Basic Concepts: Astrophysics – Creating The Planets of the Thermasia System Part 1

Ok, now on to the planets of the Thermasia Solar System….

I used a free software called StarGen , a program by Jim Burrows. I think it  is a good software to start off with for world creation, especially  if you want to just generate a solar System for a simple RPG Campaign, its good.  But for anything more complex,  like orbital mechanics, etc,it is just not as accurate.

Stargen is a pretty old program, based on the works of a  Stephen Dole (  known for his  the book ” Habitable Planets for Man“  ) of the Rand Corporation about thirty to forty years ago, but it is still good for creating base solar systems according to the star spectral type that one would wish to use in their own world creation project. There are the  down-loadable executables according to OS type but  at it’s main page , not to mention  The Online  version of the StarGen tool . Dispite  it  not including all the options and features that the main StarGen supports  , it is the more recently updated , and the more accurate program  to use -  with the original  StarGen application that I downloaded on my PC, I could only generate a single habitable system  when the Star had a stellar Mass of 7.4, which is the case with  my Star Thermasia, a K2V Spectral type sun.

This is the only result I could generate from the full, but older downloadable Stargen Program:

A planet could be Earthlike and habitable, yet still not having a terrestrial breathable atmosphere ( ie. the exomoon Pandora, from the well known Avatar movie, and StarGen does not take this into account in it’s results. It’s far more likely, and possible that there will be far more Terrestrial “Gaian” type planets that do not have an Earthlike terrestrial-type breathable atmosphere  like  the kind that has the exact gas mixture that we have here right on Earth.

Most parts of my own planet Kore is habitable for ” life “, ( albiet not the terrestral kind ) , yet a  biologically unmodified Earth person , or one that would need to wear a type of rebreathing  gear or suit – they would not be able to breath the “air” on the planet unaided. In other words, the atmosphere of Kore would be poisonous to any humans from Earth or Earthlike Terraformed worlds…. ( I will hopefully come up with the exact gas mix of the Korian Atmosphere in a future posting… )

Anyway, back to the making of the Thermasia system, and  back to StarGen. I was luckier the second time I tried generating the planets, this time using the online version. I only got two complete  systems generated using a stellar mass of .742 for the online version of StarGen:

The First One :

First Generated System, Part a:

First Generated System, Part B:

First Generated System, Part C:

And the second system generated:

Second Generated System, Part A:

Second Generated System, Part B:

Second Generated System, Part C:

Both systems look good, but a little too many planets that I want to deal with.  And not to mention that the Stargen Program does not take into account the possibility of a habitable Epistellar ( ” tidally locked”  ) planets, only  of the ” Terrestrial ” type.  The two habitable planets in the above generated results were both of a distance  of 0.538 AU and 0.575 AU respectively ( Kore is supposed to be about 0.54 AU ), and apparently that is about just outside the closest inner boundary limit to being tidally locked, or even having any “spin-lock” type  resonance ( like Mercury or Venus , that rotates two or three times  per Orbital revolution / Year ).

No matter, It still is very possible for the planet Kore to still be tidally locked at that distance, even slightly outside that tidal locked orbital  limit of a star with stellar mass of .74. One factor which could theoretically cause it  I will reveal in an upcoming future post, when I focus on  the Planet Kore itself……. : )

Of course, the above planetary systems generated above inthe StarGen Program are  not the final  arrangements for the Thermasia system, but I needed to have some sort of foundations to work with. I wanted to work with 8 or 9 planets, like our own system, to keep things simple and grounded in and using the knowledge that was available now.

The next step for me in this process  will be deciding the basic setup  and exact number of planets in the Thermasia System, and the types of planets that it consists of….

This may take a while…..Stay tuned!

Planet Kore Part I: The Specs – Introduction

How did I first come up with the characteristics of the planet to begin with?

Well, first, I wanted the planet to be much older than Earth, about 400 million years older. And for that to work,  I needed the planet’s sun to be long lived as well. And that meant having the Sun to be a K-type star, as opposed to the often used and familiar G-type Spectrum stars, such as our Sun

K Spectrum stars may be able to support life for long periods, far longer than our  Sun ( K types last from 21 to 30 Billion years, as opposed to G type stars like our sun, which typically last from 9 to 17 Billion years ).

This K spectral range likely accounts for between 5 and 10% of stars in our Milky Way Galaxy, as opposed to  the G spectral type, which only comprises 5 percent of the stars in our galaxy.

Most stars are also in binary groups, but I wanted to avoid using one for this project. There would be  problems with balancing the  orbital mechanics of a multiple star system on a stable Habitable Zone.

After doing extensive research on the internet, I finally settled on the star to be HD 166620 , or HIP 88972 ( AKA HR 6806 ).  A somewhat boring, rather nondescript relatively dim star …

( HD 166620 …. Courtesy of the Celestia Space  Simulation Software )

HD 166620 is a solitary, orange, main sequence (K2 V) star located thirty-six light-years away from Earth, in the constellation Hercules.

