Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Worldbuilding, and the Real World intruding on that

OK, this is how much of a complete dork of a worldbuilder I am.

If you follow astronomy news at all, you'd know that the star Gliese 581 has been in the news today, as they discovered a planet in the "habitable zone" for the star.  This is, by the way, the seventh planet discovered in the Gliese 581 system.

So I go through my Space Opera setting worldbuilding files, noting I don't even HAVE Gliese 581 on it.  How did that happen?  I'm supposed to have an accurate list of all major stars within 100 light years!

What do I do?  I go to wikipedia, look up Gliese 581, get its Right Ascension and Declimation and Distance, plug that into my ChView program, and see where the star pops up.  Right by it: the boringly named BD-07 4003.  Go back to Wikipedia, and lo and behold, that's one of its alternate names.  Back to my own database, what do I have?  Zero planets.

(I should note that the number of planets in any star system, and by "any" I do mean all 4,660 in the 100ly radius of Earth, was determined by a random algorithm taking into account a star's spectrum and mass.  Said algorithm makes in that most M-type stars have zero planets... so I may have to redo that since Gliese 581, as an M3V star, serves a fairly good example of the flaw in said algorithm.)

So, even though this would probably have ZERO impact on the actual stories I write in my Space Opera Setting, I feel a compulsion to Fix It.  I know Gliese 581 actually has seven planets, so I can't have it say zero on my database.  So I went through, fixed it, declared it a protected system of the alien alliance (who would keep grubby human paws of the place), and called that fixed.

And that's how much of a worldbuilding dork I am.


D. D. Tannenbaum said...

Makes me want to read it and pick nits! :-) I go for the Quantum Physics articles myself, to make sure I stay current.

Marshall Ryan Maresca said...

I even went and checked if it would be of any strategic importance in the Krek'nik War. It would not (in the wrong direction.)