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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default Permanent eclipse?

    So Iím planning out an RPG setting in which a stellar body of some sort has caused a total solar eclipse. This eclipse has lasted for about a century.
    Since thereís a lot of smart people on these forums so I thought Iíd crowd source out some of the research I want to do to figure out what would happen to this wonderful blue ball we call home, and ourselves for that matter, if a solar eclipse lasted for 100 years.

    So far hereís what Iíve reasoned out thus far:
    Reduced sunlight which would cause:
    -Global drop in temperature
    -Withering of plants in wildernesses
    -loss of crops grown for human consumption causing famine.
    -reduced population of plant eaters due to the loss of food sources
    -Extinction of highly specialized plant eaters (pandas for instance)
    -Subsequent reduction of meat eaters due to shrinking population of plant eaters
    Last edited by TheThan; 2015-07-19 at 06:40 PM.

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    Default Re: Permanent eclipse?

    As far as Earth is concerned, eclipses normally cover a very small area. Are you more concerned with having a perpetual eclipse, or producing an apocalypse?

    Or the intervening celestial body could be very large. I'm not sure what could be large enough to black out the sun and still be close enough to make this happen without gravitating into the planet.

    Another thing to consider: if it's been a century without a decent harvest, what are people eating these days? Each other?

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    Default Re: Permanent eclipse?

    If Earth's moon magically became trapped between the Earth and Sol, then certain locals would get a short dark period at the same time every day. The moon covers about 1/2 a degree, and the earth turns through 360 degrees a day, so the length of the eclipse would be 1/720th of the day, or about 2 minutes long. Maybe 4 if you start counting when the moon starts touching the sun's disc. As with solar eclipses today, most of the world would not even notice; only a thin stripe of the world would get the daily eclipse. And it would probably be a slightly different stripe every day, assuming the planet this is happening on is tilted 22.4 degrees with respect to the ecliptic plane.

    So what would happen to lycanthropes in this case? The moon is always new; never full. Would they be free of the curse?
    Last edited by Lord Torath; 2015-07-19 at 08:52 PM.
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    Default Re: Permanent eclipse?

    I think Lord Torath is miscalculating. The size of the area seeing a total eclipse at any instant depends on the difference between the apparent angular sizes of the Sun and the Moon, and on the Earth-Moon distance. For the eclipse in 2017, the umbral spot has a diameter of about 115 km. If the Moon were fixed along the Earth-Sun centerline, it would take about 3 1/2 minutes for the Earth to rotate any location through this spot. (With the Moon at that precise location, the spot would be limited to the tropic zone.) The penumbra, where the Sun is partially obscured, covers much of the day side of Earth, and the partial phase would last several hours. Still, averaged over a whole day, there isn't much dimming. I think what TheThan really wants is a Black Cloud.
    Last edited by DavidSh; 2015-07-20 at 11:42 AM.

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    Default Re: Permanent eclipse?

    Is it actually vital to your concept that it's eclipse as in is the "object" really the point of it? Or are you just looking to capture the eclipse look, along with a mystery and ecological disaster caused by reduced solar energy?

    If it's the latter there might be routes easier than torturing the astromony of it. Maybe just have something mysterious and out there happen to the sun itself ala the Black Sun from DDS?

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    Default Re: Permanent eclipse?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidSh View Post
    I think Lord Torath is miscalculating. The size of the area seeing a total eclipse at any instant depends on the difference between the apparent angular sizes of the Sun and the Moon, and on the Earth-Moon distance. For the eclipse in 2017, the umbral spot has a diameter of about 115 km. If the Moon were fixed along the Earth-Sun centerline, it would take about 3 1/2 minutes for the Earth to rotate any location through this spot.
    Eh, close enough. I only used 1 significant figure, so my final answer is between 3.5 min and 4.49 minutes. Depends on how precise you need to be. For the vampires planning a mid-day snack, they'll probably want DavidSH's somewhat more precise measurement to avoid being accidentally dusted when the eclipse ends early. For the plants, animals, and most of the (non-vampire-snack-food) people, 2-4 minutes is probably close enough.

