[nbos] [AS] Suggestions for AS 2.1
Aaron Wiseman
Mon Oct 1st, 2007
>There is another discrepancy I'm seeing, but it is a more subtle one and
may have to wait. That is, in a multiple >system I can't see that it
allows for the orbital properties of the primary children around the
system barycenter. In a >practical sense, the system display CANNOT be
even vaguely useful in a system like Xi Ursae Majoris with its at >least
3, possibly 5 or more stars, as the display doesn't seem to take into
account the idea of the system barycenter >NOT having a star centered in
it.

What I tried was to take the star I wanted to be the center and gave it
a luminosity of 0 and typed in n/a for the spectral class. Then I have a
barycenter that doesn't show up. This is a work around but it might
solve the problem aesthetically.



>Sorry guys, you hooked an astronomy nut.

Don't worry, there are more than a few of us! Unfortunately, the
equations for those situations makes it very difficult to have a generic
equation to handle these situations as well as the more complex orbits.
If you have access to it, "An Intro to Modern Astrophysics" has a great
diagram on page 687 that lays out some possible orbits with regard to the
Lagrange points. It's only a 2-D diagram so imagine that these orbits
could be rotated 0 to 90 degrees along the axis of the two stars with
some retrograde orbits thrown in. Now take and add a third star.
Creating a planetary orbit that would interact with all three stars
becomes very difficult to imagine let alone program. To map out the
orbits would probably require some math software like Mathematica!
These "unusual" orbits would be interesting for many games, but they
introduce a major software headache. As much as I might want to have
them, I would be happy if Ed can improve the user interface and the mass
editing features. Some sort of graphical mass select would be nice,
although selecting in a 3-D view might be difficult. I would like to see
mass selects where you could specify one corner of a rectangle and drag
to another point and select all the systems in that box and then, holding
the control key, click on systems to deselect or select them. Then edit
fields such as who owns it, adjust population (for lots of space
stations), temps, and the user defined ones. I was interested in being
able to mark multiple systems as contested, occupied, in rebellion, or
vacant which would simplify GMing duties.
The other thing I would like is to be able to work with eclipses. I
don't think the current version identifies eclipses at all. In one book
I am reading, the planets has two weeks in eclipse and in the movie
"Pitch Black" there is also an extremely eclipse when all the aliens come
out to eat! If I remember it had to do with gas giants in front of the
planet creating a large eclipse so maybe it could be done with a string
of smaller planets or a double planet system that have equal masses and
rotate around the orbital path. I'm sure there are some other
astronomical situations that create made to order eclipses.
It would be useful to be able to adjust moon orbits so that the eclipse
went north to south instead of west to east as well as the orbit radii
and the volume or the planet and its moon. I think there might even have
to be something relating to the volume of the star but I don't recall off
the top of my head. So, if I could pick a planet, and select the time I
wanted the eclipse to last then Astrosynthesis could work out the orbital
diameters and volumes to make the condition happen.
In a later release (3.x?) it would be interesting to be able to view
the eclipses similarly to the way we can look at the system diagrams.
However, that would probably require a lot of thought and graphics as we
would have different star colors and brightness (I don't even want to
think about multiple stars!) as well as the surface image of the orbiting
body placed on a sphere and moving in front of the planet. I am thinking
of something along the lines of the scene in "Pitch Black".
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