The Gamesters of Triskelion – Episode 46

\"\"Rachel and Chris finally have that conversation about BDSM after watching The Gamesters of Triskelion!

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11 thoughts on “The Gamesters of Triskelion – Episode 46”

  1. It’s hard to say what a trinary, or even binary, system would be like, because of the n-body problem. Once you get above two objects in an orbital system the mathematics to predict their motion becomes insolubly complex. There is a novel – Three Body Problem – about this.

  2. A primer on binary and multiple-star systems:

    First off, a couple of terms. We recognize two kinds of binary systems: a close binary is when two stars are as close together as planets are to the sun in our system — usually very close, like where Earth or Venus are in our system or even closer, nearly touching — and a far binary (or distant binary) is when two stars are tied together gravitationally, but are very far apart, like the distance from sun to Neptune, or much further, up to a light year or so. (Technically two stars can be any given distance apart, but it’s easier to talk about this if we consider the two cases of ‘as close as planets’ and ‘as far as stars’.)

    There is no case where a planet would have a figure-eight orbit around two suns. It would be inherently unstable for a number of reasons and either get pushed in close or thrown away, or crash into something.

    If you have a close binary system, then from a distance two stars orbiting each other is ALMOST like having one big star, and you’d get a normal planetary system a bit further out. Their orbits might be a little bit wobbly, but not enough to be seriously unstable. So this is your Tatooine situation: From the surface of the planet, you can see two suns rising and setting more or less together.

    If you have a far binary, the suns are far enough apart that each one’s gravity doesn’t really have any serious effect on the other’s planetary system, so you’d have essentially two whole solar systems going around each other. In this case, the people on the planets wouldn’t really think of themselves as having two suns; a far binary partner would be just a very bright star, shedding as much light as the full moon. Half of the year you’d have very light nights, and the other half the partner star would be pale but visible in the daytime sky, but it wouldn’t be that different from a single star system.

    For higher degrees of multiplicity, you can just think of it as different combinations of those two. You can’t really have a close-trinary system — the interactions would be so touchy that it’s nearly impossible. Instead, you’d get a close-binary pair which has a far partner going around them. Then that partner could be itself a close binary pair for a total of 4 stars in a stable orbital configuration.

    There are a few known star systems with more than 4 stars, and two with a whopping SEVEN: AR Cassiopeiae and Nu Scorpii. In each case, you have a very heavy close binary that’s being orbited by a number of much lighter far-binary partners (which may be close-binary pairs themselves), almost like a huge solar system where every planet is actually a star. These configurations may be unstable over very long periods of time, eventually breaking down into more basic binary/trinary groups.

  3. I have to take issue with the claim that Tamoon (Chekov’s drill thrall) was the only role the talented Jane Ross played. Who can forget her stunning performance as “Truck Driver’s Wife” in Rocket Attack U.S.A. (1961), or her critically lauded turn in Planet of the Apes (1968) as “Human (uncredited)”?

  4. So, regarding planets in multi-star systems: it’s totally possible! There’s even two different ways it can work.

    The first case has the planet orbiting one of the stars. As long as the distance between the stars is great enough that the planet isn’t disturbed from its orbit, everything is happy, just like the Sun doesn’t disrupt our Moon’s orbit. However, the distance involved would usually be something like the size of our entire solar system — living on that planet, you wouldn’t really notice that you had two suns in the sky; it would look like one proper sun and one very bright star, kind of like what Venus looks like to us.

    That situation, where the planet is only orbiting one star, can really be expanded to any number of stars as long as you have a very massive star at the center to anchor the whole thing. It would just work like a super-sized solar system.

    The case of a planet orbiting multiple stars (a “circumbinary planet”) has more caveats, but we HAVE observed planets doing just that. They have to be quite far out compared to the orbit of the two stars, but gravitationally, a close binary is almost indistinguishable from a single large star. Unfortunately a trinary like this isn’t stable; any additional stars would have to orbit the binary, as if the binary were the large star in the “super-sized solar system” I mentioned.

    1. Edit: To be clear, we’ve observed both of these cases — for example, Proxima Centauri has planets, and it’s part of the Alpha Centauri trinary system.

  5. I predict Triskelion will become a very profitable destination resort for Federation citizens who are “S&M curious.”

    “How many Quatloos for the full Thrall Experience?”

  6. I think we are seeing is that what is sexy is often not in accord with the current obsession with making everything conform to “woke” politics. No need to feel uncomfortable about the sexiness score!

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