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130 votes
Accepted

How could a planet have a sky without stars at night?

Dust cloud. The star may be residing in a dust cloud with no other stars nearby. This interstellar dust will create a faint nighttime glow, and can be thick enough that no other star's light can be ...
Alexander's user avatar
  • 42.3k
120 votes

Where should a galactic capital be?

It is important to realize that there is a historic context to a capital. This means a lot of things, and let's look at some Earth capitals to compare: Washington D.C. makes no sense as the capital ...
Marshall Tigerus's user avatar
71 votes

How could a planet have a sky without stars at night?

Perhaps their planet is on the inside of a giant Dyson sphere that was created by an ancient civilization. This would be a vast solid shell that surrounds their entire solar system, the inside of ...
Admiral Jota's user avatar
  • 1,722
52 votes

How could a planet have a sky without stars at night?

One possibility is for the surface of the planet to be covered in highly luminous matter. Perhaps all the surface is an interconnected network of bioluminescent life. There is no moon (assumed ...
elemtilas's user avatar
  • 40.3k
48 votes

Where should a galactic capital be?

Location of the capital will highly depend on the characteristics of light speed travel. First, here is a map of a galaxy that might look a lot like ours: Let's look at some possibilities. Travel ...
kingledion's user avatar
  • 85.4k
44 votes

How did the bugs get all over the place?

Sloppy Quarantine procedures and Ships have lots of places to hide I live in NZ - we have very very very strict Biosecurity rules. We have a lot of unique wildlife here that can easily get decimated ...
TheDemonLord's user avatar
  • 26.4k
38 votes

How could a planet have a sky without stars at night?

It is never night. https://www.tripsavvy.com/midnight-sun-in-scandinavia-1626397 Your people live on the north pole of a tidally locked planet. Like the countries near the north pole on our planet, ...
Willk's user avatar
  • 305k
31 votes

How does an explorer civilization survive the Dark Forest Scenario?

Guarantee? You can't. Take the galactic element out of the story and what you have is the history of exploration/colonization on Earth. Now, as a slight Frame Challenge, there is a flaw in the ...
TheDemonLord's user avatar
  • 26.4k
27 votes

How could a planet have a sky without stars at night?

The laziest answer is to just wait a while. If you wait an incomprehensibly-long while, eventually the expansion of the universe will move all currently near-by light generating bodies outside of our ...
Nick's user avatar
  • 279
25 votes

Where should a galactic capital be?

Make the capital mobile, like a city ship. It moves from system to system every few years in a circuit around the galaxy. Because of FTL where it's located doesn't make a huge amount of difference, so ...
AndyD273's user avatar
  • 34.7k
25 votes

How did the bugs get all over the place?

How do bugs get into your house? Via holes. How do your ships do FTL? With wormholes. How do the bugs infest planets? They dig holes into the ground, and in some way that still baffles scientists, the ...
sdfgeoff's user avatar
  • 7,655
24 votes

Where should a galactic capital be?

It's worth remembering that the galaxy is not actually flat (sounds obvious, but somehow something that almost every science fiction writer tends to forget!). So why not put it on "top" of the ...
Tom O'Daighre's user avatar
23 votes

How to map arms of the galaxy?

First of all, please check out our List of Worldbuilding Resources, which might give you ideas about how you want to solve this in your world. There's an entire section devoted to mapping, from a ...
JBH's user avatar
  • 124k
23 votes
Accepted

How stable would a rogue star system be?

It could certainly be stable; it's possible for a star to be ejected from a galaxy and still have other objects be gravitationally bound to it. Observations of the hypervelocity star HE 0437-5439 ...
HDE 226868's user avatar
  • 101k
22 votes

How did the bugs get all over the place?

Oh, they originated on a single planet all right... But they didn't evolve. What you have, my friend, is the million-year-old devolution of a very clever weapon of mass destruction (aka a bioweapon) ...
JBH's user avatar
  • 124k
17 votes

How could someone ground a breathable synthetic atmosphere onto a small asteroid?

