Having just compiled FreeOrion, I started it up, made a new large galaxy, and saw this:
I think something needs to be done to make the game stars more distinct from the background stars when zoomed out (without starlanes visible)
I'd suggest reducing the density of the background stars first... and making them a bit fainter and/or blurring them slightly. Could also replace some of them with sprites of galaxies or nebulae or other such things.
Animating the forground stars would also help, and that's being discussed. More so than animating them, though, they need to be brighter, at least in comparison to the background.
There needs to be a low end limit on the scaling of the star sprites. Now, they end up being a single pixel, or less than a pixel, when fully zoomed out.
Regarding the system info sidebar:
I don't think asteroid belts should be labelled numerically as planets. For example, the asteroids in earth's solar system aren't "Sol V" ... (Jupiter is)
I dislike the feedback on the focus selection buttons when clicked. Instead of dropping down and to the right, they should highlight with a "glow" while the mousebutton is down. Having them move down to the right is odd, I find, when the UI feature itself is based around different "directions" representing different things... down to the right is the research button... having the buttons move around, even just a little, seems ill-advised
In the image above, the star covers up the system summary for # of production and defence bases. Need to put an outline / box around those numbers or move them or the star so they're on a black background. The system name is also hard to read, due to being over the star, so also needs a background / move.
Regarding the galaxy map fleet icon:
The mouseover feedback is good, but should depend on whether the mouse is in the area of the larger of the two sizes (size when highlighted) and not the smaller (size when not highlighted), or, even better, depend on the smaller size to be highlighted, but only unhighlight when cursor has moved out of area of enlarged icon.