Recent Chat Activity (Main Lobby)
Join Chat

Loading Chat Log...

Prefer not to see ads? Become a Community Supporter.
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 35

Thread: Astronomy Basics - How do I figure out star distances

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Evanston
    Posts
    31
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0

    Astronomy Basics - How do I figure out star distances

    Prefer not to see ads?
    Become a Community Supporter.
    Here's a fun puzzle I'm having to deal with as I make a realistic star travel campaign setting. I've managed to find a list of all the yellow-orange stars within 100 light years of earth, and most of them up to about 50 light years have enough data on them that you can tell if they might possibly have a rocky planet in the water zone that would generate life. The rest, Im just guessing based on feel. I know the distance each is from earth and what constellation they are in or near, but I don't know how to figure how far they are from each other. There is a planetarium with an observatory in my home city, I was wondering about asking them, but there are lots and lots of potentially habitable planets. Hmmmm. Anyone have any resources on this, where I can determine one star's distance from another if I have the names of the stars?
    Last edited by Engineer Doramos; 10-20-2008 at 02:41 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Memphis
    Posts
    125
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    [comment about D&D 4E]I have to ask myself, am I just buying a name here? If I fell in love with a gal named Wanda ten years ago, does that mean that every new Wanda that comes along is going to be just as groovy?
    I like the old Wanda, This new Wanda looks like high maintenence.
    ~nordo billingswary at the K&Co forums

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    West Jordan
    Posts
    5,108
    Blog Entries
    41
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    short of looking it up in a resource of some kind... it's a matter of plotting on a 3 dimensional grid where each planet is in relation to each other and then doing some fancy footwork with the pythagorean theorem. and that's assuming a still snapshot not taking into account movement within the galactic arm. ^^
    nijineko the gm: AG16, CoS. nijineko the player: AtG, RttToH; . The Journal of Tala'elowar Kiyiik! .
    CrystalBallLite: the best dice roller on the planet! . nijineko the archivist: the 3.x archive

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Evanston
    Posts
    31
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by Greylond View Post
    Cool, thanks Greylond! Ugh, thats a lot of math I have to do. Not even sure if my mac can look up sines and cosines, and I haven't had a scientific calculator in a long time.


    At least I don't have to use the equations at the bottom of the linked math page. ><


    I'm also not sure where in all the data I have the RA and DEC are, but I might find it there... if not I search elsewhere.


    I already have 72 planets and I'm somewhere between 70 and 80 light years out. You can see there's a massive amount of work I have to do.

    [Edit] After pondering the sheer logistics of trying to keep track of all the distances between hundreds of planets, I'm going to have to try another tactic. I still need to find out their general locations to one another however, especially to figure out history bits.
    Last edited by Engineer Doramos; 10-21-2008 at 01:08 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    9
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Distance between stars? Find the x, y and z axes.

    Distance^2 = (x1 - x2)^2 + (y1 - y2)^2 + (z1 - z2)^2

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Evanston
    Posts
    31
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    The problem is more like tying to group stars into sectors. If I have to work on a math equation on how far each star is from one another using Earth as an extrapolation every time, even if manage to get all the angles, it will be too clunky. If I try and predetermine all that data for the setting, I will go bonkers and lose my head of hair from pulling it all out. I figure since I have the constellations and the distance, I can eyeball it into some kind of 3-D sectors. There is also a page for each of the more known stars which tells me what stars are nearby, so that will help form sectors. I will still need to know the distance from one sector to nearby sectors though. Guess I need to look up a map of the constellations.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    St. Petersburg
    Age
    52
    Posts
    1,167
    Downloads
    1
    Uploads
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by Lev Lafayette View Post
    Distance between stars? Find the x, y and z axes.

    Distance^2 = (x1 - x2)^2 + (y1 - y2)^2 + (z1 - z2)^2
    I'm with Lev Lafayette on this one. It's not going to be realistic, but figuring out the x, y and z coordinates based on Earth being at 0,0,0, you can then use the above formula to get distance from any two stars. For a game, that's more than accurate enough for me.
    Skunk
    a.k.a. Johnprime



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Memphis
    Posts
    125
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    If you can find it the old rpg Traveller 2300 had a map just like this.
    [comment about D&D 4E]I have to ask myself, am I just buying a name here? If I fell in love with a gal named Wanda ten years ago, does that mean that every new Wanda that comes along is going to be just as groovy?
    I like the old Wanda, This new Wanda looks like high maintenence.
    ~nordo billingswary at the K&Co forums

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    St. Petersburg
    Age
    52
    Posts
    1,167
    Downloads
    1
    Uploads
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by Greylond View Post
    If you can find it the old rpg Traveller 2300 had a map just like this.
    LOL, that's what I was actually thinking of when I mentioned the x,y,z coordinate system above!
    Skunk
    a.k.a. Johnprime



