## Monday, December 5, 2011

### Of Days, Months and Years

Since the differing time calculations between Earth and Avenir Eclectia have the potential to be quite confusing, I'm going to go through and explain how to keep them straight in your head.

A day on Avenir is 25 hours, based on the human Circadian rhythm. A day on Eclectia varies between 20 and 30 hours due to the planet's wobble.

This wobble also creates the speedy changes in season. Every five days there is a "winter" and every five days there is a "summer" in between. Each brings extremes of cold and heat, and short/long days. This is called a fiveday and much like on Earth, it begins in the Northern winter and in the South's summer.

Six fivedays make a month, so thirty days. Their names are: Celeste, Dax, Isadek, Terra, Alumnus, Railway, Cathar, Benzine, Illecof, Tower, Macbane, Lantana, Aquarium, Pimpernel and Turnpike. The names originate partly from the Founders' own names and partly from Earth terminology fallen into disuse in this new world. So people might talk about the fourth fiveday of the month like we talk about the third week of the month, as well as specifying dates such as the 29th of Celeste. The year is designated A.F. or After Founding and the current timeframe is 179 A.F., flashbacks excepted.

That gives us 450 days, but the yearly orbit of Eclectia is 454 days. The final four days are the Festival of Founding, something like our New Year. Anyone want to take a stab at how it's celebrated? Customs may vary between settlements, of course, and there may be some shreds of Christmas left over in it.

Okay. So what does it mean when Ave is 14 Foundings old? That's a good bit more than 14 Earth years, because an Avenir year is 3 months longer than ours. Let's do the maths...to make it simple let's assume an equal month length.

14 Foundings x 15 months = 210 months. Divide that by 12 and you have your Earth years: 17 and a half.

It works the same the other way, of course. If you want to say "five years ago" in Earth terms, that is 60 months = 4 Avenir Foundings.

Clear as mud?

1. Yep, clear as mud. : D Just kidding, this actually helps a lot. I've been able to figure up characters' ages and everything, but it really helps having this breakdown of the months and seasons and all that. Thanks for posting this!

2. OK, I must admit I don't quite understand the five day concept. So does that mean "winter" is one day and one two three four five days later is "summer"? Or does winter last several days at the beginning of one five day, then by the end of the next five day you're into "summer"?

3. Thanks for the question! I think I said it wrong up there. The cycle is actually 4 and a half days, so there's 2 and a quarter days between winter and summer.
Day 1: Winter, morning
Day 3: Summer, afternoon
Day 5: Winter, overnight
Day 8: Summer, morning
Day 10: Winter, afternoon
Day 12: Summer, overnight
Day 15: Winter, morning (restart)

I made the best sense of it by noting the above pattern on a calendar page for January 2012 (because its first day is a Sunday, it makes it easier to see the pattern).

The way this works out is that the pattern repeats every fourteen days, and the second seven have the opposite pattern to the first. A five-day is the period from one winter to the next, or one summer to the next, though it's actually 4 and a half.

Walt has a good scientific explanation for the actual wobble in the planet's axis that causes all this. Something to do with the several planetary bodies and stars exerting very different g-forces on it.

So the temperateness of any day will depend on where the actual extremes lie. A night winter and a day summer being the most unpleasant.

Does that work for you? Or should we re-think this again?

4. OK, now I see what you meant. Sorry I misunderstood.

Let me be clear that it does not personally matter if the idea of the fiveday "works for me"--this is your creation and you have every right to make it as you wish. On the other hand, I like things to logically make sense, so I'd like to mention some implications of what I think logically follows with the weather on Eclectia, based on the fiveday pattern:

1. Earth has a certain amount of inertia built into its seasons. So in the northern hemisphere, the shortest day of the year is in late December, but the coldest days lie in late January and early February. Likewise the longest day is in June, but the hottest temps are July and August. In other words, it takes over an entire month for the planet to fully respond to the effect of its day shortening or lengthening. What would that mean for Eclectia? It would mean in many places, the planet would not have time to change between "summer" and "winter." There would be no oceans freezing over in winter, for example. There just wouldn't be enough time for it. More on this in a bit.

2. Winds are caused by the rotation of our planet and uneven heating of the surface. The uneven heating comes to play in that the universe is headed toward entropy--that is, the even distribution of heat. So in effect hot places "try" to cool down and cool places "try" to warm up. With its wobble and extreme uneven heating, Eclectia should have some horrific winds that maybe change direction twice every fiveday. Though saying exactly what winds would do on Eclectia is a pretty complicated problem. I mean, in spite of huge efforts to predict weather on Earth, our best minds only know it about a week in advance in accurate detail. My hunch is the regular fiveday pattern would make winds both more regular and more extreme on Eclectia, but that is a guess. Maybe weather would also be wildly irregular.

3. Oceans: Water has a great capacity to store heat and dissipate it slowly. Which is why places on Earth near the sea have more moderate temperatures. For example, I looked up the all time high and low for New Zealand--it's 108F and -21F. My home state of Montana's all time records are 117F and -70F (no windchill included there, friends). New Zealand with its long orientation north/south happens to be BOTH closer to the equator at its northern point AND further from the equator at southern point than Montana, so you'd think its weather would be more extreme than Montana's. But the ocean being relatively near to all places on New Zealand keeps the temps from varying as much, in spite of its greater distance north to south. For Eclectia that would mean in spite of probably horrific winds, places near the sea on the surface might only change, say 18 degrees F or 10 degrees C between the fiveday summer and winter. Or maybe even as much as double that change, depending on winds, but not more than that as a rule (IMHO)--though in certain local places there might be a bigger variation from the rule. But places inland, especially places removed from any standing bodies of water, would feel the full effect of the summer/winter change. You might have nighttime winter temps as low as maybe -40 C/F and two and a half days later summer highs as much as 40 C/104 F in a latitude near the 49th parallel (which on Earth is Montana's northern border in the northern hemisphere, and which crossed by New Zealand in the southern hemisphere). Dry, far inland places would generally have more extreme changes the further from the equator they are as well, if the wobble tips the planet enough to actually point the poles at and away from the sun. The equator would not be effected very much by a wobble. Temperatures there, like on Earth, would tend to be the similar all year round. Though winds might change that a lot in certain places.

I hope all that makes sense and serves as a positive contribution to the AE story world...

5. One more thing, that is one heck of a wobble! I'd think that much daily motion would break the planet's crust to smithereens, but there are work-arounds of a sort for that. Maybe the crust is very thick...

6. Thanks, Travis! That all makes good sense. All these things are great fodder for the background to stories. As for the pressures on the crust, well, we already know she's highly unstable - and this is a very good reason for it, even if the crust is thick.

7. Say, Grace, one other question unrelated to the weather stuff I mentioned above. What is the current "now" month in Avenir? I know you said 179 A.F. is the year, but how about the month?

8. I'm not sure, actually. The stories may not be appearing in an entirely chronological order - I think there's only one story that mentions an actual date so far - the 13th of Celeste, 179 - so that is pretty close to the present. I guess the calendar is there if we need to use it as background, but it's not necessarily something for everyone to work on adhering to from the germination of a tale.

9. I was just thinking of using the month in a new story and felt I might as well stick with a month someone else is using...thanks.