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Alksheist
Adjective Alksheian
Orbital Characteristics
Aphelion 94.875 au
Perihelion 95.421 au
Semi-Major Axis 95.148 au
Eccentricity .004 584 700
Year 412 days
Hours in a Day 26.42 hours
Average Orbital Speed .058 km/s
Semi-Major Axis 95.148 au
Mean Anomaly 0.00084378°
Satellites 4
Physical Characteristics
Equatorial Radius 14 653.3 km
Mass 8.96 × 10²⁴ kg
Mean Density 5.443 g/cm³
Gravity 9.6804 897 m/s²
Minimum Surface Temperature 181 K // -92°C // -133°F
Average Surface Temperature 265 K // -8°C // 18°F
Maximum Surface Temperature 338 K // 67°C // 152°F
Atmosphere
Alksheist (/ælks.h'aɪst/) is the fifth planet orbiting around the star Bellatrix in the constellation Orion. It is approximately 1.5 times the size of Earth, but is less dense, allowing for a gravity of .9871 times the Earth's. The planet has four moons: Laresin, Shali, Acu and Tiput. It has ten major landmasses, and large polar ice caps that are slowly creeping toward the equator. Its distance from its sun -- roughly similar to a scaled Jupiter to Sol distance -- is on the outer edge of Bellatrix's habitable zone. Alksheist is very cold because of this; the average global temperatures across a year are between -32ºC and 16ºC (-25ºF and 60ºF). The equator's annual temperatures average between 11ºC and 22ºC (55ºF and 72ºF). The hottest recorded temperature anywhere in Alksheist occurred on 2 Mino, 1122DE in Ghreeva, Lexelle, at 67ºC (152ºF). The lowest recorded temperature on Alksheist was recorded in 15 Istra, 8875ME on Floyd Peak, Alluum, at -92ºC (-133ºF).

Climate

Alksheist's climate is much colder than Earth's, but also much more erratic. The shallow seas do not allow for ocean currents to run as smoothly as they do on Earth. At low and high tides, the temperatures in a single spot can vary up to 10ºC (50ºF) within hours. Tiput's cycle determines the tides, much like the Earth's own moon, as do the sea dragons' movements. Since the water dragons are so massive in both size and number, the movements of a school of them can have as much of a factor on weather as tides. The multitude of factors going into local weather makes it almost impossible to correctly predict the weather in a single spot.

The southern hemisphere has the most stable climate because of the few continents spread across it. The seas are more stable, which allows for the climate to be more regulated. This part of the world is cold and barren, much like a tundra. Specialized tundra swamps and bogs can be found on both Egivelyn and Alluum, a biome unique to the southern hemisphere.

The equator is the warmest part of the planet, and consists of northern Alluum, northern Egivelyn, Lexelle, Copun and Anbri. The relatively-stable southern climate clashes with the eccentric northern climate, causing heavy rains and high fluctuations in temperature. It is typically warm by day and cold by night, much like a desert.

The northern hemisphere has the most erratic weather. The countries around the Sea of Ghosts -- Anbri, Kaimo, Seville, Zann and Lexelle -- experience a sort of doldrum affect with their weather. The water there is sheltered from the rest of the oceans, and does not circulate much unless a large storm passes into the sea. Those countries in the Ocean of Ice have no such luck; their weather is wildly erratic, causing special biomes to form. The Tatian forest is one of these specialized biomes, characterized by high precipitation and wildly fluctuating temperatures.

Landmasses

Alksheist

A flat map of the world of Alksheist, showing the relative positions of the continents.

There are ten continents across Alksheist, and most are comparable to the size of New Zealand or Cuba. The largest continents reach sizes close to Greenland, or even South America. Today, these landmasses are spread across the surface of Alksheist, with many islands in-between. Land takes up only 15% of the surface of Alksheist, leaving the rest to oceans.

Most of these landmasses are mountainous and created by convergent plate boundaries. Others were created by volcanic activity, such as Copun, Lexelle and Egivelyn, who are believed to have moved across a volcanic hotspot and have been created over millions of years.