    The point is that, other than having darker nights (and better star-viewing conditions with no full moon), most of the world won't notice a difference. Women will no longer have a special relationship with the moon, and the moon's position in mythology will probably change. Were's will probably rejoice, as they no longer turn into a monster 3 nights a month.

    Tides will all be "Spring" tides, as the moon and sun will be aligned.
    Last edited by Lord Torath; 2015-07-20 at 03:34 PM.
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    Default Re: Permanent eclipse?

    You could be on a moon of a gas giant and get into the right Lagrange point and be in its shadow permanently, no?

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    Default Re: Permanent eclipse?

    Yeah, that seems to be the only gravitationally stable configuration. But being stable means it's actually permanent and not just a 100 year long event.
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    Default Re: Permanent eclipse?

    How about a large body in geostationary orbit? If it was in the right spot, wouldn't an area of the planet experience a permanent eclipse?
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    Default Re: Permanent eclipse?

    No, because the object would be motionless in the sky while the sun still moves. You would have a regular daily eclipse at noon.

    Edit: No actually not even that. Geostationary has to be above the equator while the sun is directly above the equator only two times per year since the Earths axis is tilted.
    Last edited by Yora; 2015-07-20 at 01:54 PM.
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    Default Re: Permanent eclipse?

    Maybe if the planet was tidally locked AND there was an object occupying the planet-sun-lagrange point, but there you just wind up with a ring twilight world with two rings separated by desert: The dark side of the planet is a frozen hell, the light side is a scorched hell, and right on the median between the two (and also at the edge of the eclipse shadow) you have good temperature conditions and enough ambient light to support an ecosystem in perpetual twilight, and if the oceans survive I bet the bright-side oceans are home to most of the life...

    That would actually be really interesting, I bet in time the two rings would develop into distinct ecosystems, and I wonder if there'd be cross pollination...

    Edit: To be clear, the ecosystem stuff would be longer term than a century, I'm just thinking ahead...
    Last edited by golentan; 2015-07-20 at 02:00 PM.
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    Default Re: Permanent eclipse?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheThan View Post
    So Iím planning out an RPG setting in which a stellar body of some sort has caused a total solar eclipse. This eclipse has lasted for about a century.
    Since thereís a lot of smart people on these forums so I thought Iíd crowd source out some of the research I want to do to figure out what would happen to this wonderful blue ball we call home, and ourselves for that matter, if a solar eclipse lasted for 100 years.

    So far hereís what Iíve reasoned out thus far:
    Reduced sunlight which would cause:
    -Global drop in temperature
    -Withering of plants in wildernesses
    -loss of crops grown for human consumption causing famine.
    -reduced population of plant eaters due to the loss of food sources
    -Extinction of highly specialized plant eaters (pandas for instance)
    -Subsequent reduction of meat eaters due to shrinking population of plant eaters
    Not sensible. As people have said, it wouldn't work that way. However, if it your planet was shaded from the sun anyway, you're looking at a drop in temperature to nearly absolute zero. That would have the atmosphere turning to solids, so there would be nothing to breathe, and it would be cold enough (beside the lack of air), to kill all life as we know it.

    Volcanic eruptions have produced smoke that stopped sunlight getting all the way down to the ground, that only made things a bit colder, but those were still big dyings.
    Last edited by halfeye; 2015-07-20 at 02:05 PM.
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    Default Re: Permanent eclipse?

    Something with a 365.26 (or so) day orbit, between the Sun and the Earth, might be able to keep the Earth eclipses - but it would need to be constantly using power to stay in that position - since orbital speed falls off with distance, for normal objects.
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    Default Re: Permanent eclipse?

    How do you get two rings? One would be at the planets terminator, but where would be the other?
    Last edited by Yora; 2015-07-20 at 02:05 PM.
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    Default Re: Permanent eclipse?

