mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli

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Watchtower Leviathan

I continue to be-- obsessed? Lets say obsessed, with the visible celestial mechanics of a space elevator. Unlike a lot of the stuff in my setting, which I can just wave a magic wand at (why? because I invented it is why!) things like the propogation of shadows are observable to everybody. A 5000km tower doesn't bother me with questions of material tensile strength as it does-- what does it look like? (also, what is the staggering, world-changing economic cost, but that is a question I am on firmer ground with) So lately I'm conscripted the resident engineer genius, littlewashu to help. She has anchored a lot of speculation down neat & tight, like-- okay, the height is ridiculous, sure, fine. The limiting factor is the width, though! Width I'd been ignoring, too busy being staggered by the implications of the height. So the eye, under best circumstances (dark line against a uniform background) can see .5 arc seconds. That is the best case. According to this calculator though, that still puts it at like, 400000 kilometers if I make the tower a klick in radius. Which I didn't even think was that crazy? Although I guess the Empire State building is only a couple hundred meters? So maybe I need to be less crazy about the width. Or I could be reading the gauge wrong. Or heck, maybe I should resign myself to having it be seen everywhere? If I make it like, 150 meters, it still is at 3000 kilometers. See, I'm king of losing my mind. Shadow-wise, I still need to think, but at least now I understand that the pen/ant/umbra is going to be based on width. Width. I've been thinking about it. Some better-to-scale drawings show me at least how many will be seen from a spot? This is really wracking my brain. & am I latching on to 5000 km because Clarke said it once, somewhere? Maybe the elevator has to be 36000 kilometers tall? Why, brain, ouch, ow. To scale:

Tags: oubliette

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