Planet maps

umungus's picture
umungus
June 18, 2008 - 1:33pm

I have been thinking about the Star Frontiers setting. One of the things that is missing are maps of the planets. It would be nice to see what they look like.
Also when you make up a new planet, have some sort of standard for a map. Then you could share it with others and place your star system, etc.
Anyone have any ideas on this.

At least I got to scare an alien rabbit thingy......

Comments:

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
June 26, 2008 - 8:16pm
It doesn't have to move closer, other things should probably just move further out.  Just making it 4th or 5th out instead of 7th makes it a little more plausible on that count and clears out the inner part of the planetary system.

Making the diameter larger would lower the density although I don't see that as an issue, just a peculiarity, although a density of almost 11 is a little high.  For comparison, the density of iron on the surface of the Earth is about 8 and in the core is on the order of 13 due to the greater pressures there.  The average density of the rock on the Earth's surface is about 2.7-3.0 (all of those are in g/cm^3).

I've been racking my brain, but I really don't know of a way to resolve the issue of the south pole always pointing at the star and as you said, it is central to the system design (which I like BTW).  Alcazzar didn't spin much at all.  That is what caused it's long days and night as each part of the planet turned toward or away from Rhianna as Alcazzar moved in its orbit.  Even it didn't always have one side facing the star.  You can do that, it's called tidal locking when one face is always pointed to the star.  The moon does it to the Earth.  But then you always have one side illuminated (perpetual day) and one side in darkness and you can't get that 15 hour rotation period given in the rules.
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
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aramis's picture
aramis
June 26, 2008 - 10:45pm
Not bad.

CC2 has an Iconsahedral map, as well, in the Cosmographer addon.

Being a traveller player as well, I've seen a LOT of Icosahedral maps.

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
June 27, 2008 - 3:26am
Okay so I'll bump it up to the fourth orbit position. I also realized that the 15 hour day comes from canon so that's pretty much locked.

Question: if Theseus were a binary star, would a second gravity well permit the constant (or at least a semi-constant) polar facing? Granted that would create an eliptical orbit instead of a circle, but I'm just trying to picture if that would work. I understand the gyroscope effect, just curious if a second grav-source would affect it differently.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

Sam's picture
Sam
June 27, 2008 - 12:52pm
What about having Minotaur being a tidally locked moon of a larger gas giant? This occurs in a lot of sci-fi settings. If the gas giant is large enough to emit more energy/heat than it absorbs from its primary (making it, I guess, more of a brown dwarf), it would be able to create a narrow biozone orbiting it even though the gas giant may be fairly distant to the primary.

I don't know if you could tidally lock a planet to the primary, though. That much heat/energy may bake the planet.

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
June 27, 2008 - 1:30pm
Great idea, It might be possible but I suspect it might not work.  I'd have to do the math which I don't really have time for right now.  However, you'd have to tidally lock Minotaur to the planet and put it into a 15 hour orbit to get the canon 15 hour day.  That's going to be the hard part as I think you would have to be too close to the planet.  Plus the planet would have to be very, very massive to tidally lock Minotaur.

As for the planet putting out more heat, would definintely work.  Jupiter puts out twice as much energy as it receives from the sun and a more massive object would put out even more. and it might get you part of the effect we're looking for.  The only problem is that the polar region is no longer in perpetual night.  However, you could at that point move it further out in the system so the solar insolation is lower since you are making up part of it from the planetary heat.

The reall kicker will be if you can get it close enough to the planet to get the 15 hour day.  I'll try to do the math this evening to see if it would work.
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
My blog - Expanding Frontier
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
June 27, 2008 - 2:38pm
Hmm...tidally locked moon could work by way of canon as well, since Minotaur itself has no moons.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

AZ_GAMER's picture
AZ_GAMER
August 9, 2008 - 5:05am
Here is a dead planet pic I created for my digital comic book project. Anyone is welcome to use it, I doubt there is any scientific fact supporting its appearance but in the story this planet was ravaged by horrific doomsday weapons that left the planet a nightmarish uninhabitable toxic wasteland. For dramatic effect there's a nice plume of expelled toxic atmosphere belching off the planet, again probably not much in the line scientific reality but it sure was fun to make and render.

parriah's picture
parriah
June 30, 2008 - 1:07pm
TerlObar wrote:
Nice write-up, although the astronomer in me (remember that I have an Astronomy Ph.D) was screaming after the first two sentences in the Planet History section Smile. Here is why:

1) This one was no big deal but seemed a little odd. 7th of 11 planets makes it really crowded in close to the star. As a G1 star is only slightly more massive than our own Sun (a G2 star) the orbital distance from Minotaur to Theseus would be about the same as that from Earth to Sol, especially since you gave it about the same average tempurature as the Earth. Actually, I think the average tempurature is a little higher than Earth's which would require it to be at the same distance or closer to the star. Thus putting it as the seventh object out means you have 6 planets inside that orbit. Tight indeed. Nothing says it can't be done but they probabaly aren't that big as there isn't a lot of material in there to make planets with.

