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From: m.driussi@genie.com
Subject: (urth) Zodiac 101
Date: Wed, 23 Apr 97 01:19:00 GMT

[Posted from URTH, a mailing list about Gene Wolfe's New Sun and other works]

Reply:  Item #3438330 from URTH@LISTS.BEST.COM@INET00#


If your Urth is "flipped" in such a way as to include Cygnus in its
zodiac, then we are no longer talking about the more mundane polarity
shift I thought we were talking about.  Cygnus is not currently
anywhere near the ecliptic (the band which the sun and all the
planets "appear to move along during the year"--just the sort of
"primitive" thinking astronomy still relies on, and what Wolfe was
pointing out by never using "sunrise" and "sunset," for example) . . .
to force it onto the ecliptic (and thereby a zodiac candidate) would
appear to involve stripping a few gears of the solar system machine.
(Cygnus is currently what we might call the anti-Gemini or
anti-Cancer; but that sounds too permissive.  !Even precession of
equinox does not change the twelve zodiac signs--it only alters the
seasons that the signs appear in!)

At that point, having fixed Swan into a new zodiac, would it also be
possible to still have Polaris as the North Star?  I'm not sure,
offhand--I'll let you work it out! <g>

If the constellation names have changed then it is unfortunate that
they didn't change into entirely new names, since I was able to find
nearly all of them--under their present day names and positions, of
course. <g> (Add another challenge--not only does Polaris have to be
the North Star, but it also has to be called "the Octans," aka, the
sorta South Star!)

Astronomy is a pretty wild science, and for my money it is nowhere so
head-spinning as where it relates to Earth . . . seasons . . . years.
I've invested (or paid out) a lot of time looking into just this
angle re: Urth/Swan, and my conclusion was--not on Urth.  But I'm always
willing to look at the work of others.


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