".
- The Energon episode "The Return of Demolishor" features Kicker narrating, "We warped into another galaxy on the outer reaches of the solar system."
- Prime Directives issue 2, as Megatron describes searching "countless solar spans, through myriad galaxies, nebulae and systems".
- Transformers: Beginnings: In a voiceover monologue not taken from the comic version, Bumblebee announces his arrival in the Milky Way galaxy, despite Optimus Prime's opening narration for the movie, where he stated that the Autobots "scattered across the galaxy", thus implying that Cybertron is located within the Milky Way galaxy.
- The Reign of Starscream issue 1: Despite Optimus Prime's aforementioned opening narration for the movie, Starscream claims in this issue that the All Spark's journey ends "galaxies away" when it arrives on Earth. (Issue 5 later corrects this.)
Remarkably, the Generation One cartoon seems to portray Cybertron consistently as being originally located outside our galaxy. The episode "Roll For It" shows Cybertron outside of a spiral galaxy (though it is also shown against a field of stars, instead of the empty black void that should be there if it's located in inter-galactic space). The episode later shows a rather confusing visual of the space bridge energy beam emanating from an empty point in space alongside a galaxy, but not going into the galaxy. Later, in "The Ultimate Doom", Optimus Prime comments that the pylons of the Decepticons' Cybertron-centered space bridge "form a pyramid, with the apex beyond this galaxy."