How does Triaxus not crash into the other planets?


General Discussion


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I don't know how orbits work exactly. Starfinder core states that Triaxus' orbit takes it from between Eox and Liavara(winter) to nearer to the sun than Castravel(summer). With 79 year seasons, how does it not smack into the other planets whose seasons are 15 months or shorter?

Grand Lodge

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Because Starfinder is science fiction/fantasy, not science fact. Try enjoying the setting without thinking too hard about these kinds of details.

-Skeld

Edit: I don't know much about Triaxus or Golarion's solar system, but I'm going to guess that, in addition to the highly eccentric orbit you describe, it's also out of the orbital plane occupied by most of the other planets' and has limited opportunities to insect other planets' orbits. That's just a science-ish guess though.

Dark Archive

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BEHOLD! The power of plot!

The Exchange

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Likely because of science. Real life example...not that pluto is a planet...article

Verdant Wheel

There is a lot of space out there, a planet running into another is not so easy.

Scarab Sages Starfinder Design Lead

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GeneticDrift wrote:
Likely because of science. Real life example...not that pluto is a planet...article

This. The Pact Worlds orbits are based on those of our own real-universe solar system, so for the same reason Neptune will never hit Pluto, Triaxus won't ever hit any of the other worlds in that system.


I imagine that the tumultuous beginnings of planets probably sort a lot of this stuff out before life ever springs up. Gravity and collisions probably happen a lot and the planets are what's left when everything stops hitting each other.


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What gets me about Triaxus is not the risk of it hitting another planet, but that the summer is long enough for anyone to grow up during that time -- when you are in a highly eccentric orbit, you move slowly while far away from the central object (the sun) and therefore spend most of your time there, and then you whiz by the central object and therefore spend only a tiny fraction of the time close to it. Most visible comets work this way. Now you could have a planet with a moderately eccentric orbit (like Mercury(*)) and a long orbital period (like Neptune(*)) that would get you both a usably long summer and winter and even fall and spring -- but for it to be habitable, it would either need to have a super-powerful greenhouse effect (which would tend to blunt the seasons(**), and tend to make the atmosphere hard for Humanoids to breathe) or be orbiting a much brighter star than ours or Golarion's (such things exist, but introduce their own problems).

(*)Alternatively, use something like Pluto's orbital parameters.

(**)This blunting effect would be less severe on seasons induced by orbital eccentricity (due to redistributing the heat) than on seasons induced by axial tilt (the really long year would give enough time for significant total heat escape during the winter, so that you don't have a warm region to redistribute the heat from).

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Because space is huge. Mind-bendingly, incomprehensibly huge.

As an example, You could line up every single planet in our real world solar system the space between Earth and our own Moon and have room to spare.

Impacts between planets are exceedingly rare because of this. Earth once impacted another planet, Tera, but in that case the two planets literally shared the same orbital path & it still took millions of years for their orbits to fall out of sync & for them to collide.

Triaxus crosses a lot of other planets' orbits but it doesn't stay in any of them long and likely doesn't orbit on the same vertical plane as any of the others(most planets don't & depictions of them doing so are for the benefit of the viewer, not to be scientifically accurate), so it likely never directly crosses paths with any of them.


It's would be less about collisions and more about triaxus's gravitational effects disturbing the orbits of other worlds, destabilizing the system. Since it's inclination and exact eccentricity is never specified, it's hard to judge it's effects other than it being an implausible planet.


FormerFiend wrote:

{. . .}

Impacts between planets are exceedingly rare because of this. Earth once impacted another planet, Tera, but in that case the two planets literally shared the same orbital path & it still took millions of years for their orbits to fall out of sync & for them to collide.
{. . .}

Theia is the spelling I have seen (named after the Titan who gave birth to Selene).


UnArcaneElection wrote:
FormerFiend wrote:

{. . .}

Impacts between planets are exceedingly rare because of this. Earth once impacted another planet, Tera, but in that case the two planets literally shared the same orbital path & it still took millions of years for their orbits to fall out of sync & for them to collide.
{. . .}

Theia is the spelling I have seen (named after the Titan who gave birth to Selene).

You're probably right, I was going off of memory there.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

In 3 dimensional space, Triaxus' orbit likely doesn't directly cross any other planet's. In a 2-D projection this can be unclear, but as mentioned above, Pluto and Neptune don't collide and it's not just improbable that they would, their orbits literally don't touch in 3-D space.