2) Unfortunately, it is not really possible to always have the southern pole always pointed toward the sun. Especially since it is spinning so fast (15 h days). Effectively the planet is like a giant gyroscope and it always wants to keep it's axis pointed in the same direction in space. To keep it pointed towards the sun would take a tremendous amount of torque to keep that constantly shifting. There really isn't anything to provide that torque. Of course that destroys your whole ecology.

A few other things of note about the system. Based on the planetary diameter and gravity, Minotaur is about 17% more massive than Earth but also 16% smaller. That means it as a higher average density at 10.9 g/cm^3. For comparison, the Earth's average density is 5.5 g/cm^3 or about half. This means that Minotaur has a huge iron core and a relatively small mantle.

Finally, the population has to be pretty huge to support a large city that extends in a band all the way around the planet and several thousand kilometers wide. This is one of those areas where each referee has his own idea but the population required to need that much city is probabaly more than I would have in my entire Frontier. I always have thought of the Frontier as fairly low population density even on the "high" population worlds. (Seems we discussed this in another thread somewhere. Here it is http://www.starfrontiers.org/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=864). It's completely possible to have populations this large (as I showed in that thread) but I like to keep mine smaller.
 


Terl, as I understand it, the southern pole could point towards the sun if the "Pole were at what we call the equator. That is, if the planet rotated on an axis 90 degrees off of the ecliptics plane,  That is, if the planet rolled through the system like a giant bowling ball rather than a spinning top.  This axis of rotation could be slightly less than 90 degrees, say 85 or so. That way the sun would rotate around the horizon rather than rise in the "East, slide smoothly across the sky and set in the "West". This would make the planet as Shack said, super hot on the "South pole" and super Cold on the "North. This would also create Mega superduper storms. The extreems of hot and cold would clash in the Low latitudes. The coriolis forces would also be extreem. The rotation of 15 hours would throw a tremendous ammount of energy into the winds and tides.

As I understand it. Please feel free to correct me and do not feel that I will take offense. I would love to understand this better.


BTW, That is a super cool "Dead Planet!"
FIAWOL TANSTAAFL!!

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
June 30, 2008 - 2:12pm
parriah wrote:
Terl, as I understand it, the southern pole could point towards the sun if the "Pole were at what we call the equator. That is, if the planet rotated on an axis 90 degrees off of the ecliptics plane, That is, if the planet rolled through the system like a giant bowling ball rather than a spinning top. This axis of rotation could be slightly less than 90 degrees, say 85 or so. That way the sun would rotate around the horizon rather than rise in the "East, slide smoothly across the sky and set in the "West". This would make the planet as Shack said, super hot on the "South pole" and super Cold on the "North. This would also create Mega superduper storms. The extreems of hot and cold would clash in the Low latitudes. The coriolis forces would also be extreem. The rotation of 15 hours would throw a tremendous ammount of energy into the winds and tides.


Unfortunately that doesn't work. The planet Uranus in our solar system is in exactly that configuration. It's axis is tilted about 98 (or 82 depending on how you look at it) degrees from the vertical w.r.t. the plane of the solar system and has a 17.25 hour rotation period. However, it's pole doesn't always point toward the sun but rather points toward a specific direction in space. So as it goes about its 87 years orbit, sometimes the sun is shining down on the north pole and sometimes it shining on the south pole and sometimes on the equator.

Effectively the planet acts like a giant gyroscope. Spinning objects (gyroscopes, planets, (motor)bike tires) don't want to change the direction of their axis of rotation. It is known as spin stabilization. It's also why gun barrels are rifled. The spin imparted to the bullet keeps it pointed in the direction you want it to go instead of getting buffeted by wind and such. With a good gyroscope, you can get it spinning and then stand it on a support at any crazy angle and it will just sit there and maintain that angle (actually, here on earth it will start to wobble like a top going in a circle but maintiaing that same angle relative to the ground, more on why below)

The thing about spin stabilized systems is that to get them to turn you have to apply force perpendicular to the direction you want them to go. If you ever played with gyroscopes or ridden a high speed motorcycle (I've done plenty of the former but never the latter) you have experienced this effect. With the gyroscope, if you are holding it on the rotation axis in front of you so that the spin axis is horizontal and you want to stand it up, you can't push upward on one end and down on the other. If you do that it will just rotate (one hand will get closer to your body and the other further away). To get it to stand up you have to push one end of the axis away from you and pull the other toward you. This is why the gyroscope on the stand on earth spins in a circle. Gravity is pulling down on it but that causes it to move left to right instead of falling down so it rotates instead of falling over. The other thing you notice is that it takes quite a bit more force than you expect to get it to turn. With a high speed motorcycle, that's why you have to lean to turn instead of turning the handlebars. If you just turn the handlebars the effect is to try to get wheel to tip on it's side intead of turn. If you lean, on the other hand (trying to make the wheel tip over), the force causes the wheel to turn instead.

