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A world without a moon

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Ireth, Sep 2, 2012.

  1. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    My latest wolf-centric WIP takes place in a world where the moon (actually a goddess, like Selene in the Greek myths) has been destroyed by her rival deities of light/sun and darkness/night, and her power is fading. There are no explicit consequences concerning the nature of tides and the like, but in place of the moon the night sky now has stars, which are the goddess' spilled blood from when she was killed. I need a way for the wolves (the only sentient beings in their world, at least for now) to be able to tell time at night without a moon rising and setting. I imagine the stars would be fixed in their places, and not change with the seasons. Any suggestions?
     
  2. Butterfly

    Butterfly Auror

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    A brighter star that gives off a sort of half-light moving across the sky. Could be the remnants of her body.
     
  3. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    No, her body fell to earth and is lost -- the novel focuses on the protagonists' quest to find it in the hope of reviving her somehow.
     
  4. Chilari

    Chilari Staff Moderator

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    As far as seasons go, you could have a comet or another planet with an orbit which relates in some way to the course of a year, say a planet with an orbit roughly half that of your main planet thus meaning its only visible at certain times of the year, with that changing only by a day or two annually.

    As for time, you could use plants. Some types of plants are particularly fragrant in the evening. I dare say there are some that can be discerned more strongly in the early morning, or if not you could invent some. Wolves have sensitive noses, right? Have a certain smell at the right time of year denote the approach of dawn, and another at a different time of the year. The subtle changes in scent over the course of the night as some flowers go to sleep and others wake up could tell a wolf what time of night it is.

    Also as the world spins, the stars rise and set. If your wolves keep sufficient track of the stars as well as the moon they should be able to use those to approximate the time if they already know the season.
     
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  5. Saigonnus

    Saigonnus Auror

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    Perhaps another manifestation of the loss of the Goddess's blood, auroras could appear at night around the world and could vary in color depending on the season; greens/blues in the spring going to red/orange in the summer.
     
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  6. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Great ideas, Chilari and Saigonnus. :) I could make use of those.
     
  7. battlestar

    battlestar Dreamer

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    Technically, time telling is possible without visual cues at night. For example, in the human body, the pineal gland produces melatonin that plays a part in the dictation of circadian cycle (internal clock, though it's slightly off by an hour or two without external stimuli), while cortisol also goes through a cycle (high during activity, low during sleep) throughout the day/night following the circadian cycle (basis for jet-lag). Other hormones such as testosterone also have a cycle, though I'm not very familiar with the reason and mechanism. Wolves also have the organs to produce these hormones. Perhaps this could be utilized in addition to possible visual cues.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2012
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  8. battlestar

    battlestar Dreamer

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    P.S. (can't edit post anymore. ??)

    Since plants and animals could all have circadian rhythm, one could potentially tell time by seeing what animals are out and about or the appearance of special plants (such as one that blooms at midnight and fades before dawn).
     
  9. J.D. Hallowell

    J.D. Hallowell Dreamer

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    You can tell time by the progression of the stars across the sky at night, and tell seasons by the constellations that are prominent at nightfall. Only Polaris, also called the pole star or North Star, remains in the same place throughout the night throughout the year. Here on Earth, the moon doesn't rise or set at the same or even near the same time every night, anyway. This link

    Ask an astrophysicist

    Goes through the basics of the movements of the moon and stars. If you need to, you should be able to find more detailed information about the movements of stars and planets using Google or another search engine.
     
  10. Chilari

    Chilari Staff Moderator

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    Don't be silly, nobody Googles stuff on other search engines. No other search engines have legitimate verbs of their names either (Bing doesn't count, Microsoft tried to make it a verb in product placement but nobody in real life says "Bing it" or for that matter uses Bing at all if they know anything about computers at all; bitten by radioactive spider believable; geek using Bing is not.)
     
  11. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Thanks, but I'm not sure this applies entirely to my world. It is not our Earth; the stars actually ARE the blood of the goddess, and are fixed in their places. I haven't even decided if the world rotates yet, or how seasons work if that's not the case. Likely just the will of another god/dess, or more than one.
     
  12. Chime85

    Chime85 Sage

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    what happens durring the day time (if there is daylight?)

    I assume technology has not progessed far enough for mechanised time pieces such as clocks, so what about older (retro) methods of time keeping? They could use an hourglass on sunset, a big one that takes hours to empty. Failing that, candles (fire hazard with so much fur lol), with hours notched into them. They won't be able to accurately get minutes, but they will be able to judge the difference between an hour and a half and two and a quarter hours.

    If you want to be a little morbid, why not something along the lines of digestion? Example; they give a large pet snake a rat at sundown and how far it's through its digestion signals how many hours it's been. I believe most snakes take longer than a few hours to digest food, but there should be a significant change over a twelve hour period.
     
  13. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    The Sun (Light goddess) circles the earth, much like Helios in the Greek myths. Prior to the Moon usurping the Darkness God's place (i.e. night), nights were completely dark; I doubt just having starlight would make much of a difference in the present.

    Re: hourglasses and such, I'm not going to anthropomorphize my wolves much, if at all; they're intelligent, but that doesn't make them human. They have no opposable thumbs with which to use things like glassblowing equipment, even if it existed in their world. There neither are nor have been any elves or other humanoids from which to learn such things or gather artifacts, and even the gods appear in animal forms when they do manifest physically (kinda like Aslan). The snake/digestion idea is interesting, but I have yet to decide whether my wolves will have such human practices as keeping pets.

    Thanks for your input. :)
     
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