Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Avatar

At least the science of Avatar gets a friendly review:

Pandora is a moon of Polyphemus, a fictional gas giant orbiting Alpha
Centauri A. I’ve always wanted to know what the view would be from
the moon of a gas giant. Can you imagine a quarter of the sky being
taken up by a massive cloud-covered planet visible night or day? We
get to see it in Avatar, and since Jupiter is the king of the gods,
maybe majestic is an appropriate word to describe it. I wonder if
Cameron’s choice to set this on the moon of a gas giant wasn’t a slap
in the face to Lucas, as if to say “this is RETURN OF THE JEDI done
right.” (I know it is ambiguous in the Star Wars universe whether or
not Endor orbits a gas giant.)

But what had me really geeking out is the choice of the star system.
Alpha Centauri A is perfect.

2 comments:

mike said...

Except that, as far as we can tell, there aren't any gas giants around Alpha Centaura A or B. If such existed, our current planet finding techniques are adequate to detect them -- and nothing's been detected. Of course, there's still a chance for roughly Earth-sized planets (roughly meaning up 10 x Earth size) -- we should have a handle on that within 5 or 6 years.

mike said...

Except that, as far as we can tell, there aren't any gas giants around Alpha Centaura A or B. If such existed, our current planet finding techniques are adequate to detect them -- and nothing's been detected. Of course, there's still a chance for roughly Earth-sized planets (roughly meaning up 10 x Earth size) -- we should have a handle on that within 5 or 6 years.