The Sci-Fi & Fantasy Art Hold Up
This is how my fictional world Rädën looked when I had it in the Upsilon Andromeda solar system. For the full story on the image, click here.
I knew it was coming so I can’t say that I’m surprised. Last year, Barbara McArthur and her team of The University of Texas at Austin’s McDonald Observatory discovered so many things about the Upsilon Andromeda solar system that it changes EVERYTHING about my fictional world Rädën and the possibilities of carbon-based LAWKI on it. For a while, it looked like I’d have to put my moon in orbit around U And d instead of c but even that was like trying to shove a square peg into a round hole. I don’t mind a little shoehorning but I have an aversion to making SF art based on really bad astronomy. I decided to curtail my sci-fi and fantasy art output and wait to see what development would come from the Kepler Mission.
Finding Earth-size planets in Earth-like orbits requires patience, because observations must be repeated to confirm discoveries. If an alien astronomer in a distant solar system were looking for us, Earthly transits would be seen once per year (our year, of course), and that good astronomer would require at least three transit observations to announce a discovery. The same is true for the Kepler scientists.
Earlier this year, the Kepler team reported finding 1, 235 planetary candidates circling 997 stars. The results included 68 candidates of Earth-like size worlds, and 54 of them being in the habitable zone of their stars (specifically the Goldilocks zone). It’s estimated that 5.4% of stars host Earth-size candidates and 17% of stars have multiple planets. The next data release is scheduled for June 2012.
I can hardly wait for that announcement. Kepler is my key to finding a new setting for Rädën. I’m hoping that things are going to get wild!