Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Inner Goldilocks Planet

I've been thinking about those twin Goldilocks planets I mentioned last week. That article had more details that I found intriguing but hadn't included in last week's post. So this week, I'm going to explore that inner planet a bit more.

The article claimed the inner planet might have a climate reminiscent of Hawaii or of Washington DC in May. I have to assume they meant that would be the 'average', and most likely found in the 'temperate zone', roughly 30 to 60 degrees North and South of the Equator.

On Earth, Hawaii stretches from 18 to 28 degrees North. To move that climate to the middle of the temperate zone would be a shift of 21 degrees. What does that do to the rest of the planet's climate, compared to Earth?

So I looked up Barrow, Alaska, which is located at 71 degrees North. That town has temperatures below freezing about 8 months of the year, and during its warmest month, the temperature averages 47 degrees F. Now, if we move that kind of climate another 21 degrees North-- well, we get 92 degrees North, and planets only go up to 90 degrees North or South. So it's possible the Inner Planet would not have any permanent ice caps.

What about the equator? The temperatures Earth experiences at our equator would now be normal at 21 degrees North and South. The area of our equator is mostly tropical rainforest or ocean, with little variety in temperature (high 80s) around the year. And it rains. A lot. I tried to look up some cities approximately 21 degrees N/S, to see what kind of temperature differences occur in that 21 degree difference. Antofagasta, Chile has an average temperature of 63. (It also sits in a desert where the only 'precipitation' comes as a thick morning fog, but we'll ignore that.) That's a difference of about 25 degrees, so I extrapolate that the average equatorial temperature of the Inner planet might be around 113 degrees F. Yes, definitely warmer than us.

It was also hypothesized that this might be an ocean planet and that some type of 'flying fish' might have evolved into 'birds'. Of course, if there isn't any land, those birds would not be able to rest unless they were some type of water fowl.

None of that would keep us from colonizing, if we were at that stage. Cities, towns, even farms could be placed on floating rafts and left to drift on the currents. Or given some motors so they could move out of the way of approaching storms. There have been people here on Earth designing such structures, to be set loose on our oceans.

There's got to be a few stories in amongst all those ideas, don't you think?

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