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Old September 30th 11, 12:40   #1
Alioth
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Wiki article on Minbar

I was just reading the Wikipedia article on Minbar, and saw that it stated this planet was supposed to be in the Chi Draconis system, a star system only 25 light years away from Sol. I actually found this when I was reading the article on Chi Draconis, and clicked on the Chi Draconis in fiction link, which stated the same thing. Neither of these gave a citation for this. Is this really the canonical location for Minbar, or did someone just make it up?

The reason I ask kind of goes to a larger issue of the size of our galaxy, and how sometimes it seems B5 makes it seem a lot smaller than it is, which I sort of mentioned in another thread. Remember, Minbar is supposed to be relatively far away from the human sphere of space, so much so that even after being involved with the Dilgar War and many "nonaligned" species, humans had no contact and little knowledge of the Minbari, and from the movie In the Beginning it was implied their space was rather distant from ours. Well, on a galactic scale, where the diameter of the galaxy is 100,000 light years, 25 light years is very, very close. Indeed, humans supposedly colonized the Vega system, a star that is roughly the same distance away (and about 15 light years from Chi Draconis, incidentally). And within a 25-light-year sphere of Sol, there are only a handful of remotely Sunlike stars. Over 100 l.y. away would have been a bit more plausible (although still fairly close on a galactic scale).

Now I never heard any reference to what specific star system any of the worlds of B5 were set in, other than B5 itself which was set in the Epsilon Eridani system (10.5 light years from Sol), and as I said there was no citation given for Chi Draconis/Minbar--and if indeed this isn't canonical the articles in question should be appropriately edited.

But if it is canonical, I guess being heavily into astronomy and aware of the scale of things, it kind of bothers me in much the same way that old Star Trek locations did (only in that case, it was more about them using a lot of giant and supergiant stars, like Rigel, as settings that had indigenous life--which such would not in all likelihood--most stars that would likely have life would be ones that have nothing but a boring catalog number today, not a name, as those go to the brightest visible stars, which are generally, with very few exceptions, far from Sunlike).

I absolutely love the series and the universe created by JMS, obviously, for lots of reasons. But these kinds of inconsistencies with astronomy always bother me a little, because I'm such an astronomy nerd . I hope they're not actually "official".

(And just now I saw that Wiki also has a location for Centauri Prime, in the Zeta Tucanae system (28 light years from Sol, i.e. a bit further than Chi Draconis/Minbar (and in almost the opposite direction), even though the Centauri were supposed to be the closest spacefaring race to Earth). Again though, no citation for this.)

At least Chi Draconis and Zeta Tucanae are somewhat sunlike (late FV stars), although Chi Draconis is a close binary whose habitable zone would be disrupted by the companion. No "Rigel" or "Regulus" here.

Last edited by Alioth; September 30th 11 at 13:06.
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Old October 1st 11, 11:14   #2
Triple F
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Re: Wiki article on Minbar

No idea about the canonicity of the location. But a lot of information is weaved into the various books and comics that came out so it may have cropped up in one of them.

Your probably familiar with this site, but some interesting observations are made.

http://web.archive.org/web/200212040...ronomy.html#04
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Old October 1st 11, 12:47   #3
Alioth
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Re: Wiki article on Minbar

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No idea about the canonicity of the location. But a lot of information is weaved into the various books and comics that came out so it may have cropped up in one of them.

Your probably familiar with this site, but some interesting observations are made.

http://web.archive.org/web/200212040...ronomy.html#04
Actually, I'd never seen that site before, but yeah....

And funny how I forgot that Londo had mentioned being "75 light years" from his wives, when he was on the station. That rules out Zeta Tucanae then (even if we're talking "Centauri years" for "light years"--a planet orbiting that star in a third of an Earth year would be pretty hot indeed, given that Zeta Tuc is about 1.3 times more luminous than the Sun). Going with that, maybe not Iota Centauri as the site above suggests (as it's an AV star (like Sirius A, or Vega) which could be no more than a billion years old before going off the main sequence--unless intelligent life could somehow evolve that fast...), but maybe a more Sunlike star in the vicinity.

(And 75 light years would be IMHO a reasonable distance for the closest sentient race to Earth--far enough away that the Solar System realistically could have been an "overlooked backwater" to the Centauri or however Londo put it (if it were much closer, not so much), but close enough that contact could conceivably have been made by humans using speeds slower than light, to some corner of their domain closer to us. The Narn distances given in this context are problematic though. But I'd put Minbar at at least 1000 light years away--if not a lot more--if we're talking a true pan-galactic scale, given that there were so many other races contacted before they were by the humans.)

