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The To the Stars trilogy is a series of science fiction novels by Harry Harrison, first published in 1980 (Homeworld) and 1981 (Wheelworld and Starworld). The three books were re-published in an omnibus edition in 1981.
Homeworld presents a dystopian world some centuries in the future; in response to the depletion of the world's natural resources and resulting social and environmental collapse, a ruthless totalitarian oligarchy has emerged, ruling over both Earth and the interstellar colonies that have been established. The novel introduces the protagonist of the series, Jan Kulozik, an engineer and member of his society's privileged technocratic elite, and traces his disillusionment and eventual rebellion as he discovers the true nature of his society.
In Wheelworld Jan Kulozik has been exiled to the agricultural colony world Halvmörk in the Beta Aurigae system. Kulozik must lead the colonists on a hazardous journey across the planet after the re-supply ships from Earth fail to appear on schedule, while coping with the suspicions and maneuverings of Halvmörk's oligarchic rulers.
Halvmörk is the third planet of Beta Aurigae. Like many names in Harrison's work, Halvmörk is taken from a European language, here Swedish. It literally means "half-dark". This may be related to the fact that due to extreme temperature differences human life is possible only in a small twilight zone round the wintry pole.
Halvmörk's orbiting period (year) is a little over eight Earth years. Its orbit is extremely elliptic, and the inclination of its axis is 41°, so seasonal changes have an enormous effect on the weather. The rotational axis is inclined in the direction of the small axis of the orbit, so the periastron and the apastron coincide with the equinoxes.
As a result, the twilight zone remains largely constant for most of the year, when the planet is far from its sun. During this time a colony of humans grows grain in the twilight zone. When the planet approaches its periastron or its apastron the colony migrates to the other pole, using enormous insulated trucks and the planet's sole road, built especially to be used once in four years.
The novel does not seem to take into account that due to the ellipticity of the orbit the planet would be in a near-equinox position during most of the orbiting period, which would mean that both poles would enjoy a mild twilight. If the orbit were less elliptic there would be no arctic twilight zone at all but polar nights and days of varying length, like on Earth. So it is hard to imagine the astronomic circumstances needed for Harrison's interesting plot.[ original research? ]
In Starworld, the final novel in the trilogy, an interstellar rebellion has overthrown the Earth Empire's control over the interstellar colonies. Kulozik returns to Earth from exile to attempt to spread the revolution to the mother planet itself.
Greg Costikyan reviewed Homeworld, Wheelworld, and Starworld in Ares Magazine #10 and commented that "Harrison is incapable of writing a bad novel, and To the Stars is a fairly enjoyable way to kill some time."
A solar equinox is a moment in time when the Sun crosses the Earth's equator, which is to say, appears directly above the equator, rather than north or south of the equator. On the day of the equinox, the Sun appears to rise "due east" and set "due west". This occurs twice each year, around 20 March and 23 September.
Known Space is the fictional setting of about a dozen science fiction novels and several collections of short stories by American writer Larry Niven. It has also become a shared universe in the spin-off Man-Kzin Wars anthologies. The Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB) catalogs all works set in the fictional universe that includes Known Space under the series name Tales of Known Space, which was the title of a 1975 collection of Niven's short stories. The first-published work in the series, which was Niven's first published piece, was "The Coldest Place", in the December 1964 issue of If magazine, edited by Frederik Pohl. This was the first-published work in the 1975 collection.
A solstice is an event that occurs when the Sun appears to reach its most northerly or southerly excursion relative to the celestial equator on the celestial sphere. Two solstices occur annually, around June 21 and December 21. In many countries, the seasons of the year are determined by the solstices and the equinoxes.
In astronomy, axial precession is a gravity-induced, slow, and continuous change in the orientation of an astronomical body's rotational axis. In the absence of precession, the astronomical body's orbit would show axial parallelism. In particular, axial precession can refer to the gradual shift in the orientation of Earth's axis of rotation in a cycle of approximately 26,000 years. This is similar to the precession of a spinning top, with the axis tracing out a pair of cones joined at their apices. The term "precession" typically refers only to this largest part of the motion; other changes in the alignment of Earth's axis—nutation and polar motion—are much smaller in magnitude.
A terminator or twilight zone is a moving line that divides the daylit side and the dark night side of a planetary body. The terminator is defined as the locus of points on a planet or moon where the line through the center of its parent star is tangent. An observer on the terminator of such an orbiting body with an atmosphere would experience twilight due to light scattering by particles in the gaseous layer.
An apsis is the farthest or nearest point in the orbit of a planetary body about its primary body. The line of apsides is the line connecting the two extreme values.