With an orbit as odd as it has probably indicates it was a wanderer that was captured which also tends to indicate its orbital axis is probably somewhat to very off the systems plane so the amount of actual overlap in orbits is probably minimal to none. Even the gravity effects probably are only an issue once every very very very long time.

Shadow Lodge

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Quote:
How does Triaxus not crash into the other planets?

Overrun Combat Maneuvers.


There is also a certain quasi-Anthropic answer to some of these questions: "Why doesn't Triaxus collide with or disrupt other planets?"

Answer: "Because if its orbit was correct for that to happen, it would have already happened a couple billion years ago."

Relatedly, you can answer "But what are the odds a planet would have the correct orbit for such a long survival?" with "They can be as low as you want, as long as there were a large number of potential-Triaxuses 5 billion years ago." Which is to say, you only see the surviving planetary bodies now, not all the countless ones that collided and coallesced, or fell into the sun, or flung off into deep space.


You know I'm sure I recall something from PF, whether in Distant worlds or Reign of Winter, that strongly suggested Triaxus' orbit is to one extent or another unnaturally slow with the suggestion that magic is somehow involved.


"You may think it's a long walk to the Chemist's, but that's peanuts compared to space." -- Douglas Adams.

Even the Pact Worlds system is really, really big. There's lots of room for many more orbiting objects than are laid out. Which makes the possibility of, say, hiding additional objects in areas out of the usual space travel lanes absurdly easy. Not anything planet-sized, maybe more like additional stations significantly smaller than Absalom.


Or, if you want to really challenge high-level adventurers, create a scenario where Triaxus has been thrown off-course and is ready to careen into another planet, risking a collision that would shatter both. Every single scientific or magical mind in the Pact is working on stopping it, and the PCs would obtain vital information that would oput Triaxus back on-course in the right hands -- or annihilate the system in the wrong.

And who sent it off-course in the first place? Why would anyone want to play billiards with inhabited planets?


because they are saving that plot point for GM's to use. :)

it'd be interesting if the worlds that got destroyed to make the diaspora were not destroyed by Eox but my Triaxus gravity messing with their orbit.

(I still cannot believe sarcessians are from both world, I can see them from one and colonizing the other)


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You know if we're wondering about the gravitational affects that a given planet's orbit is going to have on the rest of the solar system, personally I'd be wondering what affect Golarion suddenly not being there is going to have, myself.


When in doubt, it's definitely Aucturn's fault.


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Dread Moores wrote:
When in doubt, it's definitely Aucturn's fault.

Definitely. Definitely Aucturn.


FormerFiend wrote:
You know if we're wondering about the gravitational affects that a given planet's orbit is going to have on the rest of the solar system, personally I'd be wondering what affect Golarion suddenly not being there is going to have, myself.

It was long enough ago that the effects would have happened already, and the current orbits of the planets would have been different than what they are now. Whatever destroyed/relocated the Cage might have been significantly enough concerned about the rest of the system to moderate it somewhat (if you're powerful enough to move planets around with impunity it's child's play). Whether they would have been concerned enough to do something with the people on the planet other than annihilate them or leave them to their own devices in a parallel universe is another story....


Takes more than a few thousand years for one planet's gravitational effects(or the lack there of) to play out.

That's actually why I'm not at all concerned with Triaxus's gravity affecting any other planets because that's something that's been going on for long enough that the current state of affairs is pretty much standard with it factored in.


Unless we can get a good estimate of the masses of all the things in the solar system, I’d hazard a guess that if Golarion just blinked to a different place, the only things that would really be disturbed are things actually orbiting it. Everything else would have a fun new orbit afterwards, but probably not a drastic change.

Now, if Golarion was… like, put on a leash and dragged away, like a naughty puppy? That would likely be pretty disruptive to everything it was dragged past.


Well the issue is more that for the entire time Golarion was there, it was holding a leash on the other planets(that were in turn all holding leashes on it).

Now, for some - Liavara & Betheda, obviously - this would have been entirely negligible. But for Akiton, Castrovel, and potentially Aballon & Verces, having that leash suddenly cut might end up having some consequences later on down the line.

Not that it's likely we'll see the outcome of that any time soon, the time scales are just too big.


Sure, there'd be some consequences. But they'd be more 'now your orbit is slightly more elliptical' or 'now it takes 389 days instead of 351 days to complete a solar orbit.' Rather than, say, ejecting a planet from the solar system.

