February 27th, 2011

#2575: Taking reality and making it my bitch!

I'm working on one of my SF novels, and just discovered Regulus is egg-shaped.

Well, this news is 6 years old, and I only happened to find it by accident; but I'm incorporating it into the story I'm working on, and I'll fit it into the others going forward. This news doesn't nullify my work, though it does mean I have to throw out the "artistic license" flag a little sooner than I'd hoped to.

See, in my stories, there's a habitable planet circling Regulus. As a B7 class star, Regulus puts out a shitton of UV and x-rays--any planet with a breathable atmosphere will filter out the x-rays, but air is largely transparent to UV. Standing outside in the sun would be fatal; five minutes would kill you. The sunlight would look like a welding arc, too.

I fixed this by putting a dust ring a ways inside that planet's orbit. The planet has to orbit around 11 astronomical units from Regulus anyway, so there's plenty of room.

Problem: if they can image Regulus as well as the image accompanying that article would suggest, they'd be able to see a dust ring were one really there. Hence "artistic license". I'm going to have to claim that a lot more when they find out that the stars I used for my colony worlds don't have the right kind of planets around them....

*sigh* That's the life of an SF writer, though.

Anyway, I took the bulging star and made it a freakin' plot point! Now it turns out that if the star wasn't spinning that fast--and thus wasn't flattened--the dust ring wouldn't occlude enough of the star to keep its UV from frying the planet.

Ha!

History of the star name, etc.
Wikipedia entry on Regulus.