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Memphis
    Posts
    125
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Yea, I wish I still had that game...
    [comment about D&D 4E]I have to ask myself, am I just buying a name here? If I fell in love with a gal named Wanda ten years ago, does that mean that every new Wanda that comes along is going to be just as groovy?
    I like the old Wanda, This new Wanda looks like high maintenence.
    ~nordo billingswary at the K&Co forums

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Evanston
    Posts
    31
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Excuse me, but its been a long time since math class for me. But in my understanding of geometry, you need to know two sides and the angle between them to come up with the length of the third side. As for D squared = X squared + Y squared + Z squared, I dont have D or Z so I cannot solve that with the information I currently have. I don't have coordinates of the stars, just two angles from the earth's surface by which to measure them, and the distance, so it will take Greylond's method to find it out, which is to use sines and cosines. Now, as for Traveller - the coordinates they give might be helpful, but I'm not sure if they have the same planets marked. I guess I would have to see if I can find a copy.

    Right now, I have them grouped into 4 north quadrants and 4 south quadrants, with the astrological signs they are near noted, along with the distance from Sol. I may just want to eyeball distances at this point, it won't be totally accurate but I don't think people will lynch me for it. Starships can only jump so far before they need to replace something in their cores anyway, so I shouldn't need to plot out how long it takes to jump from one end of a quadrant to the other end of an opposite quadrant.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Dallas
    Age
    57
    Posts
    453
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    The old X^2 + Y^2 + Z^2 formula is always the way to go. The sines and cosines you mentioned before are nessasary to set the three co-ordinates to begin with. Once you have those coordinates set (in stone, so to speak) then your game is ready to go. I have seen grid maps of 3D games before, and enjoyed some, and the designer always goes thru the trouble and work setting up these X,Y,Z things before hand. The formula is only for determining the straght line distance a ship must travel.

    BTW, I have done it myself in years gone by, and getting those coordinates set is A LOT OF WORK. So, don't envy my failer to finish the project. Getting the real time positions of the stars is a bunch more than I ever did. More power to you.
    Sure, Life IS like a bowl of cherries, but how SWEET they are depends on how much crap your willing to take to fertalize your DREAMS. Michael L. Cross

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Evanston
    Posts
    31
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    I'm still thinking eyeballing it works best for now, as I have a lot of other things to cover. However, I am really grateful for the help and pep talks. I think the two big deciding factors are 1) I dont have the energy to do all that math and 2) I don't have all the data needed for the RA and DEC of every star so I would have to search more, and some of these stars are quite obscure. I guess what I was really looking for was a genie to tell me of some website that is like babel fish with interstellar distances lol.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    West Jordan
    Posts
    5,108
    Blog Entries
    41
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    now you know why the sgf-1 stargate has a dial-a-planet approach! ^^ try explaining all that math on tv. =D

    as far as a list goes, try this link with a handy map. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nearest_stars

    pretty useful. in my opinion, your best bet is to simply plot them yourself on a x-y-z grid, using whatever arbitrary units you feel like. that way you can set the centerpoint of 0,0,0 to whatever star you want, or even no star at all. then simply state how many units each star is away from that center point. then if you really want to, you can use the formulas given above to calculate exact distances between each other.

    even simpler than that, just eyeball it and blame any variance on the vageries of your medium of travel. in this case, close enough is good enough. (just don't let the astrogators know that!) ^^
    nijineko the gm: AG16, CoS. nijineko the player: AtG, RttToH; . The Journal of Tala'elowar Kiyiik! .
    CrystalBallLite: the best dice roller on the planet! . nijineko the archivist: the 3.x archive

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Memphis
    Posts
    125
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    I found a copy of the Traveler 2300 list and sent it to him. Hope it helps out...
    [comment about D&D 4E]I have to ask myself, am I just buying a name here? If I fell in love with a gal named Wanda ten years ago, does that mean that every new Wanda that comes along is going to be just as groovy?
    I like the old Wanda, This new Wanda looks like high maintenence.
    ~nordo billingswary at the K&Co forums

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. How to figure damage to dead critter??
    By Annshadow in forum Dungeons & Dragons
    Replies: 25
    Last Post: 06-09-2008, 03:54 PM
  2. [GURPS] April 7, 2008: GURPS: The Basics
    By PnP News Bot in forum News
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 04-07-2008, 01:01 AM
  3. [D&D] New Player Tutorial: Feat Basics
    By PnP News Bot in forum News
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 01-15-2007, 01:24 PM
  4. [D&D] New Player Tutorial: Skill Basics
    By PnP News Bot in forum News
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 12-04-2006, 10:11 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •