Can planetary alignment be weaponized?

Omnis

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For a book I'm writing, I plan to feature a cabal of conspirators harnessing a rare alignment of various planets in their star system in order to generate destructive force on their home planet. All the while, they disguise their efforts as legitimate scientific research similar to that of CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. My question is, would it be theoretically possible to harness the forces generated by planetary alignment? I recall that the interaction of magnetic fields from the various planets of our solar system has a large impact on Earth's environment, as does energy/radiation generated from deep space regions such as the galactic center. I'm still trying to construct a plausible (though fictionalized) method of harnessing this power to produce environmental devastation on selected regions of a planet. I was wondering if anyone could give me some ideas or direct me to relevant literature on the subject?
 

Sapheron

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Can your folks physically move planets into different alignments/orbits? If they can, there's definitely potential. It wouldn't be selected regions though, it'd be world wide if it gets done at all (gravitational and magnetic fields at planetary scales aren't really something you could aim).

On the basis that planets are mobile...

You could align them all, or move them closer to the world in question in order to create super tidal forces, which aside from flooding and the like, if large enough will also cause earthquakes and perhaps even volcanism.

As another idea, aligning planets right could dislodge comets or asteroids elsewhere in the system, causing them to rain down on the planet and kill them dinosaur style.
 

Omnis

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I'm not actually planning to have them move planets into different orbits or alter their position in any way. Rather, they will taking advantage of a rare natural planetary alignment in order to produce destructive energy which will then be directed at a major agricultural region, shutting down virtually all food production on their planet (leaving them with near absolute power due to their possession of shielded granaries whose contents they can distribute at will).
 
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Jammill Khursheed

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I didn't know planets lining up could do anything other than put horoscope-believing idiots into a furore... we lined up with like three others AND the moon in the middle of em a year or two back, nothing happened whatsoever...

Building a big thing that TURNS OUT to be a weapon and pretending it's to measure the alignment and then just fire it the whole taking out the food idea is a good one...


Jammill
 

psychotick

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Hi,

I'm confused. The planets move into a natural alignment by themselves and this cabal harnesses some sort of energy from it? What exactly are they harnessing? Gravity.

However, if on the other hand they are simply taking advantage of a natural crisis caused by solar events, that's something else. Consider the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars. It's entirely possible that a peterbation in the orbit of Jupiter or its moons could impact on the orbits of the asteroid belt, sending some of them hurtling our way. And if someone had control of all the telescopes they could corner the market in asteroid proofing!

Alternatively think of the sun and its cycles, spots and so forth. If someone had knowledge that the sun was about to go through a somewhat much more active period, they could capitalise on the market for new electronic appliances after the old ones have burnt out.

Cheers, Greg.
 

TheEndIsNigh

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Seems a bit unlikely as plot idea to me.

If a weapon could be developed - it couldn't by he way - then it would be pretty useless for the 2000 years between firing.

If such 'technology' were to exist surely they it would be better develop a more practical solution that could be used at will.

Now, if as others had mentioned, you were to use the 'upcoming' event to trigger something else - say a catastrophic event - well that might just work though I think it would be a hard sell/pitch
 

Sapheron

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How advanced is this world? If the answer is very, then I may have a solution:

Say the world is protected by a massive shield system of some kind. Perhaps it doesn't have a molten core, so a massive magnetic shield is made instead in order to protect it from the solar wind. Perhaps the shield, in some extreme future sci-fi-ish way is capable of blocking the effects of massive gravity effects from nearby gas giants. Obviously, either is a massive undertaking, and your folks must be way into the talking computers and flying cars stages for it to work.

Well, perhaps things are pretty bad all the time, but once every so often when things line up the shield is particularly important. Maybe you end up directly between two gas giants once every so often, instead of passing them individually. Maybe its a binary system, with a smaller star orbiting a larger one, your planet a bit further out, and when the small star whips past real close things get dicey.

Your folks would be fitting happy under their shield. Normally, if it failed, it wouldn't be good for people. Maybe there'd be a few small earthquakes, or everyone would have to stay under cover from a barrage of radiation or whatever.

If it failed during one of the bad points, of course, things would be far worse. Perhaps mass destruction type worse.

All you need to do is make it so the shield system is split into different generators or whatever so that they can shut one down and get the area you want.

After that, the only real issue I can think of is why in hell people would live on a planet that needed such a ridiculous countermeasure to survive, as I'm assuming such a shield system would be somewhat expensive.
 

Glitch

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The series finale of Doctor Who season 4 used planetary alignment as a power source for a weapon.

Other than that I would go with natural disaster caused by the alignment.
 

Omnis

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I think might need to nail down a little better what I'm talking about (admittedly, it's still a little vague in my mind). In terms of the "effects" I'm talking about regarding the planet's in our own solar system, I'm thinking along the lines of radio emissions. These are emmitted naturally by all the planets in our solar system, and they all reach Earth to some extent. In the fictional star system where my book is set, the "planetary alignment" I'm talking about is an event when all the planets are positioned so that the main, inhabited planet receives a maximum dosage of radio emissions. Through the use of the device/instrument I'm talking about, these emissions are converted to a destructive energy force that will then be directed at an agricultural region using a hijacked satellite network. I suppose my original question would have been better phrased, "Can radio emissions be weaponized and/or converted into an alternate form of energy?"
 

Sapheron

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Well, with your revised question: short answer is yes.

Radio waves are simply electromagnetic waves, like visible light, x rays, etc, so yes, they could be converted into something destructive. Probably most easily into other electromagnetics, so x rays or gamma rays would probably be your best bet.

The problem then comes in that this would be a terribly difficult and expensive method to essentially blow stuff up. First of all, the planets give out energy, yeah, but not exactly loads or we'd already be melting. You'd need to gather and focus it somehow. Then you have to project it down through an atmosphere that, if its anything similar to Earth's, is practically made to stop harmful radiation getting through. The amounts of energy needed at all stages would be incredible.

When it comes to it, it would just be easier, cheaper, faster and more reliable to use a nuclear bomb, a big laser, buggertons of mustard gas, or some other weapon of mass destruction instead.
 

psychotick

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Hi,

No, I don't think so.

I have no idea at all what the total energy of a planets naturally generated radiowaves might be, but I doubt its a lot. Lets face it I live on a planet (ok some may choose to disagree!) and if the radio waves given off by the Earth were that huge I'd probably have all the fillings in my teeth buzzing constantly. I don't. And radios don't seem to pick up huge amounts of lethal static.

As for the planetary alignment - so what. As anyone will tell you an object giving off radio waves save for a few very select devices, gives them off in all directions fairly much evenly. So what matters is not the alignment but rather the distance. Remember energy falls away at an inverse square rate to the distance.

So it would be the closest approach of the inner planets to your world that would matter since they are already closest. But more important would be the radio waves of the planet the people stand on. If these mad scientists could capture and convert radiowaves from a planet, why would they bother with a more distant one when surely the best source for them would be under their feet?

Unless your system is about to capture a quasar, I can't see the radio waves given off being a significant problem.

Cheers, Greg.
 

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