Astronomy for Fantasy Fiction

When designing sci-fi and fantasy worlds, look to stars for inspiration. Your characters will. Astrology is an ancient pseudoscience. Mapping heavenly bodies is why many religions spouted in the classical era.

Citizens love giving spiritual reasoning to strange and wonderful, but natural, occurrences happening throughout the universe. A simple way to do this is giving phenomena human qualities, and names, and attributing stories to them, whenever otherwise unexplainable events ensue.

Your universe will be wherever your stories take place, and can encompass everything you write. Give it a name, and be wary each culture you create may have its own name.

I prefer writing in larger, more inclusive universes, where settings and stories interconnect. It isn’t for everyone, but it helps having consistency between stories. Achieve this by focusing on one character or group, or by having one universe, where the governing rules are the same.

Galaxies can contain many solar systems. There will be too many to build them all. Focus on small numbers.

Stories can feature more than one galaxy, connecting through portals or wormholes. This doubles your novels complexity, but opens opportunities for diversity.

Constellations are imaginary lines connecting stars to create symbols. You can make stories for these pictures, adding them to a mythology. Like civilisations on earth, any aspect of your solar system can generate religious belief.

Earths constellations link to astrological archetypes. These won’t apply to other fantasy worlds, as the night sky will differ. Make your own set. You could even give them personalised characteristics.

Remember, it depends on your whereabouts on planets, to what constellations you see. The planets movements mean the night sky is different globally. It also changes over the course of time.

The solar system is a group of planets that orbit a sun. The sun is a star, which will be blue, white, yellow, orange or red dependant on its heat.

Scientists say the makeup of our solar system, with small, rocky planets in the centre, the gas giants in the middle, the smaller planets on the outside, and the amount of planets, is what made life on earth abundant.

The larger middle planets act as a gravity trap, holding the outside ones in place. I advise similar models for fantasy worlds.

Scientists also suggest life can only exist on planets with carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulphur. These are essential life chemicals.

Earth’s moon affects life dramatically. It has shaped life so much that we couldn’t live without it. Three cheers for the moon!

The moon influences the tides of the sea. The gravitational pull from the moon attracts it, causing waves. If there were mass liquids on the moon, the earth would do the same, causing tides on the moon.

The moon goes round the earth approximately every twenty-eight days. That is where we get months. ‘Mon’ in month stands for moon. In other languages, lun, lum and loon are common words for moon. You can see this in words like lunar. The word luminous comes from moon, as it is a source of light, yet doesn’t create its own. It reflects the sun.

The length of year and months do not match perfectly mathematically. That is why we have twelve months of different lengths. I think seven, thirteen or fourteen months would have worked out better, but that is my opinion.

I reckon the reason it isn’t thirteen is traditionally it’s an unlucky number. Twelve is useful too, due to its divisibility. It’s good for counting. I also feel the world would be better off with a base twelve counting system. However, fantasy planets with have a completely different arrangement to Earth’s.

Happy Creations!