There are three things creepier than the stuff in the last post.

Once I had figured out when I had set my series, I thought I should start checking where things were in the universe, lest some smart-alek come along later to say “No! Those two planets would not be in conjunction at that time, so travel between them would take months longer even given your unlikely propulsion systems! Hah! That you’ve barely even explained, double-Hah! You call this ‘hard sci-fi!’? ‘Hah,’ I say!”

Since the story is set in a specific phase of the lifetime of our sun, the planets themselves can’t just be anywhere. That year, they will be here, here, and here. By the fall, they will have moved, etc. So, after fiddling with some astronomical clock programs and finding that some of them didn’t go far enough into the future, I settled on Celestia, which is annoying to navigate, but has other functionalities that suit it to my purpose.

OK, crack knuckles. It’s time to figure out how to rewrite these episodes around the real celestial phenomena …

… except that it was all correct.

Even before I knew what century I was writing in, I had gotten two planetary events correct. Jupiter will be near occultation in April of that year. Mars will be going into occultation in October of that year. A third event, which I wrote while avoiding Celestia’s ham-handed maneuvering commands, turned out to be correct as well. Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa really will be lining up with the Jupiter/Sun Lagrangian point #2 in early June.

Shit. How did I do that?

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