Archive for October, 2017

Oct 26 2017

MileHiCon 49, and book promos!

Published by under T-Space,Writing

It’s the weekend for MileHiCon, the Denver regional science-fiction convention, at the Denver Tech Center Hyatt-Regency hotel.
I will be there for the weekend, including panels Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, and the mass autographing Saturday afternoon. Find me and say “hi”.

My books will be available on sale at Robert Williscroft’s table (his books include Operation Ivy Bells, The Starchild Compact and Slingshot; if you like my stuff, you’ll probably like his.)

And for those who can’t make it, there are two Amazon promotions running. From Friday through Sunday, the ebook of Alpha Centauri: First Landing is free. The second volume, Alpha Centauri: Sawyer’s World will be on a “price countdown” (where the price starts low (99 cents) and increases over the next several days) from midnight Saturday (01:00 am Sunday 10/29 Mountain time) through the week, going back to full price next Saturday (11/4). Buy early! 😉 This is also a great opportunity to promote First Landing to your friends who might like it. Amazon lets you buy an ebook as a gift and they’ll mail a redemption code to your designated recipient; I assume that will also work for this price promotion.

And The Eridani Convergence is almost ready for release. I hope to have it available for pre-order in a week or so.

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Oct 01 2017

Tau Ceti exoplanets, new information.

Published by under Astronomy,T-Space

So it seems that Tau Ceti — a sun-like star just shy of twelve light-years from here — has exoplanets. Through a pretty creative application of mathematics and modeling to observations of the star, astronomers teased out signal from the noise in the data and initially (in December, 2012) thought they’d found five planets (plus a lot of dust) in the system, labeled Tau Ceti b through f (a is always reserved for the primary, the star itself). All of them several times larger than Earth, but probably not gas giants. (The star may have gas giants, but far enough out to make them too hard to detect with current instruments.)

This past August (2017), however, the estimates were revised. The data suggests only four planets, with b, c and d (the former inner three) being replaced by g and h (the labeling is purely chronological by discovery date). Both of these are too close to the star to be habitable.

Tau Ceti III (officially, Tau Ceti e currently), however, is within the Habitable Zone, where water could be liquid. Good thing, too, because that’s where I put it back in 2011 when I wrote The Chara Talisman. Unfortunately, it also turns out to be a “super-Earth”, coming in an anywhere from about 3.2 to 4.6 times the mass of Earth. I have several chapters set on Skead (as I call Tau Ceti III) in the upcoming The Eridani Convergence, although not all that mass is in the planet (it has a large moon, too).

The gravity is higher than Earth’s (in the 1.3-1.5 gee range) but not intolerably so. It does increase the escape velocity significantly, but warp ship pilots have a trick up their sleeves for dealing with that. I’m not sure what it does for the coffee crop, though. 😉

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