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What if the World is Flat, and the actual Centre of the Universe

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Asura Levi, Sep 1, 2016.

  1. Asura Levi

    Asura Levi Sage

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    hello people (being so long I haven't come here I nearly forgot the web address)

    I've being toying with the idea of a flat world, which is not new at all, with a plus of being the actual centre of the universe.

    The sun and moon does circle around it, but in a twisted way (unheard for me at least).

    Instead of the sun going east-west, it would, in fact, arise in the east (let's say) in January, then move 'northward', until eventually it is arising on the north in April (thus setting in south), keep moving counter-clockwise until it goes west->east in July, south->north in October, and finally back at east->west in January, ending the year.

    The big question mark is: how badly does it affect seasons.

    I imagine the centre of the 'world clock' to be an equatorial circle, it would be fraught with storms and what-not. But what about the borders?
    Would it be a shifting temperate climate, with summer while being the rising/setting side of the sun and winter when the sun is moving sideways relative to it?

    I hope I made myself not too confusing, drawing would be easier, but I only have a very crude sketch of it :)

    Thank you all for your time.
     
  2. SaltyDog

    SaltyDog Sage

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    I'm going to swing here, but it may no be correct/accurate. Winter should be in the place where the sun is farthest, right? So then summer should be where the sun is closest. So wouldn't there be multiple different seasons at a time? Sorry I have o flue here.
     
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  3. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    Wouldn't there not be seasons at all? With just the direction the sun rises from changing, that wouldn't change the actual amount of sunlight any place gets.
     
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  4. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    On our world, Earth, the northern hemisphere is actually farther from the sun during summer and closer to the sun during winter. The seasonal variation is due to the tilt of the Earth. In summer, the northern hemisphere may be farther from the sun than in winter, but it's tilted toward the sun so it gets more sunlight. In winter, it's tilted away from the sun and gets less sunlight.

    Nearness can certainly have an effect, and non-circular orbits around a flat world could produce different seasons. In this case, tilt won't matter as much as nearness. Now, how odd the orbit will make a lot of difference. Does the sun always cut across the center of the circle, along the full diameter? Or will it sometimes cut over just the edge, i.e. rise at one point but then cut a path to one side of the circle? Here's a quickly found image to show what I mean:

    [​IMG]

    Perhaps if there's a variation in distance of the sun plus the angle of its light due to rising/setting on one side of the disk for several months, there could be seasons. But exactly how things would need to be arranged to ensure a difference in seasons requires knowledge above my pay grade.
     
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  5. TheKillerBs

    TheKillerBs Inkling

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    I'm not going to mince words here. You can deal with this whichever way you want. Science cannot answer this because such a phenomenon is impossible in the real world and therefore we can observe no data with which to make any sort of prediction.

    Or, well, cannot is possibly too strong, but more like no one has bothered to come up with ways to simulate it and I highly doubt anyone will. There's just no incentive to do so.
     
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  6. Asura Levi

    Asura Levi Sage

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    Pretty much would be two sets of season per full cycle. A 'summer' when the sun is arising at your location and then again when it is setting, half-cycle later.


    The initial idea is for the sun to always cross the centre.



    I fully understand the impossibility in drawing from real-life examples.

    But my question stands, would this movement be enough to have seasons? And one thing I didn't mention before (because I haven't thought about it) was that, despise the month names I used as example, the full revolution of the sun around the world could easily last more than earth years.

    With all that in mind, would it be believable to have seasons in such a setting? Or would you throw the book away because it would break suspension of disbelief?
    And yes, maybe with a really long time, season would have time to set, but I don't want to end with things like 10 'years' of summer, than 10 of autumn, etc...
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2016
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  7. TheKillerBs

    TheKillerBs Inkling

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    I firmly believe that anyone who would have a problem with seasons in a flat world would have a problem with the flat world in the first place. Just go with what works best for the story.
     
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  8. La Volpe

    La Volpe Sage

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    I'm having trouble visualising this, so forgive me if I'm misunderstanding something.

    As I see it, you'll have the sun revolving around the vertical axis of a flat world. I.e. sometimes the sun will be above the world and sometimes below it. Now, I originally assumed that this would be the regular day/night cycle. But then you mentioned that "the full revolution of the sun around the world could easily last more than earth years". Wouldn't that create months of zero sun every time the sun is under the world?
     
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  9. Asura Levi

    Asura Levi Sage

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    I might have misused the word revolution.
    That is a regular day-cycle, as much as it is our own.
    Plus a cycle around the world regarding the sunrise and sunset.
     
