The orbits of most planetary objects in any solar system are elliptical, although this is not true in every case and there are some notable exceptions. Kepler’s Law was found to apply only to certain systems, describing the orbit of those planetary objects. The perihelion is the point in the orbit where a planet is closest to its sun, and the aphelion is where it is furthest.
A “planetary system” describes a stellar system, where the moons, planetoids, planets, and even suns co-exist in a mutual relationship. A “star system” describes a collection of planetary systems in a region of space, who also equally share a mutually dependent orbital relationship. Bodies in any planetary system are categorised differently:
Moons – small rocky bodies which orbit planets or planetoids. Size is not relevant, as some moons can be bigger than planetoids (although obviously, not those planetary objects they orbit)
Planetoids – small solid or rocky, gaseous, or formative objects. Not viewed as moons because they have an orbit around a sun, not a planet, although they can be smaller than some moons. Also known as “dwarf planets”.
Planets – larger bodies, above a certain size. Can be either solid, gaseous, or formative (before the gaseous or solid state is evolved).
Artificials – artificial planets created by massive fabricators.
Asteroid Belts and Groups – asteroids which are grouped together. Smaller than planetoids typically, although there are exceptions.
Meteorites and Comets– meteors, small flying asteroids which are either pulled or ejected out of their orbital spheres. They can be used to increase the mass of a planet, and were used in early colonisation efforts. They are more commonly used in mining extraction in some systems, crashed deliberately into planets where planetary mining stations then gather and harvest their material.
Rogue Planets – planets or planetoids which have been thrown clear of their home systems. They are flying through deepspace, alone until eventually they crash into another system, or head out beyond the galaxy limit and into outer space. Anything smaller than a planet or planetoid is typically classified as a comet or meteor.
The following lists the lay-out of the Sol System at the time when the Red Empire of Mars fell, immediately prior to the rise of the StarCom Federation. It was to remain the same for the years that followed the immediate end of the Empire.
Sol – Star
Sol is ringed by a series of mining stations, some pre-dating even the Red Imperium of Mars.
Planet – Mercury
So small it almost qualifies as a planetoid, it orbits the sun every 88 Standard days. A fully-formed rock planet, it is immensely hot, but is nevertheless not only colonised, and is used to mine power from the sun. Protected habitats house most of the miners on this planet. Also used heavily by the military as a training ground.
Planet – Venus
Hostile to life, it is nevertheless colonised. Venus was the first hostile planet to be colonised, the second after Mars which nevertheless is not viewed as dangerous to human life. Much intensive scientific research and development is carried out on Venus, as well as significant food farms and Amerimax manufactories.
Planet – Earth
The home of the Star Communications Network, which was to become the StarCom Federation. Devastated by nuclear war, it was rebuilt during the time of the Tyrant Ascici. Its atmosphere was scrubbed and cleansed, and although some parts of the planet remain a wasteland for historical reasons, it is nevertheless one of the most popular tourist attractions, even now.
Planet – Mars
Once hostile, rudimentary terraforming failed on Mars, and the majority of the population lives within gigantic domes. Heavily protected, it was the seat of government for the Red Empire. Power flowed from Earth to Mars, the Martian settlers winning the War of Independence and crushing the old, antiquated governments of Earth totally. Power then returned to Earth under Ascici, spread later to the Dictator Perepolous in Roshnetak, then back to Mars with the rebellion led by the True Emperor’s father, Anakeris Constantin. Even when the Emperor’s father was killed and deposed, the True Emperor vowed to return to the seat of power, Mars. The moons of Phobos and Deimos are given over entirely to the military, with vast farms of bio-vats producing new soldiers, Marines, Praetorian Guard and civilians.
Planetoid – Ceres
Officially a planetoid, it was colonised after Venus and long before Mercury. Viewed as a luxurious destination thanks to its terraforming and artificially sustained atmosphere, it is known as the playground of the super-rich.
Inner Asteroid Belt
Mined, and also contains significant static and mobile weaponry systems and defences.
Planet – Jupiter
The first of the gaseous planets, a gas giant and the largest of all. Not only heavily mined, it is also home to a significantly large population. Giant cities floating on the gas clouds makes Jupiter important, with space-lifts providing access to its many moons. A tourist attraction because of the Great Red Spot, its moons are given over to various colonies, with every single one colonised to some level. Jupiter is a manufacturing power-house.
Planet – Saturn
Saturn as a gas giant is also mined, but the majority of the population live on the largest of the moons and of course the rings of Saturn. The largest are colonised, but the smaller are used as prison complexes. As the major progroms of the Emperors took hold, the prisoners were kept or executed here by the Imperial Executioners.
Planet – Uranus
The shipyards of Uranus, both on the planet and in orbit, make Uranus incredibly strategic important. The gigantic shipyards spread around the many satellite moons. Turned into a military powerhouse, the moons of Titania, Oberon, Umbriel, Ariel and Miranda produce much of the military equipment, and also act as secondary bio-vat farms for producing non-Praetorian military support personnel and civilians for what was the Imperial governmental machine. Once used to create civilians for colonisation, it was also the home of the Exploration and Colonisation Corps.
Planet – Neptune
Neptune and its moons, like all planets in Sol, are colonised. It was also the home of the Imperial Intelligence agency, the birthplace of Project Shadow before it moved permanently to the Creation System, and home to the Cult of the Emperor before he outlawed it by Imperial Edict.
The second of the large asteroid belts, it is large and contains the planetoid Pluto. It blurs with an area known as the Scattered Disc, which contains some planetoids.
Planetoid – Pluto
Given over entirely to the military, Pluto and its moons, Charon, Styx, Nix, Kerberos and Hydra are all closed and locked-down. Some are entirely turned over to Weapons Facilities. The planetoid Pluto actually exists in the Kuiper Belt.
Planetoid – Haumea
Mined for the constituents of Amerimax, it also acts as a major producer of the Amerimax synthesising material, overshadowed only in terms of production by Venus.
Planetoid – Makemake
An astronimcal array rests above Makemake, strong and powerful, allowing the colonised galaxy to be observed.
Planetoid – Eris
Used for testing weapons of planetary destruction, it was destroyed centuries ago. Its orbit take its through the Kuiper Belt and the Scattered Disc. It is almost 50 Intrastellar Astronomical Units out, hitting the safe jumping region where no object prevents any hyperspace translation. Of course, zoned pockets all the way to Earth (but no further) can be jumped into safely, but these zones constantly change as the position of all the objects in the system does,
The Oort Cloud is far beyond the system, exactly one light-year out, but serves to mark as the boundary.
The Heliopause is the heliosheath is beyond the Oort Cloud, and also marks the boundary of the Sol System (non-physically). Constantly shifting, it also serves to mark where solar winds meet and clash with interstellar winds, caused by the engine that is the Great Hole at the centre of the galaxy.