What is the significance of Neutron Stars in the game setting?

jedion357's picture
jedion357
June 1, 2010 - 6:06am
I was just downloading a copy of the map that Jacobsar updated with the location of the Ebony Eyes twin black hole system to the Port Loren Public Library.

I happen to notice an abundance of neutron stars on the map. Hence the question in the title

wikipedia has interesting facts about them:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutron_star

stuff like they have a mile thick crust and a 1m deep atmosphere, an escape velocity of 33% of light speed-yeow! combine that with the high levels of x-ray radiation and you deffinetly dont want to get too close.

Anyway I'm not looking to plumb the depths of why they exist in our universe but rather why do they exist in the SF universe.

Are they there as impassible terrain or is there the possibility of using a neutron star or a binary neutron star as a setting for adventure? (most likely KH style adventure unless a science ship is in wide orbit to observe a binary neutron star grabbing enough matter from an orbiting star so that it collapses to a black hole.)

Why should the map be loaded with so many neutron stars?
Is that an unusual concentration of them?

I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!
Comments:

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
June 1, 2010 - 10:46am
Yes it is an unusual concentration, Although I had to look at the Zeb's Guide map to find them, the AD map doesn't have any.  but if I counted correcty, there are 5 neutron stars on the larger map.  And they are all around the edges.  Mostly likely, the author thought the name and description sounded cool so they threw a few in for fun.  Their existence does bring up a few ideas

1) The stars of the Frontier have relatively high motions with respect to one another.  This means that they didn't all form together.  This allows the neutron stars to be interlopers.  It also means that the Frontier map may have looked different 400 years ago and that jump routes are constantly (albeit slowly) changing as the relative positions of the stars change.

2) If you want the starts to be relatively static in their relative motions, that means that no life on any of the planets in the Frontier (and the Rim) can be older than the youngest of the neutron stars (or the EE black holes, I really need to read that article again).  Neutron stars and black holes are formed in supernova explosions and the give off so much hard radiation that it would sterilize any planet in the Frontier (the estimated area of effect is about 250 ly in radius from the explosion).  If the neutron star systems are not interlopers, they would have each cleaned out the Frontier in turn as they went off.

Otherwise, I just see them as adventure hooks, places to end up after a misjump, that kind of thing.  They can have planetary systems around them.  In fact, the first extrasolar planets discovered were orbiting a neutron star.

Also, neutron stars are pulsars and emit a lot of hard (X-ray and Gamma-ray) radiation in relatively narrow beams that sweep through the sky like a cosmic lighthouse.  You'd have to assume that the energy beams from these neutron stars don't point directly at any of the inhabited systems.  I'll have to check but I suspect that at that close of range, the energy output would be sufficiently harmful for planets in those systems.

Anyway, those were a few initial thoughts.  I'll have to check out that wikipedia article.
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Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
June 1, 2010 - 5:29pm
Actually the AD map does list one, it's centered within the Yazirian worlds on the bottom left corner of the Frontier.

Informative topic though.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

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TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
June 1, 2010 - 6:16pm
I swear I looked at that map three times before posting and I didn't see it.  Embarassed  I thought there was one but was just blind this morning.  Thanks.
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jedion357's picture
jedion357
June 1, 2010 - 7:39pm
I think we have a candidate for the what happened to the Tetrarchs.

What would be the time frame for the neutron stars to move into place?

How long would an average neutron star last after its formation- obviously it would have slowed down its rotation over time

I had an idea of an adventure involving a mysterious artifact that seemingly not orbiting a neutron star as it rotated and since the escape velocity is 33% C the object is theorized to be using anti gravity to stay put. but its only a rough idea and would be a little cliche in that it would be "an ancient alien artifact"


EDit: Shadow strikes again!
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Gergmaster's picture
Gergmaster
June 1, 2010 - 8:23pm
It would probably take millions if not hundreds of millions of years for the neutron stars to come into Frontier space. However, my question is, is it possible for neutron stars to act like halo stars and drop into the disk like that? Because in most spiral galaxies the halo stars are usually the oldest and are generally very small red stars. Neutron stars are generally new because they are usually formed by young and hot massive stars.