Sunset is the disappearance of the Sun below the horizon of the Earth due to its rotation. As viewed from everywhere on Earth, it is a phenomenon that happens approximately once every 24 hours except in areas close to the poles. The equinox Sun sets due west at the moment of both the spring and autumn equinoxes. As viewed from the Northern Hemisphere, the Sun sets to the northwest in the spring and summer, and to the southwest in the autumn and winter; these seasons are reversed for the Southern Hemisphere.
Earth orbits the Sun at an average distance of 149.60 million km in a counterclockwise direction as viewed from above the Northern Hemisphere. One complete orbit takes 365.256 days, during which time Earth has traveled 940 million km. Ignoring the influence of other Solar System bodies, Earth's orbit, also known as Earth's revolution, is an ellipse with the Earth-Sun barycenter as one focus with a current eccentricity of 0.0167. Since this value is close to zero, the center of the orbit is relatively close to the center of the Sun.
In astrodynamics, the orbital eccentricity of an astronomical object is a dimensionless parameter that determines the amount by which its orbit around another body deviates from a perfect circle. A value of 0 is a circular orbit, values between 0 and 1 form an elliptic orbit, 1 is a parabolic escape orbit, and greater than 1 is a hyperbola. The term derives its name from the parameters of conic sections, as every Kepler orbit is a conic section. It is normally used for the isolated two-body problem, but extensions exist for objects following a rosette orbit through the Galaxy.
The Hulse–Taylor pulsar is a binary star system composed of a neutron star and a pulsar which orbit around their common center of mass. It is the first binary pulsar ever discovered.
HD 28185 b is an extrasolar planet 128 light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Eridanus. The planet was discovered orbiting the Sun-like star HD 28185 in April 2001 as a part of the CORALIE survey for southern extrasolar planets, and its existence was independently confirmed by the Magellan Planet Search Survey in 2008. HD 28185 b orbits its sun in a circular orbit that is at the inner edge of its star's habitable zone.
16 Cygni Bb or HD 186427 b is an extrasolar planet approximately 69 light-years away in the constellation of Cygnus. The planet was discovered orbiting the Sun-like star 16 Cygni B, one of two solar-mass (M☉) components of the triple star system 16 Cygni in 1996. It orbits its star once every 799 days and was the first eccentric Jupiter and planet in a double star system to be discovered. The planet is abundant in lithium.
The planetary systems of stars other than the Sun and the Solar System are a staple element in many works of the science fiction genre.
Daytime as observed on Earth is the period of the day during which a given location experiences natural illumination from direct sunlight. Daytime occurs when the Sun appears above the local horizon, that is, anywhere on the globe's hemisphere facing the Sun. In direct sunlight the movement of the sun can be recorded and observed using a sundial that casts a shadow that slowly moves during the day. Other planets and natural satellites that rotate relative to a luminous primary body, such as a local star, also experience daytime, but this article primarily discusses daytime on Earth.
Pi Mensae b, also known as HD 39091 b, is an extrasolar planet approximately 60 light-years away in the constellation of Mensa. The planet was announced orbiting the yellow main-sequence star Pi Mensae in October 2001.
In celestial mechanics, apsidal precession is the precession of the line connecting the apsides of an astronomical body's orbit. The apsides are the orbital points farthest (apoapsis) and closest (periapsis) from its primary body. The apsidal precession is the first time derivative of the argument of periapsis, one of the six main orbital elements of an orbit. Apsidal precession is considered positive when the orbit's axis rotates in the same direction as the orbital motion. An apsidal period is the time interval required for an orbit to precess through 360°, which takes Earth's orbit about 112,000 years, completing a cycle and returning to the same orientation.
HD 153950 b, also known as Trimobe, is an extrasolar planet located approximately 162 light-years away. This planet was discovered on October 26, 2008 by Moutou et al. using the HARPS spectrograph on ESO's 3.6 meter telescope installed at La Silla Observatory in Atacama desert, Chile.
A season is a division of the year based on changes in weather, ecology, and the number of daylight hours in a given region. On Earth, seasons are the result of the axial parallelism of Earth's tilted orbit around the Sun. In temperate and polar regions, the seasons are marked by changes in the intensity of sunlight that reaches the Earth's surface, variations of which may cause animals to undergo hibernation or to migrate, and plants to be dormant. Various cultures define the number and nature of seasons based on regional variations, and as such there are a number of both modern and historical cultures whose number of seasons varies.
This glossary of astronomy is a list of definitions of terms and concepts relevant to astronomy and cosmology, their sub-disciplines, and related fields. Astronomy is concerned with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth. The field of astronomy features an extensive vocabulary and a significant amount of jargon.
Songs from the Stars is a novel by Norman Spinrad published in 1980.