    The zone of the eclipse shadow - where the sun is partly eclipsed but not completely.
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    Default Re: Permanent eclipse?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheThan View Post
    So Iím planning out an RPG setting in which a stellar body of some sort has caused a total solar eclipse. This eclipse has lasted for about a century.
    Since thereís a lot of smart people on these forums so I thought Iíd crowd source out some of the research I want to do to figure out what would happen to this wonderful blue ball we call home, and ourselves for that matter, if a solar eclipse lasted for 100 years.

    So far hereís what Iíve reasoned out thus far:
    Reduced sunlight which would cause:
    -Global drop in temperature
    -Withering of plants in wildernesses
    -loss of crops grown for human consumption causing famine.
    -reduced population of plant eaters due to the loss of food sources
    -Extinction of highly specialized plant eaters (pandas for instance)
    -Subsequent reduction of meat eaters due to shrinking population of plant eaters
    The easy way to explain this is a former sci-fi setting. Have some sort of sun shield, or massive solar array, etc, that has somehow gotten positioned(and actively stabilized, probably by long forgotten systems), in a way that blocks the earth. The sun shield is my favorite. Perhaps the sun was...active.

    Hell, such an explanation could even be used to explain the apocalpyse that reverted folks to swords and such.

    But yeah, insolation just goes to hell. It's not unlike a planet that's orbiting vastly further out, getting much less power, with all that implies.

    Alternatively, busting a moon very energetically could result in broad rings. They'd flatten out in time, making it not a permanent event, though. That could be fun.
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    Default Re: Permanent eclipse?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    How do you get two rings? One would be at the planets terminator, but where would be the other?
    So, if you've got a geostationary eclipse (Object in the L1 lagrange point) and a tidally locked planetary body, the eclipse shadow will fall on roughly the same part of the planet at all times, right? The part of the planet which would normally be "Noon" on a tidally locked world will fall under the shadow of the eclipsing body, now and forevermore.

    But, at the fringes of that, in the Penumbra (rather than the Umbra) the world will get some sunlight, but not full scorching sunlight. I'm guessing at some point there are gonna form regions in the Penumbra which have the right balance of incoming sunlight to not scorch most plant life out of existence but not starve it of photons either. You will get a second ring of viable plant life, just like at the terminator, and just like photosynthesizers seeking out appropriate depths in surviving oceans to get their light and temperature balance right.
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    Default Re: Permanent eclipse?

    I've not done the maths, but I'm guessing that 100 years would be plenty of time to get Venus down to Earth normal temperatures with a sunshade. Making the sunshade is the difficult bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by golentan View Post
    So, if you've got a geostationary eclipse (Object in the L1 lagrange point) and a tidally locked planetary body, the eclipse shadow will fall on roughly the same part of the planet at all times, right? The part of the planet which would normally be "Noon" on a tidally locked world will fall under the shadow of the eclipsing body, now and forevermore.

    But, at the fringes of that, in the Penumbra (rather than the Umbra) the world will get some sunlight, but not full scorching sunlight. I'm guessing at some point there are gonna form regions in the Penumbra which have the right balance of incoming sunlight to not scorch most plant life out of existence but not starve it of photons either. You will get a second ring of viable plant life, just like at the terminator, and just like photosynthesizers seeking out appropriate depths in surviving oceans to get their light and temperature balance right.
    If the atmosphere starts freezing out, on the back side probably, then you're stuffed anyway, no matter what the temperature is on the sunny side.
    Last edited by halfeye; 2015-07-20 at 02:28 PM.
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    Default Re: Permanent eclipse?

    Quote Originally Posted by golentan View Post
    So, if you've got a geostationary eclipse (Object in the L1 lagrange point) and a tidally locked planetary body, the eclipse shadow will fall on roughly the same part of the planet at all times, right? The part of the planet which would normally be "Noon" on a tidally locked world will fall under the shadow of the eclipsing body, now and forevermore.

