1. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Opinions sought: star set/star rise sunset/sunrise or Cen-set/Cen-rise

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by GingerCoffee, Dec 11, 2015.

    My story takes place on a planet in another solar system. I don't think the characters would refer to their sunrise and sunset by such a long name as Centauri setting/rising. It's bound to be a shortened reference by this time (planet settled a century ago). Technically the star is the sun in their solar system. I worry that when I refer to the sun setting in the first paragraph, the readers are going to be thrown off if I call it a sunset and it will be jarring later to find out the story isn't taking place on Earth.

    Censet would be even more confusing. I could use it, especially with the hyphen (Cen-set). Some sci-fi authors do use new words and let the readers figure them out.

    Do you think space colonizers would call it starset?

    "The star was setting"?

    "Centauri was setting" and call it sunset later?
     
  2. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Well technically our sun is Sol, but know one calls it "Sol-set". I imagine that colonists would be seeking a way to find normalcy in their new surroundings and would just refer to Centauri as the sun.
     
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  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Sol, that's an idea I hadn't thought of. Solset might be recognizable to the reader.

    [thinks a bit]

    I like it.
     
  4. Jeff Countryman
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    Jeff Countryman Living the dream Supporter

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    Moonrise/moonset, maybe (if there's a moon there). I like solset and solrise from the person above. As an offside, the term sunset is now being used in 'pop psychology' - referring to an older/dying senior citizen as 'sunsetting' in their behaviour (ie, the sunset of their life, preparing to pass away) and the term is now making its way into legal medical records as a legitimate 'phase' of life that requires a specific set of protocols/procedures from the medical community. The point being, you could introduce an interesting and developing word/phrase and depth to the character and/or society etc. using that type of terminology and psychology behind it.

    I like starset and stardown too, but it doesn't signify the 'brightest' one as the word sun or sol does (we can see stars before the total darkness of sundown, so it's not as specific).
     
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  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    A sundowner is an elderly person who gets confused at night. Never heard anyone using sunsetter to describe someone circling the drain. Maybe it's a Canadian thing? :p
     
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  6. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    You may be overthinking this a bit. It's a sunset. The star (or stars) closest to the planet you are currently on would be considered your sun(s). When it passes to the other side of your planet, it is setting. Sol is Earth's sun, so calling it a "Sol-set" would be very confusing if they're in the Centauri system. Calling it a "Cen-set" would be accurate but, IMO, unecessary. I'm all for new words, but I think this slot is quite comfortably filled by good ol' "sunset." If it ain't broke...


    PS: There is no such thing as "another solar system." The planets orbiting Sol (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, etc) are in the Solar system. Other star systems are not called Solar systems. Yes, I'm being pedantic, but it's a nice little detail to keep in mind when writing sci-fi. ;)
     
  7. Jeff Countryman
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    Jeff Countryman Living the dream Supporter

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    LMAO, GingerCoffee !!! :) You hit the nail on the head with that one! Long story, short, . . . I can't speak. I'm relatively new to signing/sign language and when the term 'sundowning' came around to the hospitals I work for - I had no way of signing it except for "someone circling around the drain".....and it worked because it's easy to sign using gestures - those are the signs I use to say 'sundowning'. That probably doesn't make a lot of sense but it tickled my funny bone when you wrote that. Cheers! Jeff. You made my day.
     
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  8. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    OK, that's cool. If they are not other solar systems, what are they called?
     
  9. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I can't find any source that says other planetary systems are not called solar systems. I want to get the science right. Does anyone else know if solar system only means this one? I don't think that's right but I did find this in Wiki:
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2015
  10. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    Star systems or planetary systems. Or, if you're referring to a particular one, you could use the star's name. (Which is essentially what "Solar system" means. It is a planetary system, with "Sol" as the central star.) If the planet in your story is orbiting a star named "Centauri" then that planet is part of the Centauri system.

    After doing some digging, I stand corrected. :oops: According to both Merriam-Webster's and Wictionary, the latter is an acceptable usage, though it does seem to be treated as an alternate usage. Its usage as the name of our planetary system (proper noun, capitalized) seems to be the main usage. Hmmm... now I'm not sure where I got the idea it's not acceptable. I even recall editing out every "incorrect" use of that word in my novel.
     
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  11. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    No need to be embarrassed. You might still be technically correct. Lay persons' dictionaries seem to use the term solar system for any planetary system. But I didn't readily find solar system in any of the astronomy sources I looked at.

    I was aware of Sun meaning our sun, sun referring to other stars. But I've never capitalized Solar system. Maybe I should have been?

    You've piqued my interest. My main character is a stickler for science so I want that to come across in her vocabulary.
     
  12. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    This sheds some light:
    http://history.nasa.gov/printFriendly/styleguide.html
    Except my recollection is that one capitalizes the Universe but not other universes if one is referring to them.
     
