The observation deck is a special deck aboard many Stenza vessels which allows the observation of passing space. Befitting this function, it is typically positioned near the "edge" of a vessel, and is consequently considered to not serve any essential functions should the vessel be attacked.
Purpose / Function
The primary purpose of an observation deck was originally to allow astronomers to continue their work aboard ships. This is useful when the ships remain in system, but the math becomes much trickier when many millions of lightyears are factored into the equation. Many modern astronomers rely on computer models and measurements rather than observing the stars for themselves, unless that kind of observation allows them to check or refute some point. In modern times, observation decks are commonly put to use as places of quiet reflection by religious and nonreligious people alike. The sight of the void tends to have a calming effect on Stenza and "remind them of home", as it is commonly akin to the night sky as seen from the Ice Flats region of Mudewei. This positive effect on psychological wellbeing, especially among Stenza who are stationed on ships and stations longterm, is the primary reason observation decks remain in use.
The average observation deck is ovoid or shaped as a long diamond or similar polygon, and is almost completely featureless except for the vast, dome-like crystal-glass ceiling, which allows an unobstructed view of open space.
Observation decks typically have one or two entrances, at either end of the oval or long-polygon shape, which may connect to elevators, teleport accesses, or corridors leading to the rest of the ship. (In theory, one could shatter the glass ceiling, literally, but this is ill-advised considering the vacuum of space beyond.)
Sensory & Appearance
The very first thing one notices upon entering an observation deck is the vastness of space beyond the window. The open bareness of the rest of the deck is designed to facilitate the impact the view has on occupants, allowing the scenery to fade away in favor of the star-speckled void beyond. Some people who have been in observation decks say that they have had spiritual experiences because of it.
Contents & Furnishings
Observation decks are almost universally devoid of furnishings, meaning people who visit the deck tend to either stand or, more often, lay on the floor to gaze up at the open vastness beyond the ship.
By imperial law, observation decks must be sealed off from the void, and the reinforced crystal making up the dome must be of the highest quality and tested for conditions common in space (such as vacuum conditions and solar radiation).