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Thread: General Offer of Expertise

  1. #11
    Guild Member BlackChakram's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sozme View Post
    It is extremely difficult for me to actually place some of the homeworlds on a galaxy map because I am unsure about whether or not that specific spot is reasonable, whether or not that specific spot has a star system in it that is actually named, and whether or not there is some other identifying marker there that I could use in creating the map.
    Alright. A tall order, but I like challenges! Especially when my perfectionism gets to meet up with someone's clinical OCD

    1) Whether a specific spot is reasonable. This one is the easy one. Stars with planets that could be habitable can be found anywhere colored blue on the NASA map I linked before. That's pretty much everywhere except the core. Areas between the arms of the galaxy are sparse, so you'd likely not want to place a homeworld there. So anywhere labeled "arm" is 100% viable. No astronomer would argue with it. Additionally, with 400 billion stars in the galaxy, any spot you pick in the arms will have stars.

    2) Whether or not the spot you pick has a named star. This is a bit trickier, because it depends on what you mean by "named". We would all agree that Deneb is definitely a named star. But what about Rho Orionis or OGLE-2005-BLG-390L? Both of those are simply technical names for cataloguing. In most sci fi, these kinds of systems are renamed once they're explored, colonized, etc, so as long as your universe is set in the future, you could very plausibly come up with your own names for any star like this an no one would bat an eye. So how far out do the real names go? Well, stars with real names have roots in antiquity. In antiquity you could only name what you could see with the naked eye. The farthest star visible to the naked eye is the Hershel's Garnet Star, at about 10,000 light years from earth. Everything past that should only have a technical designation for a name.

    3) Other identifying markers. Here's the beauty. Beyond that ring at 10,000 light years mentioned above, the only stars with any measure of detailed information are the ones that are out of the ordinary. I.E. containing a black hole, a supergiant star about to go nova, one wth a discovered extrasolar planet etc. The good news is that since there are 400 billion stars, if you somehow pick a spot that has one of these, you just move over a few light years and bam, you have a nice, unnamed star that you can do whatever you want with. (For reference, though, the farthest star with extrasolar planets to date is OGLE-2005-BLG-390L, at about 25,000 light years.

    So the gist of it here is that if you pick anything past 25,000 light years and stick to the blue areas in the arms, no astronomer or professional could have any rational objection. If you want to pick things within 25,000 light years, consult me. I'm a school teacher, so I never say no to consulting money, but I also like helping people for free, so we can do things however you want.
    “What is a fantasy map but a space beyond which There Be Dragons? On the Discworld we know that There Be Dragons Everywhere. They might not all have scales and forked tongues, but they Be Here all right, grinning and jostling and trying to sell you souvenirs. ”
    ~~ Terry Pratchett

    - My fantasy gamebook
    - My old Traveller actual play podcast
    - My upcoming DND cloak and dagger actual play podcast

  2. #12
    Guild Member BlackChakram's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azelor View Post
    BlackChakram: I would like to hear what makes life and/or planet formation less probable. You said that being close to the center of the galaxy makes these impossible or being too close to a nebula. Are there other objects or phenomenons that might prevent the creation of life?
    Whoof. Another tall order. Naima, this will also apply to some of the stuff we have in the other thread.

    Alright. The basics of stellar formation.
    It starts with the death of another star. A supernova goes and a star blows off tons of material into space. The shock wave from this explosion hits other clouds of gas and dust that are scattered everywhere throughout the galaxy. These clouds are huge. Hundreds of light years across. And thin by human standards - if you were flying through one, you'd never know it. Anyway. This shock wave causes the giant cloud to start collapsing in on itself from the very weak but present gravity. As the cloud collapses, it starts to spin. Technically, it was spinning very slowly already, but the collapse makes it spin faster. (Like an ice skater pulling in her arms to spin faster.) As it collapses more, areas with just a little more density become "knots" of material that start pulling nearby gas in. Each of these knots - of which there are hundreds - will become a star system. Some knots are big and will make huge stars that die quickly and make more shock waves, most are small stars that will burn for tens of billions of years. Eventually, each little knot is dense enough to ignite fusion and a star is born. The pressure and radiation from the new star blows most of the gas to the "outer" parts of the system and the dust stays in the inner part of the system. The chunks of dust collide and grow until you have planets. In the outer areas, they do the same, but then start collecting gas, making gas giants. Some of these giants can then migrate inwards (through processes that are still only barely understood). Voila. A star system.

    So.... factors that can affect formation and life.

    Let's go back to when the knots are collapsing into stars. If we have a huge knot, it turns into a massive star. Massive stars live fast and die young. In fact, they die before a lot of the other star systems are done forming. They explode as supernovae and the explosion blows away the dust and gas from nearby systems, stripping them of any planets that may have been forming and usually blowing away some of the forming star as well. This is what makes habitability in a forming system difficult. Even if you're on the outskirts and in a system that's already formed, you're regularly getting flooded with radiation from exploding giant stars. And not UV "eh, I can handle it" radiation. It's X rays and gamma rays.

    If we have a migrating "hot jupiter", those usually sweep up and destroy forming planets as well, so if you make a system with a gas giant close to the star, reduce your number of rocky planets.

