At night, the moon is often—but not always—swathed in a wide green band, as if someone took the time to dress it for the occasion. Of course, everyone who’s ever gazed up at it has come up with their own story for why it’s there. Myths abound about giant serpents that entwine the errant moon for misdeeds, or a green sea that seeps up from the ground from time to time. How can anyone know the truth?
The moon gazes down on all of us, but no one truly knows her.
~Naind Oreni’s notes for “The Wonders of Our World: Into the Night”
The sun rules the sky in the day, shining yellow-orange and providing light and heat. Not surprisingly, many cultures revere or even worship the sun for the life it grants.
The moon is a smallish light in the night sky, moving through its phases. Without sophisticated viewing equipment, the surface of the moon looks similar to what it looks like now, except that it occasionally appears with a wide green band (visible to the naked eye) across its surface.
In some areas of the world, when the sky is perfectly clear, other moonlike objects can occasionally be seen. These “moons” are always smaller than the primary moon and seem to vary in shape, color, and other features. There is much speculation about whether these objects are actually moons or something artificially orbiting the earth.
Of course, for all the Ninth Worlders know, the moon itself is an artifact left over from a prior civilization.
The dyeunos, a group of moon worshippers who study the moon and these secondary objects, have spent years tracking their trajectories, appearances, and tidal pulls to learn all they can.
Planets, Stars, And Other Sky Sights
Ninth World astronomers recognize six planets other than Earth, although everyone has different names and ideas about them.
Venus: Handmaiden of Morning. Venus is seen to be the herald of the sun, or even the sun’s lackey or servant.
Mars: The Green Jewel. Bright blue-green, Mars is thought to be a fertile world not unlike the Earth. In many mythologies, it is Earth’s “evil twin.”
Jupiter: The Bull. Some see this planet as Saturn’s guardian or enforcer. Others believe it to be the representation of the force that moves all the other planets.
Saturn: The Empress. Seen by many as the ruler of the planets, Saturn and its crownlike ring are the subject of much art and decoration.
Uranus: The Lurker. Visible only with a telescope, this planet is very likely not the original Uranus, but instead appears to be asphere of white and grey metal with its own atmosphere. No other details are known.
Neptune: The Hidden One. Like Uranus, Neptune is not visible to the naked eye. It is thought by many to be an avatar of stealth and deception.
Stars and Other Night Sights: On an average moonless night, more than 50,000 stars are visible to the naked eye. The vast majority are red dwarf suns and averagesized stars (like the sun). However, there are as many as three dozen visible supergiants, including the three largest: Earline (which has a bright red glow), Immos (the largest star in the sky most nights), and Kelus (which sometimes seems to have a large black spot in its center).
Of course, the Ninth World has its own constellations. Wuolfok the abykos holds Earline and Kelus in its pincers and a cluster of bright stars in its belly. Most nights, Doroa of the Silent Song can be seen reading The Catechism of Lore, a string of amber stars rising up next to her, depicting the Amber Monolith. And perhaps the most popular and oft-spotted constellation of all is the C-formation of High Father Calaval, Amber Pope and Founder of the Citadel of the Conduit and the Order of Truth. There is also a blue constellation in the shape of a half star known as Sritium, which appears at exactly the halfway point of every year and lasts for about a month.
Visible supernovas explode once or twice a year. Many of the explosions can be seen during the day for more than a month after a star’s death, and they continue to light up a portion of the night sky for anywhere from two to four years. In many places, people have integrated these sights into their culture, religion, or storytelling. The entirety of the Andromeda galaxy is also visible to the naked eye, appearing as a giant swirling mass of dark matter, planetary bodies, and stars. Most people in the Ninth World know it as the Veiled Volute or the Spiral Maiden.
There are no known instances of visible auroras, perhaps only because no one has taken the time to write or talk about them. There is a rare daytime display of dark red gasses that blink and swirl, sometimes growing so thick that they temporarily eclipse the sun. The gasses are so perfectly blood-red in color that this phenomenon is known as the blood churn. People who look at the blood churn for too long report that they experience a wider range of colors in their vision, including the ability to see ultraviolet light, for a period of a few days to a few weeks.