The Boötes Void, a.k.a the Great Void, is celebrated for having a comparatively(competitively) lower matter density than the rest of the universe. Imagine an intelligent species similar to our ancestors was to evolve (created, if you will) on a rogue super-Jupiter left for dead for millions of years in the vastness of space inside the Boötes Void.

The atmosphere is very thick and opaque; the heat produced by the sheer size of the planet helps to sustain life and also to produce some of the most complex weather systems no one could have imagined let alone conquering it.

How could these Stone Age (Dust Age, to be exact) alien hunter gatherers navigate in the absent of constellations in perpetual darkness?

  • $\begingroup$ I'm not quite sure what the second paragraph means. Could you consider rephrasing? $\endgroup$ Feb 1, 2016 at 0:35
  • $\begingroup$ @XandarTheZenon: the air blocks light ranging from gamma to visible spectrum from ever penetrating very deep into atmosphere meaning no accidental exposure of sunlight or moonlight, planet also emits infrared as heat so that life can flourish meaning there are lots of energy flowing in the air. Life here must learn to leverage on that energy and next is the beginning of a cunning and scheming food chain cycles... $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Feb 1, 2016 at 0:47
  • $\begingroup$ What confuses me is "and also to produce some of the most complex weather systems no one could have imagined let alone conquering it.". $\endgroup$ Feb 1, 2016 at 0:49
  • $\begingroup$ @XanarTheZenon: you got me there, it's difficult to visualise the condition of the weather system especially for gas giant much larger than Jupiter. However I'll bet there should exist a safe and less turbulence weather pattern for life to seek refuge, no worry my supercomputers(brain) are running overnights to render(dream) the sky in false colors so til next time... $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Feb 1, 2016 at 0:58
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    $\begingroup$ There is one thing you should answer (at least to yourself): how can this species survive at a gas giant? Even more - a "super Jupiter" as you call it, is much likely to be a brown dwarf, which is... pretty unlikely to be a host for life in any form (even if it would be pretty cozy there...). While this does not clash with your question at all, at least myself is wondering if you did find suitable answers for this. $\endgroup$ Feb 1, 2016 at 6:07

3 Answers 3


Knowing the wind

I assume they do something along the lines of ballooning to get around. Without star, suns, or seasons they do not have an external reckoning of time. Assuming they have an internal one (heart beats or what not) and compasses Worked. They would just have to remember or record the currents and count them off. Altitude would be easy. Directions to a place would look like

up 1000 beats north into the wind count 10000 beats drop 2000 beats in east flowing wind. This is assuming the wind patterns are predictable chances are they would be in the short run on a gas giant. the longevity of Red spot attests to this.

The planet has bands

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Latitude is knowable by what the air smells like. Your Jovial Mariners would have to develop a method of telling where they are by trace chemicals.

Back to that compass

Jupiter's field is mostly a dipole but also has quadrupole, octupole and higher components. If our species could "hear" the magnetic fields with the same discernment we can discern sound they would have a lot of geolocation info to get around with.

  • $\begingroup$ If they are essentially plankton, they might not navigate at all. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Feb 1, 2016 at 2:49

There's no land. Congregations of lower life forms might form around congregations of materials that form due to weather patterns. These might not have fixed locations at all relative to each other, and be transient in nature.

You may have an eternal great spot and patterns at the poles, and "places" around and within them that are impermanent but at least can be navigated because it forms a perimeter relative to a major feature.

Things that occur at boundaries of specific bands might have characteristic lattitudes but can be anywhere around the planet. Hal Clement had a novel about a waterworld where the floating cities had to be located before they could be landed on. This would be similar: you have increasing constraints in searching for it, but nothing like a fixed location.

And we've only discussed a two-dimensional surface. The bulk of the planet may be interesting in depth. Phase changes occur with different pressures and temperatures, and this affects composition and can form membranes that attract their own features.

The aliens with implied technological artefacts might not live in the sky at all, since their stuff would just fall and where did they get things in the first place?

Perhaps a much deeper layer that is more like a liquid phase and dense enough that solid bits would stay within the media.

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    $\begingroup$ The question of what are they navigating to is actually a great one. $\endgroup$
    – King-Ink
    Feb 1, 2016 at 12:33

There are no fixed locations in something like a gas giant, everything is going to be floating around inside the atmosphere. With that being the sense conventional navigation means nothing, it doesn't matter where you are - it matters where you are in relation to something else.

One possibility would be that large settlements would have huge drum towers in the center. People would beat on those drums at regular intervals sending out pulses of low frequency sound and each settlement would have their own rhythm or pattern. To find a settlement you just head towards that settlements tone.

Smaller settlements would advertise their position relative to the larger ones and may even have their own quieter beacons that lead people nearby to them. (i.e. we'll be near Artanis in a week, follow their beacon until you hear ours).

With no physical surfaces to absorb the sound it could spread a long way, especially if you can find channels in the atmosphere to guide it similar to those used by whales in the ocean.


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