Tag Archive: Confederation calendar

Since it’s Christmas day, I’m posting a bit from a conversation between two of my characters, both in their teens, at a boarding school. This is from a published work, Homecoming. I’ll get back to Tod’s story next week.  Six Sentence Sunday is officially closed for Christmas, so I’ll post a little more than six sentences.

“You planning to do anything special over the holidays?” Cory asked. “Break’s less than a month away, you know.”

“Just stay here, I guess. Xazhar’s staying, too.” That frightened Roi a little. Xazhar was bad enough with classes and plasmaball. Xazhar with nothing to do ….

“Well, you’re invited to come home with me. Ander most always comes. Anyway, Mom loves company she can mother.”

“I’d love to come,” Roi whispered to Coryn, so overcome he could hardly manage the sound.

If you’re interested for next week, check out the website.

Sunrise 10:22 am, sunset 3:21 pm for 5 hours 20 min of daylight. The sun is over 9 times its diameter above the horizon, and driving south on icy (reflective) roads is a real pain. We’re gaining 6 minutes a day, now, and the sunshine is visible shining from the south window on my north walls at noon. We’re on the upswing!

On the down side, it’s 33 below today. I’m just as happy I don’t need to go out and get the mail. Still, it’s nice to see the seed catalogs arriving. It’s pleasant to know that we’re on the way to spring, even if the thermometer doesn’t show it yet. In fact the battery-operated remote thermometer doesn’t even register—the batteries are frozen. An since I’m in a cold spot, the forecast doesn’t look very encouraging

Makes me feel for my characters in Tourist Trap, caught in a major blizzard.

Sunset Dec 21 at Fairbanks, latitude 64 degrees 50 minutes. Photo taken about 2:40 pm, looking a little west of south.

Happy Southday! (Or, if you don’t follow time as measured on the planet Central, Happy Winter Solstice.) The days in the northern hemisphere are getting longer again!

Solstice has nothing to do with distance from the sun. In fact, we are rapidly approaching our closest approach to the sun, around January 3. But because the earth’s axis is tilted relative to its orbit around the sun, there are times (the solstices) when one pole or the other comes as close as it ever gets to pointing directly at the sun, while the other is as close as it can get to pointing away. That happened on Dec 21 this year with the north pole pointing as far as it could get away from the sun.

On the winter solstice, the sun never rises north of the Arctic circle, while it never sets south of the Antarctic circle. Closer to the equator it rises and sets, but the northern hemisphere days are at their shortest for the year, and the sun at noon is at its lowest in the sky. The low sun and short days combine to minimize the solar heating of the ground and water. The opposite is true in the southern hemisphere, where it is the first day of summer, and both day length and solar elevation are at their greatest for the year.

Our Earth’s axis of rotation is 23.5 degrees from axis of rotation of its orbit around the sun. What would happen if that angle were 0?

I actually invented such a planet, called Eversummer, for my second science fiction novel, Tourist Trap. It wasn’t exactly paradise!

The planet’s name, Marna thought, must have been picked out by a publicity agent.  Everspring would have been more accurate, or Everfall, or perhaps Constancy.  Maybe even Boredom.

The planet, with its rotational axis almost perpendicular to its orbital plane, had no seasons.  The poles were bitterly cold, glaciated wastelands where the sun forever rolled around the horizon.  The equatorial belt was an unchanging steam bath, the permanent home of daily tropical thunderstorms, varied by hurricanes along its poleward borders.  The desert belts, inevitable result of the conflict between the planet’s rotation and its unequal heating by its sun, were broad and sharply defined, with no transition zones where the rains came seasonally.  The temperate zones, between desert and polar ice, were swept year round by equinoctial storms, varied only by occasional droughts.  No monsoons, no seasonal blanket of snow to protect the dormant land, no regular alternation of wet and dry seasons.

Would you like to live on such a planet?

FIRSTDAY: #scifi First day of a fiveday. It is considered a holiday at Tyndall, but different religions and occupations take various days of each fiveday as being “special” in some way.

MONTH: #scifi A thirty-day period composed of six fivedays. In the Confederation, it has nothing to do with a moon. (Central doesn’t have one, anyway.)

CALENDAR: #scifi The Confederation calendar has slightly more than 364 days a year, with 4 of those days and whatever leap years are needed being considered outside the twelve 30-day months. “Day” and “year” are based on Central’s orbit and rotation rate, so the Confederation calendar does not quite match that of any other member planet of the Confederation. Most member planets have their own calendars, though year and day lengths are close enough to Central’s (and Earth’s) that matching is possible over a few fivedays’ time. The Confederation calendar is used to synchronize time across the Confederation as well as being the usual calendar on Central.

FIVEDAY: #scifi Five days, and may be considered the Confederation equivalent of a week, though shorter. Six fivedays make up a month, which has nothing to do with a moon—Central, for instance, doesn’t have a moon.

Alaska a few days before the southward equinox

FEASTDAY: #scifi #time #calendar The intercalary day 182 days after Yearday, approximating the date of the southward equinox. As aphelion is near the southward equinox on Central, Feastday is generally within a day or two of the equinox, and is a holiday  on Central. Here on Earth, the southward Equinox is today, September 22 2010, at 7:09 pm Alaska Daylight Time. (That’s 8:09 PDT, 9:09 MDT, 10:09 CDT, 11:09 EDT, and September 23 for most of Eurasia and Africa.

NORTHDAY: The intercalary day 91 days after Yearday, approximating the date of the northern solstice. At the time of Homecoming perihelion is close to the northward equinox, so the actual solstice is a few days before Northday. Northday is a holiday on Central, and is also the end of the school year and the start of a month-long school vacation.


YEARDAY: The first day of the year on Central, it is an intercalary day with no month assigned. Occurs on the day when the northward equinox occurs at the Confederation Administration complex. The year length on Central is slightly longer than 364 days, so an extra leap day is inserted as needed to keep Yearday on the equinox.