I will post the map of the galaxy for starters (can I make this smaller?):
I'm not exactly sure how it would translate to English, but right-click the screenshot when it is on your HD somewhere, and select the option "edit"(or something similair). Go to something like properties and adjust its scale or stretch/shrink the screeny.
If you use an uploadsite like photobucket it does already make a second smaller screenshot, called a thumbnail, that you can show on sites in such way that when you click the thumbnail you go you to full size screenshot.http://photobucket.com/
(Seems you now have to register, but it still is free.)
Concerning a starting-planet. Dont bother too much about how many gates there are leading to the planet. Depending on your starting-strat this can work in your favour or against you.
For instance lots of neighbouring planets means you have plenty of mk1-planets to expand to and so likelly will be able to get an econ going before you neuter your first mk2-planet. It also means you 'could' create a situation where for the first couple of hours you never have to fear a wave on any other planet than your homeplanet (leave at least 1 adjacent gate and raid anything that could trigger waves on other planets, it saves you having to set up defences all over the place early game).
On the other hand, when surrounded you could become overwelmed if you tease the AI a lot and dont take care of the situation you created .. in time. Few planets surrounding you means you can quickly remove any threat from direct border-hostilities/waves, in effect never putting any defences on your homeplanet and so creating a situation where you can actually defend in depth(early game), if needed.
In short, it depends on how you play, what type of map, what type of AI, and which AI-plots/minor-factions you enabled. Have fun figuring out where your limitations are
(There is just sooooo much difference you can create by changing some settings and/or generating an other map.)
Edit: Planets bordering your homeplanet are mk1-planets, the rest is mk2, or whatever higher mark which it will show. Dont be afraid to leave some mk1-planets on alert, however always try to prevent leaving mk2 and higher planets on alert without
cleaning them of guard-posts. The more posts on planet, the larger the AI-force on that planet is allowed to become. On higher difficulties it becomes almost impossible to clean out mk4-planets that have been on alert for a long time without clearing them of posts, make sure you prevent this ever happening.
Dont bother taking planets for their IONs, or perhaps do, as you're still learning the game
(I would advice you to drop your plan to take the P7 planet, as it will alert a mk4-planet, or you should also take that planet, or neuter it.)