Luke the Son of Annekin 3 Comments / Blog / By Rachel / September 27, 2018 I don’t really have time to write a real post today, but here is a Star Wars / Hamiton parody, which I happened upon via File 770: Enjoy! Please Feel Free to Share:
3 thoughts on “Luke the Son of Annekin”
Peeves in fantasy and SF. So until today, my biggest peeve was getting the basics of rocketry wrong. A rocket will *always* accellerate at maximum feasible acceleration until it reaches a target velocity, then coast until it nearly reaches its destination, then enter terminal maeuvers, also at near maximum power. (There are minor complications for gravity slings, but the basics is the same: most of the time is spent coasting with occasional course corrections.) David Weber rather infamously got this wrong with his missiles in Honor Harrington, and had to do some ridiculous handwaving to explain why his missiles acted more like primitive cannonballs. A (“physics for SF writers” will cover this and similar topics.)
I have now found a similar case in fantasy (Paper Magician, Charlie Holmberg.) In this case, the protagonist looks out her window and sees the third quarter moon near overhead, and deduces that it is a bit after midnight. But the moon in the waning quarter rises at midnight and sets around 6 am, standard time. Always. You can prove it to yourself easily with three pennies on a table.
Getting these little details right should be easy, and getting them wrong will often lose a reader’s suspension of disbelief. Perhaps there is a tutorial somewhere?
Well, Pete, now I am super glad my copy editor caught it when I made mistakes about the timing of the moon waxing and waning in The White Road of the Moon. I thought I’d worked it out accurately, but she said no, it would be this way, so I guess I can’t count number of days. Not sure I would think about pennies and the timing of moonrise and moonset either.
It’s easiest to think about a full moon. The entire surface facing the earth is illuminated, so it is also facing the sun. The only way for this to be so is that the moon is on the opposite side of the earth to solar noon, which is to say: at midnight. A new moon is the opposite: the light side is facing away from the sun, so it is directly overhead at solar noon. Half moons are in between: they rise and set at noon and midnight. Because the moon travels in the same direction as the earth’s rotation, it sets later and later every night, which means that it is the waning half moon that rises at solar midnight and sets (invisibly) at noon. (On a hypothetical world–we might call it Neptune–where the moon is retrograde, it would be the opposite.) You can demonstrate the geometry to yourself with three pennies.