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Just as a disclaimer, I have very little knowledge on the science on all of this and have a very poor grasp on what is plausible and what isn't, but I suppose that's why I am here. I have a concept but have absolutely no idea how to make it make sense scientifically. Here is my concept:

My planet is Earth-like, very similar in size to earth or possibly even larger. I want it to go through three seasons. One season is extremely hot where wildfires engulf majority of the land and the temperatures soar. One season is extremely cold with intense tides and massive waves that freeze over the majority of the land. Then, the middle season in between those two which is what I'd describe as a Goldilocks zone, where the temperatures are similar to that on earth. There are humanoid civilizations that hibernate/live underground for the extreme seasons and live on top of land during the one middle season and have a magic system.

MAIN QUESTIONS: Would a planet of this intensity be able to sustain life? What would be required in the realm of the number of stars and the planets orbit for the climate I have mentioned to happen?

If anyone could help me, it would mean the world to me! Thank you :)

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  • $\begingroup$ You might want to edit the title to bring it more in line with the question, as it is they don't really ask the same thing, something like "is a planet with these seasons possible" might be more appropriate. $\endgroup$ – Ash Jul 1 '18 at 12:31
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you :) Will do. My original concept for the planets was that it would orbit three suns, each affecting the temperature in a different way so as to create the three different seasons but, you are right because I didn't end up... ACTUALLY saying that :/ thank you! $\endgroup$ – EJdare Jul 1 '18 at 12:45
  • $\begingroup$ Not a problem, good idea in future to leave questions open for at least 24 hours, on this stack especially, so the whole community can have a crack at the question. $\endgroup$ – Ash Jul 1 '18 at 12:55
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding, EJdare! If you have a moment please take the tour and visit the help center to learn more about the site. You may also find Worldbuilding Meta and The Sandbox (both of which require 5 rep to post on) useful. Have fun! $\endgroup$ – FoxElemental Jul 1 '18 at 13:12
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You can have those extremes with a planet orbiting a single star if it's orbit is highly elliptical. That would give you two Goldilocks seasons, one heading away from the star after the close approach that is the summer and one as it heads back towards the star from it's long winter at the far end of the ellipse.

Life might be able to survive such a cycle if the summer is not too extreme in terms of ionising radiation or the surface will get sterilised putting an end to life before it gets started. Life on Earth survived the deep freeze at least once, probably repeatedly so it's possible that if summer is hot but not scorching and winter is cold but not to the point of freezing the atmosphere to the ground then life will probably find a way.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you so much! I wasn't expecting an answer so quickly, and this really means a lot! Ahhhh my little writing heart is so excited to hear that my completely fictional concept is GOING TO WORK! Thank you again, this is so cool. $\endgroup$ – EJdare Jul 1 '18 at 12:44
  • $\begingroup$ No worries, I'm far from the best for astrophysics around here but this I can handle, working out exact approach etc... not so much plus We'd need more information, like spectral class to work with for those kinds of exact details. $\endgroup$ – Ash Jul 1 '18 at 12:54
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    $\begingroup$ except that for bigger tides, the planet needs to be closer to something with higher mass (or have multiple sources that align appropriately (we get higher tides here on earth when sun and moon are positioned so that their tidal effects reinforce each other). With a highly elliptical orbit you'd presumably get bigger tides in the hot season when you're closest to the sun. $\endgroup$ – JerryTheC Jul 1 '18 at 22:31
  • $\begingroup$ @JerryTheC Yeah probably but that's outside the scope of the question. $\endgroup$ – Ash Jul 2 '18 at 10:17
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To add some flavor to this, you can have your cities in a landlocked region or something like that. They could be surrounded by mountains from 3 sides and just a small passage from one side. So that when the heat wave (or cold wave) strikes, it gets trapped within those regions and increase (or decrease) the temperature further. Also, this will help in having this Goldilocks season to be longer than usual as the transaction from Summer to winter (and vice-versa) will take time. *(I am not sure if it's scientifically possible or just my imagination.)

So, the civilizations who have access to these landlocked regions will have an edge over the others and will make up for good reasons for war. Additionally, the mountains and a single passage will make an attack on these regions difficult. Resulting in these civilizations to prosper even better. (If you are looking for something like that.)

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