I decided to name this star ” Thermasia ” because in Greek Mythology, that was another name for Demeter, and Demeter was the mother of Persephone, AKA “Kore”.

( Courtesy of AstroSythesis Star Mapping Program )

( Courtesy of AstroSythesis Star Mapping Program )

The required ” Habitable Zone”  for “Terrestrial type” life would place a planet very close to a K – type Star, especially one with a Spectral Type K2V, which was the star I chose. But that would mean that that planet would end up becoming “Tidally Locked” to it’s star, in other words, the gravity of that planet’s sun would slow  it’s rotation down to match it’s orbital revolution around it’s sun. in other words, that planet’s sunward side would always face it’s sun. This is similar to the case with our own moon, which is tidally locked to earth, and only shows one face to us on the surface. But in the case of a ‘life bearing world”, this would mean that  one side of the planet then would be baked in constant sunlight, while the other side would freeze in constant darkness. And with an environment like that, most Astronomers and Exobiologists had discounted  the idea that  any kind of Terrestrial  type life would  be able to form on such a world.

Dispite this knowledge, I still  wanted to entertain the possibility that tidally locked exoplanets might still be habitable. Even though an alien moon orbiting a gas giant planet of a red dwawf star may be more likely to be more , habitable that a tidally locked Earth – sized planet or “Super Earth”, not to mention possibly more common  in the Galaxy, I still wanted to have  something along the lines like those planets.

So now that I have the  Sun of my fictional system  taken care of, it was now time for me to do the planets of the Thermasia system, mainly the important one for my story, that of the Planet Kore

Welcome to the Kore Project

Welcome to the Kore Project!

Kore” is the name of the fictional world that I am building from the ground up, my own personal alien planet ecosystem project. I’ve wanted to do this sort of thing for years, ever since I first read Harlan Ellison’s collaborative science-fictional world-building Project , ” Medea: Harlan’s Worldback in 1985 . Worldbuilding is an activity primarily developed by science fiction writers to give depth and credibility to their fictional stories. I’m no worldbuilding specialist, but this blog will mark my progress in creating a complete planetary system from geology, climate and ecology. Designing and alien world from scratch is nothing new, but I always wanted to do my own  believable alien ecosystem project- creating an entire eco-system based on an another world.  Others have attempted, but they mostly focused on one particular planet, and not the whole star  system. But doing the  latter tended to be pretty involved and difficult.

But I think I’m up for the challenge!

This blog will pretty much follow the same process in which Harlan Ellison’s Medea planet was created:

  • Part I: The Specs
    • Introduction
    • Basic Concepts: Astrophysics, Geology
    • Geology, Meteorology, Oceanography, Geography, Nomenclature, Biology
    • Biology, Ecology, Xenology
    • Xenology, Sociology, Politics, Theology, Mathematics
  • Part II: The Concept review
  • Part III: The Extrapolations, the Questions
  • Part IV: Second Thoughts
  • Part V: The Stories

Of course,  the result of this process, will help me creating a project  ”Bible”, just in case anyone else would like to contribute and or collaborate with this project.

This is shaping out to be a pretty big undertaking, so it’s good to research this  as much as one can do in manageable parts over a period of time.  There really is no rush, This is just a side project that I’m doing – It may eventake a few years to completely realise my goal. Fortunately ( or unfortunately! )  there is alot of information that one can use when doing this sort of thing.  Speaking of which, here are just a few world building sites  that I found on the internet that are  helping me with this endeavor:

World Builders – this site will help you immensely in helping one create a world/planet from the bottom up – from the solar system right to the life forms.

Orion’s Arm Universe ProjectWorldbuilding links and Software -  An interesting collective hard science fiction world building site  which provide links that are useful for the creation of new worlds or for information on real ones.

Project Rho – An amazing and Comprehensive site for the creation of authentic  yet fictional star systems.

Sagan 4 – A group project creating an alien ecosystem originating from a single cell.

Aurelia -  this was the name of  a speculative planet , one of alien two worlds featured in the  National Geographic Channel show Extraterrestrial –  and  this gave me one of the main basis for creating a realistic habitable tidally -locked world.

Snaiad: A very interesting Speculative Biologist site with believable alien life and animal ecology.

Epona:  A good example of a hypothetical alien world building exercise, made by created by group scientists and science fiction writers. As far as I know, no new updates have been done in *13* years!

Furaha: Another Speculative Biologist – centered site, which has a planet with interesting  alien life  forms both animal and plants ( Overall world much more comprehensive than Snaiad, which is more focused on just Speculative Biology ).

This Orb: a world-building experiment blog: chronicling the process, methods, & intents of designing a detailed earth-like planet using scientific principles, & subjective inference. A very good blog that this very site was inspired by!

That’s pretty much it for the introduction. I’ll list more sites for world building information as time goes by or link to them at the sidebar.

What next? I’ll begin to start providing some background information on how I began the creation of  the Kore planet and related system, not to mention  posting some pictures, 3D models, Stats and sketches of the project in the coming weeks and months.

As I said before, since this will be an ongoing project, there really won’t be a true end date or time scale for this. But hopefully, it will be an interesting trip!