Gravity just isn't real strong over distances, and while everything is pretty interconnected, gravitationally, the amount that a single planet effects an entire solar system isn't all that much, given the total of other bodies in said system.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

If you want to drag physics into it, once you're outside a sphere big enough to contain both Golarion and the star, you can treat the whole affair as basically a point at the center of mass of the system. So Golarion's disappearance will have an effect equivalent to deleting that amount of mass from the center of mass, plus adjusting its wobble to account for one less planet. If Golarion and its star are roughly analogous to Earth and the Sun, we're talking about changing things by a factor of a about a millionth. So a planet with an orbital period of 10 years might see a change of up to a few minutes in its period, that sort of thing. Measurable but not catastrophic. There would be some even smaller tidal effects.

Disclaimer: This is a back-of-the-envelope Fermi-question style estimate, not a hard workup.


^A planet-star subsystem doesn't go to effectively a point THAT fast. For instance, the angle between Earth and the Sun observed from Mars (only 1.5 AU from the Sun) is still quite wide, and gravitational effects will be correspondingly non-point-like -- if our solar system had a brown dwarf in place of Earth, Mars would not be able to keep anything close to its current orbit, even if this amount of mass was subtracted from the Sun. Even at Jupiter (5.2 AU), this angle is still noticeable. Note that if this WASN'T true, orbital resonances such as between Neptune and Pluto (and various other dwarf planets) or between the inner 3 Galilean Moons of Jupiter wouldn't work.

Silver Crusade

A little off topic but I'm more interested in how Triaxus doesn't become a big ball of ice when it gets to the furthest end of its orbit from the sun. (And yes for the love of the gods I know this is Science-Fantasy)


Harveyopolis wrote:
A little off topic but I'm more interested in how Triaxus doesn't become a big ball of ice when it gets to the furthest end of its orbit from the sun. (And yes for the love of the gods I know this is Science-Fantasy)

In this case, magic would definitely be involved. After all, there are several planets in the Pact Worlds system that should be complete hellholes but aren't. (and at least two that should be complete hellholes and are, in fact, complete hellholes).

We're talking about a universe with verifiably active gods, many of whom are quite capable of engineering worlds to their needs. These beings have the potential to throw everything out of whack, especially when they start going after each other for real or imagined slights.


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The Thirteenth Gate details a planet that orbits further from it's star than Aucturn does from the Pact Worlds Sun, and they feel the need to point out that this would normally be beyond the habitable zone before explaining the various phenomena that keeps it just barely habitable. Still a frozen hellhole, but some liquid water remains.

Now, given that saying that a planet orbiting further than Aucturn is "outside the habitable zone" is akin to saying New York City is outside the borders of New Zealand, and that's understating it, my assumption is that the habitable zone in the Starfinder universe is just bigger than it is in the real world for whatever reason.

Now, they do specify back in Pathfinder that Triaxus' orbit is unnatural and likely the result of magic - specifically they say that it shouldn't take it as long as it does to orbit the sun; that it's orbit should be measured in decades, not centuries. And we know that this world is one of the ones Baba Yaga uses as a source for the endless winter in Irrisen, though slowing a planet's orbit seems beyond the power of even a level 20 witch mythic tier 10 archmage, so that could be coincidental.

Point being, same mechanism could be responsible for the fact that Triaxus manages to avoid becoming a full snowball world even in the depths of it's winter, though it is mentioned in Pathfinder that along the equator the triaxians/ryphorians do use artificial means to maximize what little solar energy they get.


FormerFiend wrote:
Now, they do specify back in Pathfinder that Triaxus' orbit is unnatural and likely the result of magic - specifically they say that it shouldn't take it as long as it does to orbit the sun; that it's orbit should be measured in decades, not centuries. And we know that this world is one of the ones Baba Yaga uses as a source for the endless winter in Irrisen, though slowing a planet's orbit seems beyond the power of even a level 20 witch mythic tier 10 archmage, so that could be coincidental.

Would slowing a planet's orbit actually require more power than locking the planet in eternal winter without changing its orbit? Just magically imposing snow and cold everywhere.


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thejeff wrote:
Would slowing a planet's orbit actually require more power than locking the planet in eternal winter without changing its orbit? Just magically imposing snow and cold everywhere.

Nooooooooooo.

From what I could look up, the total kinetic energy of the earth for example is 2.69x10^33 joules or 2,690,000,000 yottajoules. Earth's gravitational binding energy (AKA the amount of energy you need to dump into it to shatter it) is 2x10^32 joules or 200,000,000 yottajoules.

