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‘Game Of Thrones’ Home World Could Actually Exist, Says Science (Synopsis) [Starts With A Bang]

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“Lord of Light! Come to us in our darkness. We offer you these false gods. Take them and cast your light upon us. For the night is dark and full of terrors.” -Melisandre, George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice

Imagine a world where you know that winter is coming, but you don’t know when, or for how long, or how severe it will be. Sounds like fiction, doesn’t it? In our own solar system, where planets orbit a single star in elliptical, well-separated orbits, this is extraordinarily unlikely. But if a binary giant planet existed in the habitable zone, and a world like Earth orbited both of them like an inner moon, it could give you exactly the effects you’re seeking.

Double planets, in theory, can come in a wide variety of sizes and orbital ranges. Any smaller worlds orbiting both of them, at a greater distance, would keep a steady, stable orbit, but would rotate and tumble chaotically. Image credit: NASA / Norman W. Lee and Stephen Paul Meszaros.

A large, massive double planet would exert irregular, differential gravitational forces on an external moon, causing it to tumble, rather than stably and consistently rotate on its axis. It could create large variations in seasons, which will be unpredictable in duration and onset. And it could, at least for parts of the world, plunge some of the regions into incredibly long, cold, dark winters.

From the surface of a world orbiting a giant binary planet, two worlds, one potentially larger than the other, would be visible for half the time, on average. At night, they’d be far and away the most prominent features in the sky. Image credit: DasWortgewand of PixaBay.

If you think the night is dark and full of terrors now, wait until you see what it’s like on a world where you can’t even predict the seasons!


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