Good evening all. I'm trying to do what the Bad astronomer recommends and ask someone when I don't know something. Since this seems to be a good collection of intelligent people, I figured I'd ask you guys. Go easy on me, I'm a newbie/longtime lurker.
Background: I'm writing a novel for nanowrimo www.nanowrimo.org. and I just wanted to do a little research.
The entire concept revolves around a ship that went and got itself stuck in a rogue moon, and ends up coming to visit our little solar system. The ship getting itsef stuck is science fiction that I can deal with. The rogue moon and such I want to try to base on science fact.
From what I understand, it is possible for there to be rogue moons (Supernova ejecta?) wandering the void between stars. But how unlikely is it for one to encounter our solar system (I am aware that space is mostly empty)? What would be the evidence of it's approach? Increase in comets from the kupier belt?
I'm intending on having the moon get pulled into a stable orbit (or stable enough that earth, say, 100 years in the future could stabalize it) around Jupiter. Is that even possible? Or would it just slam into the planet?
I know that if such an occurance would happen, it would cause a huge stir. That's readily apparent. But could an astronomer be able to calculate that the moon would end up orbiting Jupiter when it was out beyond the orbit of Neptune, or would the moon have to come closer for such math? I can't handle that math, but could someone else handle it?
Hmmm.. That looks like that's it. If anyone has any useful info, I'd appriciate it. I'm no astronomer, I'm a computer science major. I'd just like to have some fact in this little novella of mine...
Thank you for your time.