1. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    effects of axial tilt, moons, solar distance, and other things on a planet

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Edward, Jul 12, 2007.

    I'm trying my hand at Geo-Fiction, but I'd like all the details of the planet to be as accurate as possible. Long story short, I'm an idiot.

    I need to know what kinds of axial tilts would allow for the right kinds of seasons. I need to know what the effect of two moons would have on the planet, how big the planet would be to have the right gravity, whether having a ring around the planet would alter gravity and the tides. What the change would be if a three moon planet had it's third moon hit by a meteor and it became a ring... :confused: so many things...
     
  2. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I'm afraid, Edward, I don't have the answer for you. This is a very specialist question, and I doubt there will be anyone on here with knowledge enough in the required fields to give you a full answer. I would advise that you consult an expert, either a teacher of physics or geography, or you might try asking on a geography- or physics-specific forum. Sorry I can't be of more help.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I couldn't pull quantitative formulae out of my head, but in general, the greater the axial tilt, the greater the extremes between the seasons, generally because of the area that a square meter of sunlight (perpendicular area) becomes when it strikes an angled surface - so if the same sunlight that illuminates a square meter when the sun is vertically above is spread out over a two meter area due to the sun strikeing at 60 degrees away from vertical, the solar heating is at half the potency. In terms of actual surface temperatures, it becomes extremely complex.

    Also, if the orbit of the planet around the primary (the sun) is highly elliptical, the distance from the primary also affects the energy available per square meter; at double the distance, 1/4 of the energy is available.

    Rings don't have much gravitational influence on the tides; it's largely a tidal effect that spreds the material out evenly around the planet, and that pretty much neutralizes the tidal effects. Tides will peak on the points closest and farthest from each moon on the planet (near side and far side) , and as a first estimate you can consider the effect of each moon separately. Our own moon is somewhat atypically large and close as moons go; if it were much closer, it would have broken apart into a ring structure.

    A meteor is not really massive enough to break up a moon of any significant size. A much larger body would add its own kinetic energy to the system, and the resulting debris cloud would begin to travel in a more elliptical orbit than the original moon (almost certainly). Debris from the collision might well fall disastrously to the planet over thousands of years.

    Hope that gives you some kind of start, anyway.
     
  4. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    so there's a chance in real life a shattered moon would kill us all, huh... darn, I had read somewhere that a moon breaking up would either come together to form a new moon, or drift into a ring. Also, it's a fantasy story though, and the "Meteor" is actually three Gods that fell to the planet, I guess I could just say that accounts for the thing breaking up if anyone ever asks (I doubt they will, but I sometimes get anal about it...).

    I hadn't actually though about having each moon separately effecting the tides, I had just thought about both of them working together. huh... depending on their positions they'd possibly either cancel each other out or turn the whole of the (large) ocean into a tidal death soup... brings a whole new meaning to the term "wet season"

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    I'm assuming this is how it would work at least...
    NOTE: the "e"s on the end of things is just me being asinine, ignore them
     

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