Hollow out asteroid. Pump asteroid interior full of your favorite breathables until at your favorite pressure. This could be done with our own tech and it is a good idea. Asteroids are already up ...
Willk's user avatar
  • 305k
16 votes

Where should a galactic capital be?

How about a virtual capital planet? The planet does not physically exist anywhere, instead it exists in the galactic web as a VR world. If you have FTL travel, you have FTL communication too. It is ...
Evil Dog Pie's user avatar
16 votes

How could a planet have a sky without stars at night?

there are many ways. especially if it's just you don't see the stars. there could be a constant storm like on Jupiter and in 'All Summer In a Day' by Ray Bradbury. Venus has an atmosphere made up ...
Rose's user avatar
  • 836
16 votes

Detectability of a Type III Civilization with a specific set of conditions

One of my favorite things about galaxies is their gas. It's a major source of baryonic matter; while the amount of gas varies between galaxies, in some cases it can be comparable to or greater than ...
HDE 226868's user avatar
  • 101k
15 votes

What would a galactic Empire based off Plato's Utopia (from his "Republic" and "Laws") be like?

Like so many Bronze Age ideas, Plato's idea of a utopia doesn't really work so well in the modern world and beyond. The world has changed too much in the past 2500 years for it to work now, and even ...
John Robinson's user avatar
14 votes
Accepted

Where in the galaxy would one find the most heavier elements?

Research suggests that heavier elements can be found in greater quantities closer to the center of a spiral or elliptical galaxy. Henry & Worthy (1999) summarized several measurements of ratios of ...
HDE 226868's user avatar
  • 101k
13 votes

What would the night sky look like for a world on the upper plane of the galaxy, near its rim?

Such a world would have to be really above every other star system in order to achieve the vision you have. Even then, you would still need a special arrangement. Stars orbit the galactic core just ...
The Square-Cube Law's user avatar
13 votes

How could a planet have a sky without stars at night?

Is it possible for a planet in our part of the galaxy to have a night without stars? It depends on what you mean by "our part" of the galaxy. If you point yourself in the direction of Sagittarius and ...
Eric Lippert's user avatar
13 votes
Accepted

What percentage of stars would need to become Shkadov thrusters to move the whole galaxy?

This wouldn't work. The big issue is that stars make up only a few percent of the Milky Way's total mass - estimates vary by a bit, but I've heard numbers in the 3-5% range. For instance, McMillan ...
HDE 226868's user avatar
  • 101k
12 votes

How to map arms of the galaxy?

Name sectors after bright stars I'm an astronomer and therefore utterly awful at naming things, but I'll vote in favor of centering each sector around one bright star -- in particular, an O or B star -...
HDE 226868's user avatar
  • 101k
12 votes

How does an explorer civilization survive the Dark Forest Scenario?

Accepting the Dark Forest hypothesis as stated, the only way for an explorer civilization is to be mobile and distributed, i.e. tribal nomad organisation. If the explorers have no discernible link to ...
Tom's user avatar
  • 8,943
11 votes
Accepted

How could someone ground a breathable synthetic atmosphere onto a small asteroid?

You need to build a very robust greenhouse all around the asteroid, practically wrapping it (or the area you want to provide with atmosphere) into the structure. If it is limited to hosting humans, ...
L.Dutch's user avatar
  • 289k
11 votes

How could a planet have a sky without stars at night?

The sun takes up about half a degree in Earth's sky. Stars are less than one ten thousandths of that. If atmospheric blurring were to blur a star one hundredth of a degree, their light would be spread ...
Acccumulation's user avatar
11 votes

What type of natural or artificial disaster could devastate a multi galactic civilization?

Ennui. The disaster is millions of years in the making, but for a civilization that has lived billions, it's as nothing. People have conquered every challenge available. They turn inward. ...
Lofty Withers's user avatar

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