Re: [nbos] Astro3 Experimental Build
"Mike Oliver"
Mon Nov 23rd, 2009
If anyone wants to look at complex orbits in multiple systems, from a
SciFi aspect, try the "Helliconia Trilogy by Brian Aldiss. Here is a
short review:
Helliconia Trilogy
An epic as much about the planet as the people crawling across it.

There are still fierce arguments about exactly what divides science
fiction from fantasy. Brian Aldiss made his name in the British New Wave
science fiction movement by daring to ignore such boundaries, as he does

The Helliconia trilogy starts from a scientifically sound proposition.
The planet Helliconia's primary sun has a peculiar orbit. So it enjoys
shortish 'normal' seasons but also a Great Year, which lasts an age.

Watching from space, people from Old Earth study the effect this cycle
has on the natives. Civilised cultures are born in Helliconia Spring
(1982), flourish in Helliconia Summer (1983) and are all-but
extinguished come Helliconia Winter (1985).

But while the cosmomolgy is worked out precisely, this is also an
exploration of the cultures Aldiss invents.

It's an exemplary bit of fantastic world-building. And the format allows
for plenty of action and adventure along the way.

Work nominated by
<> StephenPalmer.


-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Robert Graham
Sent: 22 November 2009 18:59
Subject: Re: [nbos] Astro3 Experimental Build

Actually a lot of it depends on the mass of the planet, star and the
distance between each.

Most people seem to think Binaries and Trinaries are 'really close' yet
the distances are actually rather large, even the nearest Trinary we
know of Alpha Cent A,B and Prox have a massive distance between them..
and you have to remember our Limited Astronomy has shown that their may
indeed be planets in orbit of Alpha Cent.

The other thing is how much is Ed actually using real 'calculations' vs
creating an Orbit based on the parameters set in the orbital data...
because honestly it's not like we are asking for as Mike has pointed out
an actual physics simulation but the ability to view our multipul main
star systems as they really would exist.. *shrugs*

The Other big thing I'd look at though, is moving towards drag/drop and
the like.. Being able to just do something light shift click on a star
and be zoomed down into the Orbital 'level' and from their being able to
start building the system.. either through 'autogen' or by hand.. then
being able to zoom back out.. smoothlessly etc and before some one
starts screaming at me that it's 'impossible' the 'graphics code is
massive for such a thing' Ed knows what I've been working on unlike some
others here so he knows that I do understand in part what I'm asking and
how it works. The biggest thing being Ed has Astro using OGL *winces*
rather than Direct X.

And sorry I've just woken up but the other thing is i've spent a lot of
time recently looking at orbital mechanics.. and you'd be surprised at
how.... robust orbits can end up being.. else we'd all be doing fig 8's
not only around our sun but jupitur, ppl seem to forget as much as we
like to believe gravity is a 'constant' it tends to actually in physics
terms be more of a 'gradient' when it comes to orbits.

[] On Behalf Of Mike Oliver
Sent: Monday, 23 November 2009 3:09 AM
Subject: Re: [nbos] Astro3 Experimental Build

I'd love to see an attempt to produce diplays of multiple systems and
wouldn't commit suicide if the result wasn't totally accurate in terms
of the astrophysics. This is mostly being used for RolePlaying, I think,
and my small group don't understand some of the simpler technical stuff
I put into my sessions, so certainly wouldn't shout in ridicule if I
produced a scientifically improbable (impossible?) star system.

The Traveller add-on "Worldbuilder" (and a number of other RPG systems)
had a set of conventions for determining orbital details of Primaries,
Secondaries and Tertiaries and the planetary system associated. I
developed these into software for the Atari ST way back when. I didn't
get any complaints from my customers (true there were only a few-score)
about inaccurate.


-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of T'Star
Sent: 22 November 2009 14:19
Subject: Re: [nbos] Astro3 Experimental Build

The catch is especially when you get up to 3 or more bodies the orbits
are so convoluted and erratic they only theorize the math based on what
they've observed. They don't 'stack' the way planet vs. sun does
because the mass differential is very seldom great enough... And even
with 2 you tend to wind up with interesting figure 8 style orbits for
your planets rather than planets in stable orbit around 2 primaries...
(what I remember from /my/ astronomy class. basic though it was.)
On Sat, Nov 21, 2009 at 6:17 PM, Marcus Andronicus
<> wrote:

If I understand my limited knowledge of orbital mechanics correctly,
binaries and such generally orbit a point in space, rather than a point
within the primary as star/planet systems tend towards. If you designate
the point in space as the location in the sector, then you should be
able to generate the orbits of the stars themselves based on the
distance from one another and their respective masses, but I am assuming
that mass and distance have been taken into account for Astro2. This
would mean being able to designate stars as "planets" to give them the
necessary data fields but its a start? By setting up each system in this
manner this could also lead to slightly more realistic orbits of all
bodies, albeit somewhat more complicated.

just my two centavii- good work so far tho Ed and crew from what little
i have been able to play with Astro3.


--- On Fri, 11/20/09, NBOS Support <> wrote:

From: NBOS Support <>

Subject: Re: [nbos] Astro3 Experimental Build
Date: Friday, November 20, 2009, 10:57 PM

The problem with binaries/trinaries has always been that there's no way
to calculate up front what a stable arrangement would be (that I'm aware
of). I can stick three stars there in the display, but it's unlikely
it'd be a stable orbit. Planets of those stars have the same problem.
So I may try it, but realize that its unlikely they'll be correct/stable
arrangements. It'll just be a static display to show relative distance.

Similar problem with the temperature. Not every system is capable of
having a planet of a certain temperature. The temperature of a planet
is derived from a number of pieces of info, and the process is one way -
you cant reverse engineer it.

For planets, its best to just manually add them in and change their
temperatures. Or perhaps make a script that can place a planet at an
estimated distance. There's a TempAt() method of the Body class that
will let you get the 'equilibrium' temperature at a certain distance
from a star.

> Ed, just wondering if there are any plans to finally look at
incorporating Binaries on the Solar Level at all with the eye towards
Astro 3.. I mean it's one of the most requested features outside the
data access..
> The other thing is, and it's more a general question.. is there any
way to set Astro up so you could specify the 'temprature' you want for a
planet and it generate where / what orbit it requires?
> -Rob
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