Vaguely related to the topic from earlier today, about how north being the direction of cold is very much a northern hemisphere attitude, one of the things that bothers me in science fiction is when, a thousand years in the future, on distant planets and distant suns, we still operate in today’s hours, days, minutes, weeks, etc. Those are not arbitrary. They’re based on the rotation of the planet we happen to be on, and the revolutions it makes. If humans are living on a distant planet in ten thousand years, chances are, we’ll be working with a whole new system. I mean, sure, we’ll need hour-ish units for some things, and day-ish units for others, and second-ish units… but the idea that we’ll take the julian calendar with us to a new stellar system is… well, it just doesn’t seem likely to me.
So there’s a science fiction story that I kind of want to work on that involves a crew living in a stellar system where a large number of the planets and moons have been terraformed.
Brief sidenote, I found out recently, the reason our solar system is a solar system is because our sun’s name is sol. So if you’re in another stellar system you apparently either have to call it a stellar system, or use whatever name it has. I’m currently planning on their sun Luyt, thus making it a luytar system, but I digress.
Anyhow, one of the things that’s frustrating me is determining the weather on these worlds. I mean, in order to have them survivable I’m just basically going to pretend like humans come up with some kind of system of custom building atmospheres so if you live closer to the sun, it reflects and refracts a lot of the light, and if you live a long way off, they build up the greenhouse gasses to keep as much heat as possible in the atmosphere. I’m willing to make that leap, or more accurately I’m wiling to assume that my readers will take that leap of faith with me. But even so,there are questions that need to be answered, like what would the sky look like on a world that has to block out that much sunlight? Probably opaque and light colored?
But let’s forget about that, the big question, the one that’s driving me nuts, is what life would be like on a moon. First off, it’s going to spend half its time behind the planet it’s orbiting. It won’t necessarily be hidden from the sun for all of that, but for some of it, certainly. Especially if it’s orbiting, let’s say, a gas giant. And what would the weather and seasons be like? The earth tilts back and forth creating the seasons, right? So what would a moon do? it would tilt even more because of its planet, but it would also be moving closer and farther from the sun as it circles the planet. Would that make it notably hotter and notably colder, or is the only important question how much sunlight it’s getting?
Part of me wants to ignore these things. I certainly haven’t read anything about it in any other books I’ve come across, and even if i do figure this out, I’m honestly not sure if it will play a part in the story i want to write, but dammit, it could be incredibly important! And how the hell do you find something like that out?!