Anything that has the power to alter a planet's kinetic energy in a meaningful way would require an amount of power that would be classified as a doomsday weapon in any other context. Being able to enforce an eternal winter via magic should be child's play. Just raise the planet's albedo to make it better at reflecting the energy it gets from the sun and it's temperature should drop.


WhiteWeasel wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Would slowing a planet's orbit actually require more power than locking the planet in eternal winter without changing its orbit? Just magically imposing snow and cold everywhere.

Nooooooooooo.

From what I could look up, the total kinetic energy of the earth for example is 2.69x10^33 joules or 2,690,000,000 yottajoules. Earth's gravitational binding energy (AKA the amount of energy you need to dump into it to shatter it) is 2x10^32 joules or 200,000,000 yottajoules.

Anything that has the power to alter a planet's kinetic energy in a meaningful way would require an amount of power that would be classified as a doomsday weapon in any other context. Being able to enforce an eternal winter via magic should be child's play. Just raise the planet's albedo to make it better at reflecting the energy it gets from the sun and it's temperature should drop.

Or you just move it because it's magic.

Or just make it colder.

Magic isn't physics. You don't play physics games like changing albedo, you just summon eternal winter.

Thinking about magic in physics terms is a fool's game. Some spells are easy and should use huge amounts of energy, others are much harder, but might require much less. Others of course it doesn't even make sense to talk about "amount of power" in any conventional sense.


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For what it's worth the two (in universe) explanations proposed in Distant Worlds are as follows; temporal anomaly surrounding the planet like a bubble to some magical engine or portal at the planet's scenter" and everything in between, whatever that may be.

Goes onto say that the Ryphorians/Triaxians themselves don't, or at least didn't during PF times, put much thought into it as they're too busy trying to survive the effects to "worry overmuch about what hand - divine or mortal - may have shaped both them and their world."

That last bit strikes me as interesting because it suggests that the evolution of Triaxus' life was specifically altered to let them deal with the unnatural seasons, which makes sense, and also allows for all of this to be the work of a god or multiple gods, or some collection of mortals. Kishalee, maybe?


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thejeff wrote:

Or you just move it because it's magic.

Or just make it colder.

Magic isn't physics. You don't play physics games like changing albedo, you just summon eternal winter.

Thinking about magic in physics terms is a fool's game. Some spells are easy and should use huge amounts of energy, others are much harder, but might require much less. Others of course it doesn't even make sense to talk about "amount of power" in any conventional sense.

Why not? Magic is just bending the laws of universe to your whim. It's not a stretch to think the more dramatic the change in the "law" is, the more powerful the spell needs to be in some metric to achieve the desired effect.


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WhiteWeasel wrote:
thejeff wrote:

Or you just move it because it's magic.

Or just make it colder.

Magic isn't physics. You don't play physics games like changing albedo, you just summon eternal winter.

Thinking about magic in physics terms is a fool's game. Some spells are easy and should use huge amounts of energy, others are much harder, but might require much less. Others of course it doesn't even make sense to talk about "amount of power" in any conventional sense.

Why not? Magic is just bending the laws of universe to your whim. It's not a stretch to think the more dramatic the change in the "law" is, the more powerful the spell needs to be in some metric to achieve the desired effect.

The metaphysics of magic dictate that it becomes more difficult as it helps you overcome powerful foes and obstacles, not in proportion to the energy it would require to accomplish a similar task via mundane means. Duh.


Xenocrat wrote:
WhiteWeasel wrote:
thejeff wrote:

Or you just move it because it's magic.

Or just make it colder.

Magic isn't physics. You don't play physics games like changing albedo, you just summon eternal winter.

Thinking about magic in physics terms is a fool's game. Some spells are easy and should use huge amounts of energy, others are much harder, but might require much less. Others of course it doesn't even make sense to talk about "amount of power" in any conventional sense.

Why not? Magic is just bending the laws of universe to your whim. It's not a stretch to think the more dramatic the change in the "law" is, the more powerful the spell needs to be in some metric to achieve the desired effect.
The metaphysics of magic dictate that it becomes more difficult as it helps you overcome powerful foes and obstacles, not in proportion to the energy it would require to accomplish a similar task via mundane means. Duh.

Yeah, totally should have seen it that way, after all; Magic A is magic A. "It's been said that as long as magic causes problems for the main characters, it can be free-form and arbitrary; but once it starts being used to solve the main characters' problems, it needs to be given strict limits."

The Exchange

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Might also be the current way it is because of what happened to Eox. Mind you it's most likely Baba Yaga keeping her backyard in once piece.

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