    That's what messes with formation. As for life, we already mentioned radiation. There's only one other rule. Water. Water is special in that its an excellent solvent for so many chemicals. Anything living has to be able to get information and nutrients around to the different parts of the body or cells. Liquids are the easiest way of doing this and water is one of only a few that genuinely work for all the complex molecules you'd need. (I'm not a biologist, so I can't tell you more than that.) Since liquid water is the only requirement, all you have to do is ask yourself, "is there a place on this planet where I can get liquid water?" For that, see this thread. So if you want to know what would prevent life, all you have to do is think on what could be preventing liquid water. Too hot, too cold, not enough air pressure, a planet with chemicals that react with water to remove it all, etc etc.
    “What is a fantasy map but a space beyond which There Be Dragons? On the Discworld we know that There Be Dragons Everywhere. They might not all have scales and forked tongues, but they Be Here all right, grinning and jostling and trying to sell you souvenirs. ”
    ~~ Terry Pratchett

    - My fantasy gamebook
    - My old Traveller actual play podcast
    - My upcoming DND cloak and dagger actual play podcast

  3. #13
      sozme is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azelor View Post
    are you creating a new galaxy or adding stars to the Milky way like in Mass effect?
    I'm just adding stars to the Milky Way. But my main issue is, if you look at the Mass Effect map, they've named certain regions of the galaxy and assert that there are alien worlds there. My thing is... Will I be able to place any homeworlds without putting them in an area where it wouldn't be found?

  4. #14
      sozme is offline
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    Thanks so much for your responses, I am planning on contacting you to see if you could help me further.

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      sozme is offline
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    Not sure if you got the message I sent? It isnt showing in my sent mail folder

  6. #16
    Guild Member BlackChakram's Avatar
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    Sent a reply. Mine isn't showing as sent either.
    “What is a fantasy map but a space beyond which There Be Dragons? On the Discworld we know that There Be Dragons Everywhere. They might not all have scales and forked tongues, but they Be Here all right, grinning and jostling and trying to sell you souvenirs. ”
    ~~ Terry Pratchett

    - My fantasy gamebook
    - My old Traveller actual play podcast
    - My upcoming DND cloak and dagger actual play podcast

  7. #17
      s0meguy is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackChakram View Post
    My pleasure! One of the things I love most about astronomy is that truth is way stranger than fiction!
    Can you give some examples of this? Really strange but plausible situations would be fun to play with.

    Another question: are "wormholes" or basically portals that human space ships could travel through to go to another far off part of space (like another galaxy) even remotely possible?

  8. #18
    Guild Member BlackChakram's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by s0meguy View Post
    Can you give some examples of this? Really strange but plausible situations would be fun to play with.

    Another question: are "wormholes" or basically portals that human space ships could travel through to go to another far off part of space (like another galaxy) even remotely possible?
    So the wormhole thing IS actually plausible, but definitely not doable. The problem is that the size of a wormhole in a black hole is ridiculously small. Like "black hole at the center of the galaxy would make a wormhole only a few nanometers in diameter" kind of thing. Easily good enough to send a tight-beam transmission, but likely not matter. Where they link is totally hypothetical, but I've heard everything from other wormholes to new universes. Whatever you want to do with them has probably been theorized.

    As for examples of the truth being stranger than fiction, about half the things on this list are crazy weird.
    Wikipedia List of Planet Types
    “What is a fantasy map but a space beyond which There Be Dragons? On the Discworld we know that There Be Dragons Everywhere. They might not all have scales and forked tongues, but they Be Here all right, grinning and jostling and trying to sell you souvenirs. ”
    ~~ Terry Pratchett

    - My fantasy gamebook
    - My old Traveller actual play podcast
    - My upcoming DND cloak and dagger actual play podcast

  9. #19
      s0meguy is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackChakram View Post
    So the wormhole thing IS actually plausible, but definitely not doable. The problem is that the size of a wormhole in a black hole is ridiculously small. Like "black hole at the center of the galaxy would make a wormhole only a few nanometers in diameter" kind of thing. Easily good enough to send a tight-beam transmission, but likely not matter. Where they link is totally hypothetical, but I've heard everything from other wormholes to new universes. Whatever you want to do with them has probably been theorized.

    As for examples of the truth being stranger than fiction, about half the things on this list are crazy weird.
    Wikipedia List of Planet Types
    Thanks. Are there good reasons to assume that the creation of such artificial wormholes/portals that connect one part of space to another is physically impossible, no matter how advanced and beyond our understanding the technology used to create them is?

    I wonder about the nature of the "electric planet" that is mentioned on that page, but there is no article for it, and I can't find anything about it either.

    What could a "Chthonian planet" look like? (A gas giant stripped of gas, leaving only it's core) From my limited understanding, it would basically be a huge terrestial planet, possibly with a remnant of the gas giant's atmosphere, still having an atmospheric density multiple times that of Earth. I suppose it would be difficult for such a planet to support life, also because to become a Chthonian planet in the first place, it would have to be close enough to a star for it to strip away its atmosphere. From what I have read, the composition of gas giant cores is unknown, and is only speculated. What would be some strange properties that such a planet could have, especially ones that would influence life on it?
    Last edited by s0meguy; 08-17-2014 at 10:18 PM.

  10. #20
      Azelor is online now
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    I guess getting near the black hole will wreck the ship due to the high gravity.

    Electric planet: it's wikipedia, maybe it does not even exist. What could it be? A planet made of electricity does not make sense.
    Maybe Venus could be considered an electric planet because of the omnipresent thunderstorms.

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