But I've gotten used to astronomical inconsistencies in science fiction--it can be pretty common. Again, the grand sweep of the story, the characters, the depth and moral complexity presented, more than make up for that. But I like to play around with Celestia on my computer (just exploring space with it, "hopping" from star to star, and I've created some fictional planets around these and such), so that should tell you how acutely I'm aware of things like this.

But the above are minor details. The real scope of the article you cited has to do with the scale issues overall. B5 does seem to take place in a very small part of the galaxy yet somehow is supposed to represent all the major intelligent races in the galaxy itself. Maybe the First Ones "uplifted" pre-sentient species only in one area to play their little morality play with (which would discount a long evolutionary process, as it would have to have been done fairly recently--because even after a few million years stars that were once close together, unless they are in a common cluster or moving group, disperse fairly widely due to their varying orbits around the galactic core). That's about the only way to rationalize that, and assume that such uplifts are the only way sentience comes about (aside from whatever the origins of the First Ones, or Lorien's species, is).

But maybe it's best just to ignore these kinds of things, suspend disbelief and enjoy this saga for what it is. And I do, for the most part!

Last edited by vacantlook; November 27th 11 at 05:14.
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Old October 1st 11, 14:20   #4
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Re: Wiki article on Minbar

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B5 does seem to take place in a very small part of the galaxy yet somehow is supposed to represent all the major intelligent races in the galaxy itself.
That's one of the assumptions that's always bugged me. Nobody that I know of ever said that, but it was assumed and then folks (not necessarily anybody in this thread) got upset when it looked like the Hand in the Rangers movie might be powerful (or at least had a good PR man).

I don't find any coordinates or locations for the races in the series Bible or Treatment.

Jan
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Old October 3rd 11, 16:55   #5
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Re: Wiki article on Minbar

I always got the feeling JMS just didn't care. If StarFuries moved at the speed of plot, it would follow that Minbar would be X many plot-years from Earth.

He did start nailing things down a bit more later on -- it's three days from B5 to Earth direct -- but there hyperspace might be an issue; after all, no one ever said that hyperspace is a 1:1 analogue with normal space. Or in other words, it might be faster to get to Earth via hyperspace than to get to some other area that's closer, because of some quirk of hyperspace.

But bottom line, I think JMS is the kind of author who doesn't draw maps, unlike Tolkien who drew the maps first. I'm a maps-first kind of creator myself.
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Old October 5th 11, 13:45   #6
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Re: Wiki article on Minbar

I'd tend to agree. He fleshed out personalities to the n'th degree, but the kind of "let me walk through my universe to get perspective" may just not have been all that necessary. Apart from establishing that some places take longer to get to than others, and that might have as much to do with availability of a nearby jump gate than anything.

(Can a closer city take longer to get to because it's farther from a major "hub"?)

(Further or farther there?)
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Old October 5th 11, 17:07   #7
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Re: Wiki article on Minbar

I think further and farther are interchangeable, hyp. And with the hub system of airline traffic, it can absolutely take longer to get to a nearby city, because you've got to cover two legs of a triangle instead of just one.
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Old October 8th 11, 00:58   #8
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Re: Wiki article on Minbar

JMS seemed to plan things pretty specifically, I'm sure he had some kind of map in mind, who knows how specific it was.
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Old October 16th 11, 21:44   #9
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Re: Wiki article on Minbar

Farther is distance and further alludes to thought and time.
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Old October 22nd 11, 13:24   #10
Alioth
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Re: Wiki article on Minbar

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B5 does seem to take place in a very small part of the galaxy yet somehow is supposed to represent all the major intelligent races in the galaxy itself.
That's one of the assumptions that's always bugged me. Nobody that I know of ever said that, but it was assumed
You mean the assumption that the scope of events of B5 (and the races involved) was galaxy-wide? That seems to be at least strongly implied by various things said in the show, the "division" of the galaxy worked out by Morden and Londo, the fact that all the First Ones had to be expelled from the galaxy (rather than just sent away from our part of it), etc. The phrase "the galaxy" is used often when talking about all the B5 races as a whole (much how we use the phrase "the world" when talking about all human societies on the planet)--although the phrase "known space" (which would be more appropriate if referring to a small section of the galaxy) might have been used at least once in the show (IIRC).

Maybe it is an assumption, but one that seems pretty strongly implied. And if you're talking about scales of billions of years for the age and activities of the First Ones, that would involve the entire galaxy pretty much, as stars generally orbit the galactic center every couple hundred million years on average, on widely different paths, which would mean that at any given time some First One homeworlds would likely be on opposite sides of the galaxy from each other--so we know their range is pretty much galaxy-wide. I assume the less advanced races they play with or affect would be similarly scattered widely.
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