  10. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    So I'm picturing something like a spinning coin that causes day/night cycles. The flat world revolves in this way. I don't know how to picture day/night without that.

    I do not think that where the sun rises and sets will make much difference in changing seasons, any more than where the sun rises, alone, makes a difference in whether we have our summer and winter. If the sun is passing over the full diameter of the flat world, that's a little more like our summers in which high noon is closer to an actual overhead position.

    [​IMG]

    I'd guess you could have a complex orbit for the sun of your world which doesn't require the sun to orbit directly around your flat world. I.e., the flat world might be the center of the universe, but other objects in the universe orbit each other and all together orbit your world. (For example, a sun and small black hole orbiting each other, but both together orbiting your world as a unit.) So you could perhaps make it do anything you want if you set up all these special orbits in some particular way.

    But the simplest way to have a change of seasons would probably be to give your sun an elliptical orbit around your flat planet. In winter, your sun is about half again as far from your planet as in summer. (Roughly the difference of the sun to Mars, vs sun to Earth.) So seasons would be marked by your people in part by how large the sun is in summer and how small in winter.

    Unless your flat world is extremely (!) large, the whole planet would be in any given season at the same time.

    I largely agree with KillerBS, however. What kind of story are you writing? If it's SF, you'd probably need to worry a lot more about making the details plausible. For fantasy, you'd just need to be sure it's not too ridiculous and, in any case, would you have any opportunity to describe all the tiny details? Is anyone in your story going to know the precise angles and distances and motions of the sun and planet—or have a reason to discuss these things in the story? If not, you could probably get by just fine by describing the subtle and even outright odd features of the climate and geology without worrying about the physics.
     
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  11. Asura Levi

    Asura Levi Sage

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    Simple and very effective. I can't press "thank you" enough times on your reply.

    Not excessively large. Probably in the end less than our own.
    It is fantasy.
    And in no moment the 'laws of nature and physics' would be explored by characters.
    Why do I bother thinking about this stuff then? Because I like (read need) to have a clear picture of how everything work.
     
  12. Peter Himin

    Peter Himin Dreamer

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  13. Ragnar

    Ragnar Dreamer

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    I skimmed through the posts, and I think it depends on a few factors. Such as, how realistic are you wanting to go with this world? If you are wanting to go as realistic as possible (within the context of a flat world ;) ), then I saw a couple of posts that looked workable, for an explanation. But if realism isn't as important, you could go with a more esoteric explanation for seasons. Like a deity creating them, or say a machine the ancient race that set up the world installed (I'm thinking of Jack L. Chalker's Well of Souls Markovian world here).

    I saw a theory where the sun was an artificial construct, set fairly close to the planet, and it rotated in a circular pattern throughout the year. At the height of winter, it was revolving around the world far to the north in a tight spiral. So that "could" explain why it's cold in the winter. And as spring moves into summer, the sun was closer to the Equatorial countries, so it was warmer and all that... Just a thought :)
     
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  14. Asura Levi

    Asura Levi Sage

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    That is a big problem with this world, as much as I like its concept. How to use/describe cardinal points.
    If I go for a arc-patern, instead of going straight over the world's diameter, East would be the rising point of the sun during the summer of the southernmost lands, but on the northern summer, the sun would rise on west instead.
     
  15. Laurence

    Laurence Inkling

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    Sorry for not answering your question but I'm interested to know how you imagine this flat world? Is there an edge? If you were to abseil off the edge how far until you reach the bottom?
     
  16. Asura Levi

    Asura Levi Sage

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    Endless featureless land/sea, that is no edge.
     
  17. psychotick

    psychotick Auror

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    Hi,

    Odd sugestion. Ignore the rotations of the world around the sun or the sun around the world. They may exist but interms of days and seasons don't matter. Now just say your flat world is like a coin in space some distance from the sun spinning in two dimensions. So for days it spins / rotates on the east west axis - one full spin per day - with the world side getting twelve hours of day and twelve hours of night.

    For seasons it spins on its north south axis at the rate of one full rotation per year. Now here what you get is a season defined by the height of the sun in the sky. In winter, the flat world would be side on to the sun, and from the world you would barely see the edge of the sun creep up over the horizon. It will be colder and darker because the amount of total light falling on the flat world simply due to the amount of surface area exposed to it is much less. (You might get some burning though on the edge of the world facing the sun!) In summer you get maximum light and heat. The seasons apply the same to all parts of the world and there are no really hot versus really cold parts, unless there are other factors involved.

    Now the most important thing to remember is that the world is the centre of the solar system and universe, and as always New Zealand is the centre of the world!!!

    Cheers, Greg.
     
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