Tag Archives: Physics

The Celestial View From A Relativistic Starship: Part 2

In my previous post, I described the visual appearance of the starry sky for an observer moving at a substantial fraction of the speed of light—for instance, aboard a working Bussard interstellar ramjet, like the one pictured above. I’ll recap the terminology I established in that post, which comes from Special Relativity. We call the … Continue reading The Celestial View From A Relativistic Starship: Part 2

The Celestial View From A Relativistic Starship: Part 1

This is another one of those topics (like Coriolis effect and human vacuum exposure) that many science fiction writers seem to know enough about to include it in their stories, but not quite enough to get right. So in this post (and an estimated three subsequent posts) I’m going to write about what the starry … Continue reading The Celestial View From A Relativistic Starship: Part 1

Coriolis Effect In A Rotating Space Habitat (Supplement)

I’ve received a few enquiries in response to my post “Coriolis Effect In A Rotating Space Habitat”, concerning something I didn’t address at the time—what happens to the trajectory of objects moving parallel to the axis of rotation. (Though I did mention this topic in passing in my post about the Coriolis effect in general.) … Continue reading Coriolis Effect In A Rotating Space Habitat (Supplement)

Greg Egan: Dichronauts

Geometry might well kill them in the end, but only a rigorous understanding of its principles could make their situation intelligible, let alone survivable. That quote comes from Part 4 of this novel, but it encapsulates what’s intriguing and (at least potentially) frustrating about the story—it’s about spacetime geometry. I’ve written about Greg Egan before, … Continue reading Greg Egan: Dichronauts

Coriolis Effect In A Rotating Space Habitat

In a previous post describing the Coriolis effect, I mentioned its relevance to space travel—if a rotating habitat is being used to generate simulated gravity, Coriolis deflection can interfere with the performance of simple tasks and, at the extreme, generate motion sickness. As an example of the sort of effect you could expect to encounter, … Continue reading Coriolis Effect In A Rotating Space Habitat

Saying “Centrifugal” Doesn’t Mean You’re A Bad Person

Despite its daunting size, the huge structure was in fact a very simple machine, essentially a massive slingshot exploiting the rotation of the KBO to hurl objects into space. Slugs of refined, processed matter were loaded into open-topped buckets at the KBO’s surface. For the first hundred kilometres, they were hoisted up the length of … Continue reading Saying “Centrifugal” Doesn’t Mean You’re A Bad Person

Greg Egan: The Orthogonal Trilogy

Greg Egan is an Australian mathematician who has been writing hard science fiction for thirty years, although his hard science is the stuff that sits at the borderland of philosophy: the relationship between mathematics and reality, the nature of consciousness, the implications of quantum mechanics. Previous novels have involved speculations on what life might be … Continue reading Greg Egan: The Orthogonal Trilogy