Greetings from Sweden! Over the weekend, we've successfully relocated to Sweden from the Netherlands. We're still waiting for our stuff to arrive, but who needs stuff anyway. In between, I've just released the Isolated Futures Omnibus (more on that down below) and with that my first writing project has come to an end. I've been planning the next project, and have lined up an editorial team and set the deadlines. So all that is left is to actually write the book 😉
As part of the setting, I needed a solar system with two planets passing close by each other once a year. While I don't mind applying a bit of artistic license here and there, I do try to keep things realistic in my writing, so naturally I wanted to figure out if such a planetary configuration could actually exist. So what does one do when one has a question that can be answered by running the numbers and doing the math? Of course, one searches the internet for a clear-cut and easy to digest answer.
When none such result was forth-coming (even though the searches did turn up a bunch of interesting articles and posts that had me go off in all kinds of tangents), I figured I just needed to see for myself. That's when I changed tack and tried to find simulation software that would let me explore orbital parameters and see whether the resulting system would be stable.
I found just that in a software library named REBOUND. I added some code around it to visualise the otherwise purely mathematical representations in my computer's memory. If you're interested in the nitty gritty details, check out the article I wrote on my site or maybe even download the code and try it yourself. If you're more of the TL;DR type, long story short: I found out that such a system can very probably exist and here are some pretty pictures to prove it (the full article has video as well):
|All seven planets in the system
||The six closest planets, leaving out the far-out seventh planet
||Just the inner four planets. The brown and red orbits are the two
planets I was interested in.