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Thread: Gliese 581-G (Just for fun)

  1. #1
    Guild Apprentice Podcreature's Avatar
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    Default Gliese 581-G (Just for fun)

    Edit: I suppose I should have posted this in "Finished Maps" but I don't know if I want to leave the coastline looking like this.

    Masking so many regions and doing canon research for my Pern project was very time consuming, so I decided to go ahead and finish a quick map for another project for the sake of testing my proposed work-flow. I'm not displeased, though I do welcome pointers on how I might have executed this better from a design/scientific angle. I'm probably going to take another crack at this type of planet in the future when I learn more.

    Has anyone else seen a rendering of Gliese 581-G aside from the one or three images you can find on Google? Would be neat to see more art of these "eyeball" worlds.

    In case some people are wondering what this is, Gliese 581-G is a theorized type of planet, earthlike in size, orbiting a red-dwarf star in the "goldilocks zone" (close enough to have liquid water.) The problem is that when a satellite orbits the cooler stars close enough to have liquid water, they become fixed in orbit, always facing one direction.

    Revolutions around the sun at this short distance would only take a little over 30 days! That's one short year... Anyway, this always facing one direction is the reason for some interesting geography. Scientists originally speculated that they must look like eyeballs. Not much going on tidally or anything, but if there were currents, and warm weather fronts, we'd (apparently) have an un-frozen area that looked like a lobster not an eye, lol. But I thought an eye-world was cooler.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Original PS base, made by pasting Earth, Mars and other space DEM data together.
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    A bit of Wilbur editing.

    I colored it in photoshop by using adjustment layers and gradient maps of various combinations. I also used Curves to select certain low and high areas from my base heightmap. I think the normal map I did needs to be inverted. Not sure.
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    Last edited by Podcreature; 03-30-2014 at 12:42 AM. Reason: changed image

  2. #2
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    That is a really cool idea, and nicely executed.
    "I like a look of agony, because I know it's true."

    -Emily Dickinson

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    Guild Adept Slylok's Avatar
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    I like this alot! I dont get how it would look lobster like instead of eyeball like. Does the planet spin perpendicularly to its sun?
    Our sense of the stability of the earth is an illusion due to the shortness of our lives.
    - Neil deGrasse Tyson


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    Guild Apprentice Podcreature's Avatar
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    Thanks Slylok, Diamond. I don't get the lobster shape either, actually... I understand winds, currents and convection distributing heat, but the shape would be dependent on the planet's topology too, and certainly on rotation. If the planet doesn't turn how can there be winds and currents? I think that's what you're getting at, and I agree. It was college students, I think, not astronomers who came up with that particular idea, but they are probably on the right track to use a 3D climate simulator. There's an article that talks about it here Full atmosphere-ocean model of a rotationally locked exoplanet | Ars Technica but it seems eyeball worlds are still accepted in the eye-shape overall, and that makes more sense. Clouds wouldn't swirl around, they'd just steam up around water and reflect the sun's rays, but also trap heat underneath that radiated from the central desert. The clouds would freeze, and deposit snow around the edge of the ocean. This would create a huge glacial range that's constantly encroaching on the sea, but melting at the same time. New research shows that being so close to the star produces a beneficial greenhouse effect, because intense UV radiation splits oxygen atoms and creates a thicker ozone layer around the planet as well, meaning the dark side of the planet doesn't quite get cold enough to freeze the atmosphere, and lock it away. This could happen to the water, but the ice-ring that forms from the clouds loitering around the sea creates an additional moisture barrier. All theory of course... Need more time and more ideas.

    Anyway, here's the map on a globe in ZBrush. Might need some tweaking still.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Podcreature; 04-01-2014 at 02:46 PM.

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    Guild Adept Slylok's Avatar
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    This also means that its always daytime here. I'd think the life on the planet would evolve alot differently than it does here. id imagine rings of different species of plants and animals around the steady temperatures and climates. How would intelligent beings here measure time? How did their skill of navigation evolve without being able to see stars in a night's sky? What does the food chain look like in the different areas? This is really fun to think about.

    the concept looks great. do you plan on taking it any further? does it have any moons?

