Orbital Mechanics for Vampires

Welcome to your new life of power and fascination and immortality. There is just one minor inconvenience. Not the need to consume blood; you will soon find that to be a great pleasure. The need to schedule your life by the sun, or the lack of it, is the only flaw in the perfect vampiric experience. And even then, if you are clever and knowledgeable, you can minimize the effects of this celestial body on your existence.


(From Wikipedia)

Is it not an ugly sight? Soon you will cease to miss its glare, and if you think upon it remember it only with distaste.

In your inferior existence you may have had to follow a clock, to arise at one time, depart at another. That training will no longer serve you. The sun follows its own schedule, and will not conform to petty human clocks. Neither shall you.

To understand the profound impact the sun will now have on the length and arrangement of your waking hours, you must seriously consider two factors: latitude and season. The length of night varies with the latitude and season. The Earth’s axis is inelegantly placed at an angle to its orbit around the Sun. While half the globe is at all times under the influence of that odious orb, at some times the illuminated area is more northerly, and at others more southerly.

When the northerly pole is pointed toward the sun, that hemisphere receives more that its share of sunlight. During the times closest to the June solstice, the northern summer, the northerly pole receives no soothing darkness at all, while the southerly pole receives no light. The opposite is true at the December solstice, when the northern hemisphere has winter and darkness, while the southern one has summer and light.

At the equinoxes neither pole has precedence; the darkness is equally distributed between north and south. Days everywhere are then 12 hours long. The rest of the year, only the areas at the equator are poised equally between light and darkness. If you wish to explore this further without the bother of travel, the Stellarium software is an invaluable way to view the sun from different locations without the attendant dangers.

If you can afford it, and what clever vampire cannot, traveling from one winter clime to another can greatly increase your hours of darkness, though at the expense of cold and unpleasant weather, and the loss of your usual haunts. North during their winter months of November, December, January; and south during their winter months of May, June, July. Of course, the abundance of humans, the quality of the nightlife, and elegance of lodging opportunities must also figure in to your analysis.

Some vampires, disliking change, take up residence near the equator, where there is no change in the hours of night from season to season. This practice has much to recommend it, though one does miss out on the traditional seats of vampire culture in Chicago, London and Prague.

While you can of course no longer observe this phenomenon directly, the tilt of the Earth’s axis and its path around the Sun combine to produce the elegant pattern known as an analemma. This twisted loop is formed when the sun is observed at the same time of day over the course of the year. During local summer, the sun rises higher in the sky, while it is lower in the winter. The amount of change depends on the latitude.

(Solar analemma from APOD, taken by Anthony Ayiomamitis)

You may instead be interested in observing the lunar analemma, if you are of a scientific bent. It is one way to occupy yourself during long years of immortality. If you are careful and persistent, you may even be able to observe the changes in the Earth’s axial tilt over time.

(Lunar analemma from APOD, taken by Rich Richins)

We are, you may know, engaged on a program of interplanetary exploration. By our nature we are well-suited for such activities, though surviving on frozen blood for so long is remarkably tedious. Travel between-planets occurs almost exclusively in the sunlight; scientists have not yet discovered a way to simulate planetary night. Once upon another planet, we become subject to its diurnal cycles.

Our Mars base is the most advanced. The situation on Mars is much like that on Earth: the axial tilt is 25 degrees, so seasonal changes in day length are even more pronounced. The analemma is oval instead of an 8-shape. Day length is similar to that here but the year is nearly twice as long, so seasonal changes occur more slowly. The winter nights are particularly pleasing, being longer than on Earth.

(Martian analemma from APOD, prepared by Dennis Mammana )

Sunlight on Mars is weaker than that on Earth. Our hope is that as we travel ever farther, the sunlight will become so attenuated that we are no longer affected. There we will create the new vampire homeland, no longer vulnerable to our sole weakness.

If the Cabal wishes your assistance with this project, or any others in progress, they will contact you directly.

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