  13. Dan G
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    Dan G New Member

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    Just a thought, but you're worried about readers mistaking it for Earth, but this could actually add a nice element of growing knowledge as they read on. A friend of mine deliberately does this a lot in his writing, and it adds a nice layer
     
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  14. Robert Musil
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    If you're that worried about confusing readers, there are certainly ways to establish that this is a different planet/star system than Earth, without having to lose the word "sunset". Unless you want to get rid of "sunset" deliberately to heighten the alien-ness.

    For example, you could say something like "New Kent, the largest human settlement in the Centauri system, was cloaked in shadow as the sun set behind the Toliman Mountains." Or even "as its sun set" if you want to be crystal clear.

    Is your system Alpha Centauri, by any chance? If so you could also take advantage that at least two (or possibly all three) of the stars in that system would be bright enough to be sun-like for your planet. I.e. "Although the red sun was setting, cloaking his side of the planet in darkness for a few hours, Professor Nigel Kent knew that the blue sun would rise early this time of year."
     
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  15. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Ooo, two suns setting. I like that.

    It's not dark yet. After it's dark it's no problem. There is a large and a small moon and a faint ring.

    But I can have one sun set and that makes the distant star visible.
     
  16. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    Nightbreak and daybreak does not work?
     
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  17. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I trying for an opening in the first paragraph that is the calm before the storm so to speak. I have the rest of the scene. But I've begun reading The Girl on the Train and it made me think I should start with just a taste of beauty, serenity, the place my character loves that she is quickly to be ripped away from.

    It's nearing dark and I wanted to mention the coolness of sunset after a warm day, lengthening shadows. But there are a lot of ways I can approach it. It's funny, I can spend hours trying to imagine a single paragraph.
     
  18. tristan.n
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    tristan.n Active Member

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    If you want to remind your readers that Centauri is the sun that this planet revolves around, then I think you should call them Cen-rise and Cen-set. I think it's close enough to sunrise and sunset that it's familiar, but obviously slightly different. I think that colonists--assuming they are well-traveled--would look for ways to differentiate between suns, when they aren't simply saying dawn or dusk.
     
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  19. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    The Cen was setting?

    Cen-set and cen-rise work, but then I try 'the Cen' and I dunno.
     
  20. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    How does this sound?
    Cen was winking out over the tree tops. It was time to get back to camp.​
     
  21. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Here's another place it comes in:
    It wouldn’t be long before Cen was angled over the canopy, slipping through spaces between leaves, drying everything here on the forest floor.
    How does that read?
     
  22. Mckk
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    Cen reads like a person to me, but then i don't read sci-fi. How am I supposed to know what Cen is?

    Also, "drying everything on the forest floor" doesn't sound like either Cen or your planet is terribly pleasant - if you're going for a taste of beauty, I suggest rewording it perhaps?

    "Cen was winking out..." makes it clearer that Cen could be a sun or star - however if it's your first sentence of the novel, I might still suggest something different. Readers skim, especially when it's the first line, we're prone to misreading. On first reading, I ended up reading "Cen was winking" :D which would give me the impression that Cen's a character and Cen thinks it's time he gets back to camp. I know you could say that's honestly the reader's fault, but I dunno - is it worth it?
     
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  23. tristan.n
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    tristan.n Active Member

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    For readers' sakes, I would use "the Cen."
    The Cen broke the horizon, its light casting the fields in a rippling blanket of red.
    Keep in mind that context will be the key element, either way.
     
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  24. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    If I were standing next to someone on this wonderful, beautiful alien world, awash in newfound love, still wrapped in the warmth of afterglow, and we were watching the local star rise over the far distant lavender hills, our fingers interlaced, hearts aflutter, this moment so perfect and singular, and he were to say to me, all wispy, "The cen-rise is so beautiful today," I would look at him from the corner of my eye, slightly less lovingly than a moment before, and say, "Stop that. Seriously. Stop it. It's a freakin' sunrise. And that frog-lookin' thing you keep calling a froog, yeah, that word has to go too or this is gonna' be a real short relationship, bro. You're cute, but you ain't that cute. " :whistle: :-D

    [​IMG]
     
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  25. xanadu
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    I'm a little torn on this one.

    On one hand, I would have no problem, as a reader, with you giving me a word for the sunset that makes sense in context. I'm very much of the train of thought that I can say something is, and the reader will go along with it as long as I'm consistent. I'm that kind of a reader, myself. If you tell me that Cen-set is the word for sunset on this planet, I won't argue (as long as you're consistent).

    Will I like it? Hard to say.

    On the other hand, we have the often eye-roll worthy trope of Calling a Rabbit a Smeerp which, as indicated by @Wreybies's post above, has its share of detractors.

    Sunset is a perfectly good word. It's familiar to readers. Cen-set might sound like it's trying too hard. As a reader, I doubt I'd care too much either way. Fantasy stories set in other worlds still use sun and moon and stars, after all. If you can make the context work, it might be a nifty little detail that enriches the world. Or it might cause eye-rolls. Or both.

    Maybe this is a question better suited to beta readers who have the context of the whole story (or at least a chunk of it)? Gauging their reactions in context might be more helpful.

    So in all, this post really wasn't that helpful :whistle:
     
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