Friday, December 30, 2011

Of Eclectia's Oceanic Motion

Thinking over the planetary wobble of Eclectia, I thought about the effect it would have on ocean currents.

I first thought the planet tipping its pole sunward, that is, "summer," would cause the oceans on the surface of to surge toward that same pole.  "Winter," when the pole tips away, would cause the oceans to head toward the equator.  It would be rather like high tide and low tide.

Modeling this in my mind a bit more, I realized that only the night side of the planet would have a surge in the summer toward the pole.  The day side of the planet in Eclectia-summer would head away from the pole.  When the pole shifts back 2 and a quarter days later, it's again the night side shifting toward the poles and the day side sifting toward the equator.

This, along with the planet's rotation and uneven heating, should set up some gigantic ocean currents that would tend to hug continental shelves, and would perhaps make separate circuits in the northern and southern hemispheres.  If Eclectia rotates the same direction as planet Earth, I think there would be a tendency for currents to run clockwise in the northern hemisphere and counter-clockwise in the southern, just like on Earth.

But these currents would be probably be much larger and stronger than any oceanic current on Earth, due to the strong tipping motion of the Eclectia in a relatively short period.  Also due to the strong tipping motion, even though the currents would in general rotate one direction, periodically they'd be strongly pulled back the other way.  This would also produce tides of a sort.  You would expect then a "low tide" when the ocean current reverses itself and a "high tide" when the ocean comes surging back to its natural direction.

It makes my head hurt to try to figure out exactly when high tides and low tides would come, but it should be in a regular pattern roughly following the fiveday.  So the ocean would be at a regular level most of the time, but for a number of hours twice a fiveday (I don't know how many hours, but probably less than 12), it would surge low, and then immediately afterward it would surge high, followed by a slow ebbing down through normal all the way to low tide.

To make all of this more complex, an individual port city's relationship to the Eclectia "tide" would depend on the orientation of the harbor in relation to the prevailing local oceanic current.  So if Adagio is in the northern hemisphere on the western shores of its continent and its port faces south, the nearby oceanic current going from north to south, the difference between high tide and low tide will not be nearly as great as if the port opened to the north.  A north-facing port would get sucked dry in low tide and flooded over in the high tide under the circumstances I just described.

By the way, all this speculation is designed to add depth and dimension to the story world--not take away anyone's writing freedom or to confuse people or make life harder.  Thanks for listening!

For what it's worth, I think I'll write a story that reveals Adagio is in the location I just made--on the west coast of a northern continent, but with it's harbor facing south...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

More on Bibles and Assisi

In answer to a couple of questions I received about the Bibles trained at the Abbey of Jerome and about the Abbey of Francis on the asteroid, Assisi, I wrote the following:

You're correct about paper being expensive. When the Bibles were hard copied before the second memory core collapse, they were incised on plastic because of this. The collections of the copies are held at several locations, a number of which are secret, in hopes that they will never all be lost. The training of "Bibles" is a further effort to protect against this.

Now, about Assisi; there is an elder-care facility attached to the Abbey of Francis. It grew out of a retirement center for elderly religious (priests, brothers, and sisters) after finding that there was a need for such care for the laity (the average person). At this point, Lazarus House was opened to all based on need. Its guiding principle is that all are children of God and that every person's beliefs are their own and are respected as long as they do not impinge on those of others. There are chaplains of a number of religions in residence. One of the main features is that parts of the facility have varying levels of gravity from 1G to micro-gravity. The abbot at the moment is Abbot Anthony Mary de Guadalcanal, T.O.R. (Third Order Regular--don't sweat it, it's just part of his name that tells one to which order of Franciscan friars he belongs). The head of the Infirmary is Brother Peter An Loc Maria, T.O.R. The medicos and nursing brothers number some 160 and they come and go as they are assigned and reassigned where needed, so go ahead and invent any such characters you need.

The main purpose of the Abbey of Francis is its seminary. Almost all mission priests and a number of diocesan priests are educated here. Douay Bede, the main character in the “Word Carrier” series is teamed with a product of the abbey, Fr. Oaku Mary, T.O.R. as part of the Mission to Spacers. Their calling is to go where requested outside established dioceses, such as aboard ships and out among the ice stations.

Assisi itself is an asteroid orbiting 94 Ceti A. It is in an orbit close to perpendicular to the plane of the ecliptic. This is the reason the Jesuits and Trinity University at Christchurch built an optical observatory, St. Joseph Cupertino, and a radio observatory, Consolmagno, on the end opposite the abbey. Near the observatories is housing for staff and tourists (the Jesuits stay at the abbey).

As part of the housing complex, there is a Palmer Company trading post. There are three lighters (often referred to as "The Magi;" "Melchior," "Caspar," and "Balthasar"), based at the landing pad about halfway between the abbey and the observatories, which are used to move people and cargo between the surface and ships parked overhead.

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 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?