The other problem with having a neutron star in the middle of other stars is the fact that they can cause stars close to them to accrete material, which surrounds the neutron star with what is called an accretion disk. After the neutron star hits (I think, but I am not positive) 4-8 solar masses through this collection of material, the neutron star tends to obliterate itself and everything in its path.

fun fact: one table spoon of material collected from a neutron star can actually weigh billions of tons. That tells you how dense these stars are.
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jedion357's picture
jedion357
June 1, 2010 - 9:27pm
so neutron stars on the zebs map, like many other things in zebs lack any sort of real thought or consideration.

It might be easier to ignore the Zeb's neutron stars and just try to explain the one on AD map
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
June 2, 2010 - 6:19am
Yes, they can act like halo stars and have a high velocity.  The supernova explosions tend to be asymmetrical and give the neutron star a "kick" and they can pick up quite a bit of speed.  Take a look at the Geminga pulsar.  It's not even inside the supernova remnant that it created when it exploded.

And the weird gravitational effects are only noticed very close in.  From any significant distance, it would just be a massive object.  If you took the sun and condensed it down to neutron star densities (retaining the same mass), the only effect on the earth would be that the amount of light we received would change (and the sun would look a lot smaller).  Gravitationally, even at 1 AU, it would be exactly the same.  The only way it would be accreting material is if that material came in very close.

So explaining the single neutron star as an interloper would be plausable.  Explaining all of them requires us to make the Frontier some sort of younger star cluster which has problems for any native species.
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iggy's picture
iggy
June 2, 2010 - 11:51am
Has the understanding of neutron stars changed from 25 years ago?  Could they have viewed a neutron star in another way back them?

Also, does the existence of the Ebony Eyes fit with the age of the stellar neighborhood?
-iggy

jedion357's picture
jedion357
March 25, 2011 - 11:16pm
Reading up on nebulae- areas with gas and dust are hotbeds of new star formation and typically see lots of young blue/white stars

perhaps a good sollution for the over abundance of neutron stars is to hand wave them into newly formed blue/white stars- the Frontier has an abundance of nebulae gas

These systems are uninhabitable as they have not had a chance to develop planets or that planetary development is currently going on

I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

thespiritcoyote's picture
thespiritcoyote
March 29, 2011 - 3:16pm
 There are a varity of stars that can be considerd to fall into the Neutron family. IIRC, only the Pulsar and the Singularities are distinguished by the standard map key and discriptive text given for the Frontier. They could be one of the other similar types that have been overlooked. If you broaden the catagory to stars with a paticular set of navigational hazards, instead of a set of evolutionary types, that could help reduce the number of expected dead-world scenarios.
 When combined with a Tetrarch Extinction Inccident that destroyed several stars in a near simultaneous megapocolypse, simple 3d to 2d maping error, and the unwillingnes or inability to explore certain "here be dragon's" regions...
 All the reasons add up to a suitible explanation, where no single answer satisfies.

 If taken moderately and not as the only rationale.
 1) The stars of the Frontier have relatively high motions with respect to one another.  This means that they didn't all form together.  This allows the neutron stars to be interlopers.  It also means that the Frontier map may have looked different 400 years ago and that jump routes are constantly (albeit slowly) changing as the relative positions of the stars change.
-TerlObar-
 I am fond of this effect, for explaining the dificulties of astrogation in the frontier, as has been mentioned in other discusions. The time of calculation and the reliability of older data, as well as the presence of interstellar rouges, are all advanced by this.

Actually the AD map does list one, it's centered within the Yazirian worlds on the bottom left corner of the Frontier.
-Shadow Shack
That should be Beta/Waloo, and went *pop* within the last few centuries.
The effects should still be passing the outer edges of the Frontiers Main Trade Zone, and just be passing out of the (usually off maped) Pan Galactic Expansion, beyond the Yaz worlds. No?
This lends to two more solutions of common quandry, the Blue-plauge and the Closed Dome Mega-Cities, are given additional rationale. Protection from the now wanning effects of a star in it's death cycle, and the so called Blue-Plauge, that couldn't be cured, may have been caused by these effects, and not transmited via interstellar travel as previously considered.

Informative, thought-provoking..... and full of potintial hooking... very good question!
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so...
if you square a square it becomes a cube...
if you square a cube does it become an octoid?