Prehistoric maps carved into caves and rocks by dragons and other intelligent life across the planet depict a very different Alksheist. Archaeologists and geologists believe that the oldest of these maps is the Groisand Island Map, which depicts a single large landmass. What is puzzling is that the large landmass takes up most of the surface of the planet in the Groisand Map. As the maps progress over millions of years, the landmasses break and separate, but the ocean remains to be as little of the surface. A map dating to the middle of the Modern Era depicts an Alksheist with almost 85% land. After a mysterious event referred to as only Shali's Coming in ME 7521, the maps drawn were almost identical to the maps drawn today.

Countries

Each continent is also a country. No one continent has more than a single country inhabiting it, and each country has a different culture from the others. Many countries were founded around a single humanoid species, and their ability to bond to an andzkin. The chosen culture's andzkin has had a great impact upon the development of each country, and the other, smaller landmasses across the surface of the planet.

List of Countries

Moons

Four moons orbit Alksheist: Laresin, Tiput, Shali and Acu. Laresin and Shali are both small, gaseous satellites similar to the size of Mars. They orbit as quickly as Alksheist turns, and they are only visible in the southern hemisphere. Laresin is a deep crimson color, and a civilian's telescope will reveal that the moon has dark orange stripes in its atmosphere. Shali is completely white, and scientists argued until recently on if it was truly a gaseous moon, or if it is a captured star. It is, indeed, gaseous, but the white color is completely undisturbed.

Acu is a black moon spider webbed in ice and craters. It is rarely seen in the sky, except as a dark black disk. It orbits slowly, since it is so large, and is currently able to be seen above the skies of Zann. It makes a full rotation of Alksheist every 129 years, and is regarded as a bad omen when seen in the skies above Alluum.

Tiput is the smallest moon, and is similar in both appearance and size to Earth's own moon. It orbits every thirty-two days, and goes through waning and waxing cycles. It is the closest of the moons and has the most effect on the planet's tides.

Artificial Satellites

Remnants from the Modern Era are still orbiting around Alksheist. Strange, metal satellites still fall from the sky occasionally, but it is rare. Twice a year, a sparkling debris field can be seen during the day and night, and "meteor" showers are common. Most of these meteor showers consist of some kind of metal debris falling from the sky. Almost all of the metal in these showers is disintegrated into the atmosphere, and the pieces large enough to land are too warped and burned to be identified.

The Solar System

Alksheist's solar neighborhood is composed of eleven planets. Alksheist itself is the fifth in the line of planets. Its orbit can be compared to the size of Jupiter's orbit, concerning the planet's distance from its sun. It is at the outer edge of the sun's habitable zone, the distance from the sun that will support liquid water.

The four planets in front of Alksheist are: Sonerth, a small terrestrial planet that orbits dangerously close to the surface of Bellatrix; Eberon, an Earth-sized terrestrial planet with seven small moons, orbits in a very erratic pattern around Bellatrix, but is usually counted as the second planet sequentially; Zheio, a Pluto-sized orange gaseous planet with several moons, orbits very close to Eberon -- it is very possible they can collide; Ahlo, a large, white gas giant with large rings, orbits just on the edge of the habitable zone. A thin debris field orbits between Ahlo and Alksheist, effectively cutting the habitable zone in half.

Beyond Alksheist are: Ynstra is a terrestrial planet twice the size of Alksheist and its orbit is very far away from Alksheist's -- almost like Earth to Jupiter; Esahie, a large blue gas giant with many moons, orbits very close to Ynstra; Niva, a small terrestrial planet, orbits far away from Ynstra; and, lastly, is Wulah, a very large green gas giant with large rings and moons the size of Niva and Sonerth orbiting it. Wulah is so large that it effects Bellatrix's wobbling and elongates orbits of the planets in the solar system. It is very, very far from the edge of the solar system and is in a very large, loose circular orbit.