Game of Thrones challenge

Bloodworth

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Ok, here's the deal. I've been reading (and watching) the "game of thrones" series, and the first thing that came to mind was "WTF kind of orbit does this planet have to have the sort of seasonal cycle it does!?"

Is it within our ability here to try and figure out what kind of orbit this planet has or if such an orbit is even possible? The only thing I can imagine is that it has sort of a figure 8 orbit around an orbiting binary star system, but I don't have the math or astrophysics knowledge to even ATTEMPT to try and back that up. So I hand the question over to your fertile imaginations and more mathematically inclined minds.
 

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mikusingularity
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For someone who has never seen this series, can you clarify what the seasonal cycle is in the first place?
 

dgatsoulis

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For someone who has never seen this series, can you clarify what the seasonal cycle is in the first place?

There isn't a clear cycle. The last summer lasted 7 years, but other summers have lasted shorter and others even longer.
"Winter is comming" (which is a slogan from the books), shows that there is no Spring or Autumn; the change from summer to winter is abrupt. The winter also has an indeterminable length.


5 Scientific Explanations for Game of Thrones' Messed-Up Seasons
 

Bloodworth

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Well, apparently I am not the first to actually wonder about this question. Thank you dgatsoulis for the link.
 

boogabooga

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For someone who has never seen this series,

Good, you're too young.
Don't start now.


If you lived on a planet with variable seasons, why would you even have a concept of a "year". It makes no sense to say that summer lasted "7 years". Then that was one season of what YOU would call one year. Even if you didn't know how long winter lasted, you would still see the summer-winter as a single cycle, and try to figure out the cycles.

So am I to assume that they arbitrarily define a "year" as 365 days? Why would they do that?
 

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mikusingularity
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Well, I'm guessing the show takes place in a fantasy world, so don't worry about it too much.
 
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dgatsoulis

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So am I to assume that they arbitrarily define a "year" as 365 days? Why would they do that?

A year doesn't have to be a succession of seasons as we know them here on Earth. How would you define a year if you were on Mars?

One way would be to pic an arbitrary backround star or combination of stars (so there is a shape you remember) as a starting point and count the time it takes the Sun to complete one course around the ecliptic plane and get back to the star/constellation you picked to start counting.
 

Izack

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[killjoy]A Song of Ice and Fire isn't meant to be in a realistic setting. No natural orbit would produce such a climate, judging from what I know of the series. Flora as they exist on Earth would not survive winter.[/killjoy]
 
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orb

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A year doesn't have to be a succession of seasons as we know them here on Earth.
This one is a tropical year, or anomalistic year, depending on which is more significant: the axial tilt or the eccentricity.

One way would be to pic an arbitrary backround star or combination of stars (so there is a shape you remember) as a starting point and count the time it takes the Sun to complete one course around the ecliptic plane and get back to the star/constellation you picked to start counting.
And this one would be a sidereal year.


Of course in most books/TV series/movies a year is a Julian year, because Earth is in the center of universe and no other star systems and planets can have their own units defining a year (which would be most likely defined as a full cycle of seasons in the first place), or time in general. :p
 

boogabooga

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Yes but the cycle of seasons is the only thing that is culturally important. That is the only part that actually effects people. Noticing that the sun is near a certain background star is great when it predicts that a certain season is approaching. Now you know when to plant crops, etc.

If the position of the sun against the background stars doesn't predict anything, then it isn't important. Why would a culture DEFINE their measure of time on such a thing? It still doesn't make any sense.

My guess is that they would either measure time in days provided that those are at least constant, or have a very alien sense of time, perhaps not recognizing a constant unit of measure at all. After all why would you need a constant measure of time if time's influence was not constant at all? :hmm:
 

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There's little point in trying to model it in Orbiter, since George R.R. Martin himself stated that the cause for the bizarre seasons in the A Song of Ice and Fire world is supernatural rather than scientific.
As for how they measure time, I'm not familiar (yet) with the works, but maybe once upon a time they did have regular seasons and they hung onto their calendars when Magic Global Warming took over.
 

Urwumpe

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Maybe they also simply thought about the year as our ancestors, with solstices as important marks in the calendar. Such events can also be measured.
 
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