    But, at the fringes of that, in the Penumbra (rather than the Umbra) the world will get some sunlight, but not full scorching sunlight. I'm guessing at some point there are gonna form regions in the Penumbra which have the right balance of incoming sunlight to not scorch most plant life out of existence but not starve it of photons either. You will get a second ring of viable plant life, just like at the terminator, and just like photosynthesizers seeking out appropriate depths in surviving oceans to get their light and temperature balance right.
    Ah, I see. Five zones: Dark, shade, sun, shade, dark. With two nice rings of shade. (And one ring of sun.)
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    Default Re: Permanent eclipse?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Moron View Post
    Is it actually vital to your concept that it's eclipse as in is the "object" really the point of it? Or are you just looking to capture the eclipse look, along with a mystery and ecological disaster caused by reduced solar energy?

    If it's the latter there might be routes easier than torturing the astromony of it. Maybe just have something mysterious and out there happen to the sun itself ala the Black Sun from DDS?
    Pretty much this. It doesnít have to be an Eclipse. But I want an effect that greatly reduces the positive effect the sun has on Earth but not completely blocks it or removes itís effect entirely.

    The Black sun and black cloud effects are a possibility.

    Maybe a heavily particlized atmosphere like what they think happened during a cataclysmic asteroid strike; that might work instead of the initial idea of solar eclipse.

    The tech level Iím aiming for is mid 19th century. So nothing too technological like a sun shield.

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    Default Re: Permanent eclipse?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheThan View Post
    Pretty much this. It doesnít have to be an Eclipse. But I want an effect that greatly reduces the positive effect the sun has on Earth but not completely blocks it or removes itís effect entirely.

    The Black sun and black cloud effects are a possibility.

    Maybe a heavily particlized atmosphere like what they think happened during a cataclysmic asteroid strike; that might work instead of the initial idea of solar eclipse.

    The tech level Iím aiming for is mid 19th century. So nothing too technological like a sun shield.
    There was one dino-killer, there have been at least two previous eruptions with similar effects. They seem to call them traps.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deccan_Traps

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siberian_Traps
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheThan View Post
    Pretty much this. It doesnít have to be an Eclipse. But I want an effect that greatly reduces the positive effect the sun has on Earth but not completely blocks it or removes itís effect entirely.
    You could just have the sun dim. It does that and that's what could have caused ice ages on Earth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BannedInSchool View Post
    You could just have the sun dim. It does that and that's what could have caused ice ages on Earth.
    Yeah I thought of that but I wanted something more interesting than just ďthe sun grew dimĒ.


    Ok I think I got my event figured out. A near extinction level meteor impact creating something close to an impact winter; kicking debris up high into the atmosphere, significantly (but not completely) blotting out the sun.

    This should give the sort of effect I want, but without killing off everything. Also this gives me an explanation for some of the other aspects of the setting. now to figure out the best place to drop an asteroid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheThan View Post
    Yeah I thought of that but I wanted something more interesting than just ďthe sun grew dimĒ.


    Ok I think I got my event figured out. A near extinction level meteor impact creating something close to an impact winter; kicking debris up high into the atmosphere, significantly (but not completely) blotting out the sun.

    This should give the sort of effect I want, but without killing off everything. Also this gives me an explanation for some of the other aspects of the setting. now to figure out the best place to drop an asteroid.
    Short Answer: As far away as possible from anything in the setting you want remotely intact:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5tDrpPY198
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=end49u7dVrw
    https://youtu.be/xaW4Ol3_M1o?t=210

    Something big enough to keep a century of dust up there is going to have a lot of collateral damage.
    Last edited by Mr.Moron; 2015-07-20 at 11:19 PM.

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    Default Re: Permanent eclipse?

    I'm not sure about the physics of this, but how about this scenario: rather than an extinction-level meteor striking the Earth, it instead strikes the Moon. A significant amount of material (from both the Moon and the impacter) are splashed off and rain down to Earth i.e. instead of one large impact, have a series of smaller impacts over a longer period of time?