    Edit: Actually since the sun is always in one place they would just need one star to navigate.
    Last edited by Slylok; 04-01-2014 at 03:03 PM.
    Our sense of the stability of the earth is an illusion due to the shortness of our lives.
    - Neil deGrasse Tyson


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    Those are helpful questions Slylok! Haha, ohright, the sun! It would be very interesting indeed, to think that if there's a highly evolved species on this planet, stars would be an uncommon sight to them, until they started sending up satellites or traveling to the twilight areas on their planet. Colonizing the far-side would be much like building a moon-base, so it certainly wouldn't be possible until they'd reached some kind of industrial era.

    Good point about the moon... tidal flux would be a good way to stimulate an ocean current and nudge primitive sea critters onto land. That might also break up the clouds a bit so it's not such an even blanket in the coastal areas. I think a moon would be necessary for a lot of reasons. It would also make the sky a little more interesting, because as you pointed out, it doesn't really change much.

    Most ecosystems are dependent on the sun, so it would probably be much the same here. Something one might consider is how foggy it must be by the water most of the time. Again, that's why the tide might be handy, to stir up the sea and clouds. Bring some rain inland.

    Despite the red dwarf star being dimmer, being so close and having it be day all the time would still be a great environment for photosynthesis, I would assume. I thought about the native life having chloroplasts in their cells instead of mitochondria, or a combination of similar creatures, so that animal life is somewhat sun-dependent. I pictured a reptilian-looking race, with scales that keep in water, to be the resident sentients.

    Time-measurement is an interesting question. Their year would only be about two months long. These revolutions would be the crux of any calendar.

    As for what I plan to do with this, it's just a sci-fi comic project I'm planning to put out mostly for exercise on another site. I just get so engrossed looking for explanations and end up spending a lot of time on settings lol. So I do plan to develop it a little more at least... The next step is to actually pick an existing red dwarf that's main sequence but old enough not to put out too many flares. Eye-earths have enemic magnetospheres, since they don't rotate. This makes them vulnerable to solar wind that could blow off their atmosphere over billions of years. I actually imagine that life from another planet could have "recently" seeded this world however, so that might explain the presence of a lot of water.

    Thanks for the thoughtful feedback.
    Last edited by Podcreature; 04-01-2014 at 03:49 PM. Reason: Reorganized thoughts, same content

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    Guild Journeyer Raptori's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slylok View Post
    Edit: Actually since the sun is always in one place they would just need one star to navigate.
    That comment reminded me of an interesting piece of information I read in Jared Diamond's book Collapse which could be relevant to this world. He spent a lot of time on an island in the Pacific called Tikopia which is particularly isolated, with next to no contact with the outside world even today. The island they live on is so small that they can see the ocean from almost any spot, and that they're all intimately familiar with every square meter of the place. They denote direction in relation to the ocean - for example in one instance that Diamond witnessed himself, one islander told another that they had some food on the oceanward side of their face!

    If the sun is completely stationary in the sky, the inhabitants would be likely to behave in a similar way to this I think!

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    Guild Artisan Gracious Donor Lingon's Avatar
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    This looks neat! It's very nicely done and I like the idea. Though I have to say, it's rather unlikely that the landmass would be that round and perfectly centered on the dayside
    I don't know if this is interesting, but I started a thread about a similar setting about a month ago. I haven't had time to finish the map yet, and it deals with a somewhat different situation where the tidal lock was sudden on an already inhabited, normally rotating world, but there are some links and discussion there that might be fun anyway (or not)! Here it is, if you want to take a look:
    http://www.cartographersguild.com/re...ed-planet.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raptori View Post
    That comment reminded me of an interesting piece of information I read in Jared Diamond's book Collapse which could be relevant to this world. He spent a lot of time on an island in the Pacific called Tikopia which is particularly isolated, with next to no contact with the outside world even today. The island they live on is so small that they can see the ocean from almost any spot, and that they're all intimately familiar with every square meter of the place. They denote direction in relation to the ocean - for example in one instance that Diamond witnessed himself, one islander told another that they had some food on the oceanward side of their face!

