Moon Gazing

From: ian (i.) gorlick (
Date: Tue 20 Feb 1996 - 16:02:00 EET

The moon occupies the Middle Air. Given the height of the Sky Dome, that
suggests that the Moon should be somewhere around 1000 miles above Peloria.
long way to fly, but a pretty low orbit. Given that height, normal geometry
would indicate that, from most of Genertela, one's view of the moon would
largely be restricted to the lower side of that object. Add to this the known
fact (Greg imparted wisdom) that light on Glorantha does not travel
in straight
lines, but rather curves upward because of its afinity to the sky, and you soon
come to the conclusion that only the lower face of the moon can be seen from
anywhere on the surface world.

This offers us a solution to the problem of how it can be Full Moon day in Tarsh
and Thrice Blessed on the same
day. Both places, indeed all of Glorantha, see
pretty much the same face of the moon.

The moon's axis is not vertical with the moon spinning to face the different
quarters of the compass, rather the axis is horizontal with the moon rolling to
view above and below, her airy realm and surface empire. The axis precesses so
that she can view all the corners of her domain.

I am not sure how rapidly the moon should precess. Simplicity would suggest a
one year period, however an eight-week period [one season] would also have good
mystical symbolism and possibly some interesting altenatives for Lunar
calendars, or maybe some strange length of time that only divides neatly into a

The curving light gives some other interesting effects. The moon will not appear
perfectly round except from directly below in Silver Shadow, everywhere else it
will be slightly oblate. Those outside the Empire will hold this up as proof
that the Moon is flawed and evil.

Looking up from Silver Shadow, the moon will be directly overhead and obviously
high in the sky, dominating the world. In the nearby satrapies it will be almost
overhead and still dominating.

From a thousand miles away (like in Sartar) it will be much less imposing.
Geometry would put it at an elevation of 45 degrees, but the curving light will
make it appear much lower, perhaps only 20 degrees above the horizon. Certainly
nothing so low down could claim to dominate the Middle Air of Orlanth.

        | \
        | \ \
        |. \ \ Geometrical elevation
        | \
1000 mi | . \ .
        | . \ . Path of light
        | . \
        | . \
        | . \
        | .\
                          1000 mi

I think there must be other interesting effects due to the bending of light.
Especially local effects around the moon since the red face must attract light
and the black face repels it. Any ideas what the phases of the moon would look
like in such a case?

By the way, what does the dark part of the moon look like during daytime? In the
RW, the dark face fades into the light of the sky and appears blue. Does this
also happen in Glorantha or does the dark face appear as a visible patch of
blackness in the middle of the blue sky?

In the night sky, is the dark of the moon visible as an even darker patch
against Xentha's cloak or is it invisible, revealed only by the way it occults
bright objects behind it?

What do people think, should the dark of the moon be Black or Unseen?


End of Glorantha Digest V2 #390

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