Astronomy

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History

Age of the Sun & Grey Era

The earliest known studies of the celestial landscape are by the mystics of Seleru, who have been observing the heavens for almost 3400 years. They use tall buildings called ostriva which act as spiritual observatories and gathering places, and have some of the oldest maps of the stars and planets. These observatories also played another important role by helping predict the seasons to know when it was ideal to plant crops in the year.

Unlike the mystics, sudyan priests of a hoqomer only observed the heavens in a rather cursory manner. They too had buildings that acted as observatories, but these were usually part of their holy sites called tequra, and were primarily used for worshipping the heavens rather than studying them.

The Leisatru of Benevis built the Moon Stones, which are the largest stone henges built by the ancient Umberians who at that time dwelt in Umbener. The site consists of dozens of 30 ton prismic stones in concentric rings. The central stone is twice as large as most of the others, and how the ancient Umberians carved, transported, and erected it is a mystery. The stones have carvings in their inner faces of animals known and unknown. Though their specific purpose is not known, it is believed that they held some significance to ancient followers of Leisatru, acting as some sort of astronomical measuring site, a ritual site, or a place of healing or worship. Indeed, the name "Moon Stones" is a modern guess; its original name is unknown.

Other ancient observatories can be found in Qarbak, Temanea, and Into.

It was the Ladareans who first built on the star catalogues developed by the Tesareans who came before them, and discovered the cycle of lunar eclipses. During the second Suo Mi empire, around 300BD, an early Sanist high priest called Daelo estimated the size and distance of the sun and moon, and proposed the idea of heliocentrism -- the idea that the sun is at the middle of the solar system. Before this point, geocentrism had been the prevalent viewpoint throughout Riiga.

Around 150BD, a Xilou man called Eqaemo invented the astrolabe and catalogued over a thousand stars. He also confirmed the estimates of the high priest Daelo from Suo Mi by measuring the size and distance of the moon. Unfortunately, much of his studies were lost when the Zirer Library was destroyed during the Darkness.

Light & Silver Era

Among other interests, Nicolas Carson was fascinated by the heavens, and found some of the few remaining studies of Eqaemo of Xilou. By building on these studies, he became the first to predict a comet returning and be proven right. He also proposed many mechanisms and techniques but did not have the means to actually create anything functional. His designs were adopted later on by a scholar called Balthinon, who invented the first astronomical clock in 788AL. He also invented the equatorium which could calculate lunar, solar, and planetary longitudes. Various other scholars built on these inventions and ideas over time.

Other kingdoms and empires saw similar advancements in related areas. Around 300AL, the technological boom caused by secure borders and sharing of knowledge thanks to the Archroad allowed a man named Lu Naden to lead the construction of a great observatory in the Hodasean Empire. He used it to calculate the tilt of the planet relative to the sun, and shifts in the tilt over time. His discoveries also led to the creation of a more accurate calendar, called a Naden calendar.


Celestial Phenomena

Carson's Comet

Carson's Comet is the first comet whose return was accurately predicted. It was predicted by Nicolas Carson in 129AL, and returns into view of Riiga roughly every 44 years. Since then, his way of deducing whether a comet had passed by Riiga before or not became spread between certain people and cultures.

Eclipse

Eclipses have been observed and recorded for thousands of years by many ancient civilisations, where it often has religious significance. It was the Ladareans who first built on the star catalogues developed by the Tesareans who came before them, and discovered the cycle of lunar eclipses.

Heaven's Rays

Heaven's Rays in western Benevis are mysterious high altitude streaks of slow-moving red/yellow/greenish light that happen during the day or night.


Celestial Objects

The Moon, Mulga

Riiga has one moon, overall called Mulga by Benevans, which is in a broken state. Mulga is also the name of the main body which makes up about 75% of the object, with smaller yet still significant chunks which often have their own names and significance. The two larger pieces behind it are called Enes and Amor, and the largest piece ahead of it is called Lumir. Other languages have various names for the moon, with some treating the three larger pieces as individual celestial objects, while others treat the entire broken collection as one object. Mulga is of a pale silvery colour, evidenced through the study of fragments which occasionally fall down to Riiga. These fragments are most often called mulgite. Mulgite is considered one of the most valuable types of stone on Riiga, and is sometimes used in jewellery for the most wealthy of rulers.

In the earliest days of Seleru Mysticism, around 2300BD, it is known that they observed Mulga in a slightly different state, with Amor and Enes appearing to mostly be joined, while today there is a distinct yet narrow separation between them, and the overall streak of debris is slightly more collected. It is estimated, therefore, that Mulga broke apart well over a hundred thousand years ago. There are many theories as to how Mulga broke apart, but none are proven.

The Four Planets

Riiga's celestial landscape has four known planets. They were all identified some time ago by the mystics of Seleru as stars that don't revolve in the same way all the other stars do. The four planets are: Gadoth, a small and pale planet known to move slowly across the sky; Yarasa, a ringed planet of medium size with two moons; Aryel, a large yellowish planet with three moons; and Dumniel, an elusive dim orange planet which appears to have an unpredictable orbit and change size slightly.

The Eye

One of the more peculiar features in the Riigan night sky is what's often known as The Eye. It appears as a star or dense cluster of stars in an elongated, disc-like formation, with a bulge in the middle. It has great significance to mystics, as they believe The Eye -- called Turel in their tongue -- is the closest anybody will ever get to witnessing a celestial god, who are all eternally unreachable and unknowable. It is also regularly used by sailors, as it is a very distinct point of reference and is faster to visually locate than any other star.

Constellations

Name North Middle South Stars
Parapato Yes 12
Blue Crab Yes 16
Tlenlion Yes 11
Golden Fox Yes 8
Western Stream Yes 17
The Child God Yes 18
Raevil's Flame Yes 2
Ilertav Yes 10
Enixxra Yes 7
Mezim of Eser Yes 4
North Spear Yes 5
White Tree Yes 3
Grey Bear Yes 5
Renin the Great Yes Yes 10
Cobra Yes Yes 13
Western Candle Yes Yes 9
Adrastatirok Yes Yes 12
Nunui Yes Yes 4
Cmarla Yes Yes 3
Guranda Yes Yes 13
Jade Wolf Yes Yes 12
Gaur Yes Yes 6
Tyanra Yes Yes 5
Scarlet Pipe Yes Yes 6
The Altar Yes Yes 3
Upapi Yes Yes 15
Raxl Yes Yes 16
Leopard Yes Yes 14
Tortoise Yes Yes 11
Crocodile Yes Yes 18
Southern Fountain Yes 12
Ebony Tiger Yes 3
Wildebeest Yes 20
Ivory Crown Yes 10
Silver Flute Yes 14
The Sceptre Yes 12
Lion Yes 15
Terra Tower Yes 6
Southern Archer Yes 10
Lost Child Yes 12
Korowethe Yes 14
Cullas Yes 21