Operation Iago (The Confederated Worlds, Book 2) has been out four weeks now. If you haven’t picked it up yet, its focus is an exciting story about a likable character struggling to grow as both a leader and a man. But one of the joys of reading science fiction is the chance to explore strange new worlds. And Arden certainly is a strange one…
From the Confederated Worlds Encyclopedia
Type of world: moon of a gas giant, tidally locked to always show the same side to gas giant
Gas giant’s name: Prospero
Star’s name: Sun of York
Star’s spectral type: M3
Surface gravity: 0.8 g
Orbital period: 243.62 hr.
Arden is a moon of a gas giant named Prospero. As a result, Arden always shows the same face to Prospero (just like the Moon does to Earth, or Io to Jupiter). Seen from the surface of Arden, Prospero is always at the same spot in the sky.
The system’s star, Sun of York, is of spectral class M3, too dim to provide enough light and heat to make Arden habitable. As a result, Arden’s terraformers bulit massive mirror arrays to reflect concentrated sunlight onto Arden. The terraformers placed three of them at gravitationally-stable Lagrange points generated by the masses of Arden and Prospero.
- L2 (behind Arden as seen from Prospero)
- L4 (60 degrees ahead of Arden in its orbit of Prospero)
- L5 (60 degrees behind Arden in its orbit of Prospero)
Each mirror array rotates as it orbits Prospero.
Arden’s day/light cycle is controlled by turning the mirrors on/off. The terraformers could have created a day of arbitrary length by adjusting the mirror’s on and off times. However, given the human organism’s adaptation to a 24 hour day, a local day on Arden is 24.362 hrs. Thus, one revolution of Arden around Prospero is 10 local days. The locals prosaically called this a “tenday.”
Each of the three arrays lights up half the face of Arden, meaning that every spot on Arden has what look like two suns. But unlike normal suns, the two “suns” wax and wane based on where Arden is in its orbit, because the mirror arrays’ rotations change the angle between their reflective surfaces and Sun of York’s rays.
This waxing and waning means that the amount of light reaching any point on Arden’s surface varies by 100% during the course of each tenday. This means Arden has a summer lasting about four local days, a winter lasting about four local days, and a spring and autumn of about a local day each.
One more point. When the terraformers found Arden, it resembled Titania and Oberon, satellites of Uranus–worlds with a rocky core and a thick layer of ices. After terraforming, Arden’s surface is mostly dry land, with a few sporadic lakes. The terraformers removed a billion trillion tons of ices. Where did they put them?
You can find that answer, and many others, by following the links below.
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