In thinking about the different aliens who reside in my version of the Andromeda Galaxy, I have let my inner nerd come out to play. This time, I’m looking at other Solar Systems in the Milky Way. Since there isn’t much known about the Andromeda Galaxy, it stands to reason that I need to do research in our own “neighborhood.” So what did I find? I’m so glad you asked.

First off, the nearest Solar System to ours, named Alpha Centauri, is only about 4.37 light years away from our Sun. So if aliens reside there and have really good FTL (faster-than-light) drives on their spacecrafts, they could reach us quite easily. All of those movies about aliens from Alpha Centauri, have some basis in truth. This system actually has three stars: Alpha Centauri A, Alpha Centauri B and Proxima Centauri. Finding this out has been pretty cool for me, especially since I am creating a galaxy which has several populated Solar Systems and some with multiple stars (suns).

Next, I have to think of what types of stars would exist in my galaxy. Will there be blue giants, red dwarfs or giants, binary stars and of course, yellow stars (like our own Sun which is actually white?) With these particular stars, what types of planets, moons and dwarf planets (you know, like Pluto) would orbit them? How big does a planet need to be to have multiple moons?

Here’s where my inner nerd has a field day. I now get to study all of these different types of stars so that I can come up with plausible planets to explain my characters. Like B.F. Setch who has developed into a sort of plant-like, blue alien with four arms. There’s another alien that’s a two-legged yellow and black lizard with a forked tongue filled with a paralyzing venom. This guy has been really fun to create.

Could there be dinosaur-like creatures out there as intelligent as Stephen Hawking? They might look scary as all get out to us, but what if they’re peaceful? There could be plant-like creatures beautiful as the Biltmore gardens, but mean as a raging Klingon. I’m going to create aliens that challenge our preconceived notions of how people (ok beings) should be.

I have the coolest job in the world. Because of my imagination and love of science, I get to create beings that could exist in another solar system or galaxy. And you get to experience vicariously through my warped brain the many possibilities.

**Image used by permission from Wikimedia Commons.

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