So tying this back to the planets. If you have an planet on it's side spinning and you want to get it to rotate so that it's axis always pointed at the star, you can't just apply a left to right force on the axis of the planet. That would acually cause the planet to "stand up" and have it rotation axis more perpendicular to the plane of it's orbit. To get the effect you want you have to apply a force perpendicular to the orbital plane and there just isn't anything out there to supply that kind of force. Gravity can't really do it because it effectively acts on the center of mass (the sun keeps the planet in orbit but doesn't rotate it). Thus the planets alway keep their rotation axis pointed to a particular point in space independent of the position of the star they are orbiting.

Anyway, hope that helps. Feel free to ask any other questions or tell me where it's not clear and I'll try to provide more detail.  And if you can, get your hands on a gyoscope and play with it for a bit.Smile
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
My blog - Expanding Frontier
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
June 30, 2008 - 2:53pm

Actually the gyroscopic effect can be done with a bicycle wheel...hold it vertically by the axle and give it a good spin. Then try to tilt the wheel away from vertical, it'll take some serious effort. It's why a motorcycle can stick to a straight line at speed, watch the moto races, oftentimes when the racers take a fall in a curve the bike will go back upright and continue along until it hits something else.

To make the bike turn, we in the motorcycle world use the term "counter steering", meaning to go right you PUSH on the right side of the handlebar. That's what gets the moving bike into a right lean. Completely backwards from conventional wisdom that says you pull on the right handlebar to point the wheel in that direction. (there's the culmination of my knowledge in physics LOL)


Terl, any word on the gas giant or binary star issues affecting such an axis position? I can't quite picture if the second grav source would do anything or not...but the gas giant tidal lock has some merit.

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

My SF website

CleanCutRogue's picture
CleanCutRogue
June 30, 2008 - 3:01pm
Gullwind wrote:
Several of the Star Frontiersmans have articles with planet maps. I'd like to find out how they're done. I'm occasionally working on a System Brief for Dramune, and I'd like to do some for Inner and Outer Reach.
I make those maps using an online utility that makes fractal maps - at dire press.  It's a cool utility, and I use it for generating stat blocks and some additional fluff... including the images.  Check it out here:

http://direpress.bin.sh/tools/system.cgi
3. We wear sungoggles during the day. Not because the sun affects our vision, but when you're cool like us the sun shines all the time.

-top 11 reasons to be a Yazirian, ShadowShack


umungus's picture
umungus
June 30, 2008 - 5:20pm

Thanks Rogue. Good to hear from you again.

At least I got to scare an alien rabbit thingy......


CleanCutRogue's picture
CleanCutRogue
June 30, 2008 - 8:15pm
Thanks.  I need to make more of a presence here... I don't have a ton of time, but I can always find a little bit of time to pop on.
3. We wear sungoggles during the day. Not because the sun affects our vision, but when you're cool like us the sun shines all the time.

-top 11 reasons to be a Yazirian, ShadowShack


Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
July 1, 2008 - 4:57am
Heya Bill, good to see you again. The gang's all here now!
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

TheWebtroll's picture
TheWebtroll
July 29, 2008 - 9:51am
Ive been away for a bit, but before I left I posted this:
http://starfrontiers.us/node/2432
felt this fits in with the discussion. Should I start up the project again?
The Webtroll
~Living UNDER the Information Super Highway

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
July 29, 2008 - 10:26am
Absolutely.
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
My blog - Expanding Frontier
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

umungus's picture
umungus
July 29, 2008 - 11:06am
TheWebtroll wrote:
Ive been away for a bit, but before I left I posted this:
http://starfrontiers.us/node/2432
felt this fits in with the discussion. Should I start up the project again?


Very Cool!
Please do continue the project.
Looks like a great start to map out the frontier.

At least I got to scare an alien rabbit thingy......


umungus's picture
umungus
July 29, 2008 - 11:08am
TheWebtroll wrote:
Ive been away for a bit, but before I left I posted this:
http://starfrontiers.us/node/2432
felt this fits in with the discussion. Should I start up the project again?


Very Cool!
Please do continue the project.
Looks like a great start to map out the frontier.

At least I got to scare an alien rabbit thingy......


MrJupiter's picture
MrJupiter
August 4, 2008 - 8:59am
Those maps were excellent!

Sam's picture
Sam
August 8, 2008 - 8:29pm
I've found another site with the Icosahedral map, if it is of any use

http://zho.berka.com/rules/mappo.html

Ranger's picture
Ranger
April 12, 2009 - 10:08am
they are out there - not all of the planets, but some of the main ones and some of the user created ones like WolfBane the CANON folks created for me and was posted on most of the maps online ..

Zane M. Cole - Ranger
Wolfbane Development Corp (WDC)
ZaneMCole@StarFrontiers.com
http://starfrontiers.com
https://www.facebook.com/starfrontiers