    If the sun is completely stationary in the sky, the inhabitants would be likely to behave in a similar way to this I think!
    Thanks for that input Raptori! This can be very useful, after all it would be a waste of good science fiction not to formulate a specific way that natives navigate on a planet that lacks day/night cycles. It's especially cool when we can use real world facts as a template. Side note; creatures native to a world like this would probably be very disoriented on a planet with a sun that seems to move. It might even make them sick.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lingon View Post
    This looks neat! It's very nicely done and I like the idea. Though I have to say, it's rather unlikely that the landmass would be that round and perfectly centered on the dayside
    I don't know if this is interesting, but I started a thread about a similar setting about a month ago. I haven't had time to finish the map yet, and it deals with a somewhat different situation where the tidal lock was sudden on an already inhabited, normally rotating world, but there are some links and discussion there that might be fun anyway (or not)! Here it is, if you want to take a look:
    http://www.cartographersguild.com/re...ed-planet.html
    Thanks. I look forward to reading more thoughts and ideas in that thread. I'm excited to see that others hare hypothesizing about these kinds of worlds!

    I agree that tectonics are the primary way continents are formed. To decide how to lay out my land masses, for an earth-like planet, I had to look at Earth. We also know that water does have a huge impact on how land masses form, though it may not be that obvious. Where water is constantly deposited, the land will erode. Over hundreds of millions of years, we'd see rain dumping on the outer edges of the warm zone. Land in the center will be continually dryer. Oceans would form around the perimeter, and expand because water has weight. The crust would become thinner there, creating fault-lines, pushing the land toward the middle. Planets try to stay in a spherical shape. Where there are glaciers, the buildup of freezing water, the ground depresses. Where there is rain, and glacial melt, there is erosion and pooling. So in the cooler zones, that are not quite frozen, over time, we'd see oceans congregate there, erosion and ice breaking up the land. So the formation of ice on the back of the planet, we'd have the trapping of a lot of water, but not all. And under the ice, there's probably an original shape of land masses, with the erosion on the warm side creating a cookie-cutout of whatever land was there. As clouds form around the sea, and encroach on the outer ring of the world, they deposit snow, creating huge ice-ranges. As they expand, they slide and crumble into the sea, but the tall range is growing at the rate that it is deteriorating, maintaining a height that is a barrier to the clouds, trapping liquid water in the warm zone. The extra thick ozone is the only thing that prevents the atmosphere from freezing on the dark side of the planet. Anyway, that's how land masses would most certainly be shaped by the congregation of water. In the confined space that isn't glacier, fault lines would appear where the crust is shallower, depressed by the sea, so the coastline would have more volcanoes.

    Of course I would need a computer simulation to be sure of how any of that would really find balance and I am not saying a world like yours isn't possible. That might be a scenario where the oceans remained liquid or slush. Possible with enough greenhouse gas. Some simulations reveal that tidally locked planets have a big hurricane around the band, dumping rain on the far side constantly, and I imagine that's what my own world was like in the first millions/billions of years, before glaciers built up, or the planet drifted a little further back in the habitable zone.
    Last edited by Podcreature; 04-01-2014 at 05:03 PM. Reason: fixed my explanation

  10. #10
    Guild Adept Slylok's Avatar
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    Time-measurement is an interesting question. Their year would only be about two months long. These revolutions would be the crux of any calendar.
    true, but how would they know that they have made a revolution? There wouldn't be any seasons or animals migrating or anything they could discern that would indicate a completed orbit around the star. Maybe the moon/moons are the answer to this as well. A Solar eclipse would be pretty interesting for people that know no darkness.

    That comment reminded me of an interesting piece of information I read in Jared Diamond's book Collapse which could be relevant to this world. He spent a lot of time on an island in the Pacific called Tikopia which is particularly isolated, with next to no contact with the outside world even today. The island they live on is so small that they can see the ocean from almost any spot, and that they're all intimately familiar with every square meter of the place. They denote direction in relation to the ocean - for example in one instance that Diamond witnessed himself, one islander told another that they had some food on the oceanward side of their face!

    If the sun is completely stationary in the sky, the inhabitants would be likely to behave in a similar way to this I think!
    Good point! I would imagine where ever you were the sun would be "north".

    Also I think they could use the rings of vegetation as terrain reference for how far away from the sea they are.
    Our sense of the stability of the earth is an illusion due to the shortness of our lives.
    - Neil deGrasse Tyson


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