    There's also the added benefit(?) of Earth having a temporary (on a planetary timescale) asteroid ring, as well as potentially increased tidal and gravity-induced geological activity from the extra mass of the impacter now in orbit around the Earth.


    One thing to note, if you do go with a single large impact option, the kinetic energy of the impact is likely to trigger an increase in volcanic and tectonic activity - eruptions, earthquakes, that sort of thing - for some time after the event, and dust plumes from eruptions will add to the material in the atmosphere, further dropping global temperatures.

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    You could set off enough volcanoes or super volcanoes to put enough dust in the air. If they kept erupting you could have atmospheric dimming last as long as you like. Get a smaller Ring of Fire with repeated eruptions and you could get a continual Little Ice Age.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dexam View Post
    I'm not sure about the physics of this, but how about this scenario: rather than an extinction-level meteor striking the Earth, it instead strikes the Moon. A significant amount of material (from both the Moon and the impacter) are splashed off and rain down to Earth i.e. instead of one large impact, have a series of smaller impacts over a longer period of time?
    A plausible scenario, but I don't think it makes much difference. It wasn't the impact explosion itself that killed most dinosaurs, but the extreme climate change that followed. Having extremely dark skies from lots of "medium"-impacts would just be as deadly on the global scale.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dexam View Post
    I'm not sure about the physics of this, but how about this scenario: rather than an extinction-level meteor striking the Earth, it instead strikes the Moon. A significant amount of material (from both the Moon and the impacter) are splashed off and rain down to Earth i.e. instead of one large impact, have a series of smaller impacts over a longer period of time?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seveneves :P

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    I suppose I should explain the idea of my setting a little bit.

    Has anyone seen the Dark stalkers anime?
    If you have then youíll probably figure out where Iím going with this. If not, donít worry Iíll explain. No Iím not talking about the American made tv series either.

    Thereís a lot of supernatural forces in the world, vampires, demons, werewolves etc. Basically classic horror movie monsters. Humanity is more than just besieged by these creatures, they live in a very difficult world, the sun is dim, crops grow poorly, people are on the verge of starvation; life basically sucks more than normal.

    The game I want to run is based fairly loosely on this setting. Itís a monster hunting game where the PCs are charged with protecting humanity by destroying these creatures where they crop up.

    I want to come up with an explanation for why the world is the way it is. I could just throw a generic curse out there but I decided to go with something more interesting. So my initial thought was a permanent solar eclipse, which doesnít look like it works at all. So Iím looking for other solutions. A meteor impact works but I donít want to wipe out all life on earth. I donít want to destroy the moon; as I need it for werewolves and other moon powered creatures.

    Now a meteor impact can explain why these creatures have poped up, Iím thinking something to do with radiation, or a contagion that causes mutation; not quite sure just yet on what direction I want to go. whatever the case these creatures prey on humanity and need to stop.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheThan View Post
    I want to come up with an explanation for why the world is the way it is. I could just throw a generic curse out there but I decided to go with something more interesting. So my initial thought was a permanent solar eclipse, which doesnít look like it works at all. So Iím looking for other solutions. A meteor impact works but I donít want to wipe out all life on earth. I donít want to destroy the moon; as I need it for werewolves and other moon powered creatures.
    Why "the" moon? A planet doesn't have to have just one moon, and rings and moons totally can and do co-exist.

    Have one that exists, and one that got blowed up, bam.

    And of course, the existing moon would act as kind of a gatekeeper, corralling the ring in terms of orbital distance. Which, while likely not an impact on your game world, provides a fun correlation with traditional vampire/werewolf rivalries, given that the moon is heavily tied to werewolves, and the darkness provided by the ring would be very vampire friendly.
    Back from a lengthy vacation from Giantitp. I've been dabbling with 3d printer technology and game design, PM if you're curious.

    "World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimization."

    New: Tyndmyr has a game shop!

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