2nd in a series of posts inspired by Elite Dangerous, a space video-game that I’ve been playing; full of images, cool astronomy & science facts, and associated sci-fi & pop culture trivia.
Sol Region Sight-Seeing Tour – Stop #2:
Pollux / β Geminorum
Pollux is 34 lightyears from Sol, and the closest giant star to our sun. Pollux is 18 ly from Stop 1 on our tour, it’s “twin” Castor. Pollux is the 18th brightest star as seen from Earth (including the Sun) and the brightest star in constellation Gemini. Pollux is an orange-hued “evolved giant” star in a special spectral class, called Class KO-III. Earlier in its life it would have been a Class A (hot white or blue/white dwarf star), but Pollux has exhausted the hydrogen in its core, and expanded and cooled as a result. As such the star has moved off the line of main sequence or “adult” stars and entered it’s old age “giant” phase, and is estimated to be about 724 million years old. It is about two times the mass, and almost NINE times the radius of our Sun. Continue reading Sol Region Sight-Seeing Tour #2 – Pollux
The Tour? Why that’s a geeky idea I had to dig up all the fact and fiction about the stars around and including our Sun, known as Sol in science and science fiction. Ostensibly, as a bit of a learning experience while I go about the playing a video-game.
You see, I’ve been playing a “space flight simulator” video game I really love called Elite Dangerous that has excited my long interest in Astronomy. The game is set in the future where humanity has moved out to begin to settle and explore our galaxy. As such the game includes a 1 to 1 online mock-up of our Milky Way Galaxy with as much as we know to be true added to it, and fairly realistic algorithms for what we don’t know, and a lot of fictional future-history and lore added to give it all some drama, and all kinds of different ways to “play” depending on your interests. From exploration, pvp & pve combat, mining, commodity trading, power play politics, passenger liner business, bounty hunting, and much more.
I wanted to explore some of the famous stars we know in our real night skies.
I’ve been reading Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson. I’m about 1/3 of the way through it and so far it gets about 3.5 out of 5 stars. I’ve always been fascinated by Mars and have fantasized about visiting it.
Anyway, reading the book got me interested in looking up some good images of Mars so I could “see” where some of the events of the book take place. Continue reading Living Mars
We all know what a landscape photo displaying the moon looks like. Here’s one that The Atlantic posted. But far more interesting is they have posted similar images created by Ron Miller, former art director of NASA, showing what the night sky would look like if each of the planets in our solar system were the same distance away as the moon is to us. Continue reading If Planets Were as Close as the Moon
I watched the Duncan Jones movie Moon again this evening. I watched it about a year ago and enjoyed it then, and thought Sam Rockwell did an amazing job. On second viewing it is a little slow in places, but intentionally so I think, as it puts you in the shoes of the mining facility caretaker character isolated on the dark-side of the moon.
I’ve had a recurring futuristic dream that might contain a little of this movie in it. In it I run a mining ship that is harvesting the asteroid belt for whatever I can make enough profit on that will let me afford to go out and do it all again. The ship was built for multiple people — a family — but they died in an accident before we could make the dream a reality. So I have decided to go on alone and do it all myself, accompanied only by a dog who is a clone of a dog that I have had (at the time the dreams are set,) through multiple “generations”. Continue reading Moon Reflections