A white dwarf and planetary habitation

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A white dwarf and planetary habitation

Postby randyness » Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:36 am

I am writing a 100% sci-fi novel. I was advised a while back by Orson Scott Card to just write and Christ would come out. So I am writing with no agenda or parabolic meaning that I am trying to insert.

My wife thinks that this novel could be BIG. And she is one of the most picky readers that I have ever met. She will walk in to Barnes and Noble, pick up a book she has never heard of and flip to the back so she can read the ending. If she likes the ending then she goes to read the first few pages. She loves sci-fi and only likes JRR Tolkein when it comes to fantasy.

I am writing a scene where a character who does not realize he is on an alien planet and has grown up thinking he is on earth sees the true environment for the first time.

I want to be acurate as possible and I know some will have to be speculated. Ive done alot of research (including a call to an astro-physicist). It seems that there is a great chance for habitability in planets that orbit white dwarves. The best range would be 1 million miles away (the sun is 94 milllion miles away from us) and white dwarfs are about the same size as earth.

My complication is figuring out what the sky would look like by day and by night from the planets surface. Would there be an aura due to the great magnetism of the white dwarf? Would a dust trail be visible? what size the white dwarf would it have in the sky of the planet? Would it be darker or more light with a 10 hour rotation?

These are the questions that I am having a hard time answering. The astro-physicist said that the white dwarf would look like a white pin-hole in the sky but again he deferred to someone else who I have not been able to get ahold of. The fact that he deferred means he is not sure.
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Re: A white dwarf and planetary habitation

Postby brandav » Fri Oct 11, 2013 8:09 pm

It's interesting that there's still so much we don't understand about the universe. Even the astrophysicist doesn't know what it would be like to live on a planet orbiting a white dwarf star. If he's not sure, I think it's safe for you to develop your own logical rendition of the environment.

I'm not sure why the magnetism would cause an aura. Earth's sky is blue because of how the light hits the atmosphere. If the alien planet has a different type of atmosphere, then maybe the color would be different. If there isn't much of an atmosphere, then it would probably be like living on the moon.

If the planet is going to be about the same size as the earth, then you could estimate to figure out roughly how big the white dwarf would be in the sky (i.e. if the sun were only 1 million miles away from the earth, it would be nearly 100 times the size it is now. If the white dwarf is, say, 3% of the sun's size, it would be about 3 times as large as the sun is now).

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