Britannian Solar System

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The Britannian Star System, using the Orrery Viewer
Britannia, as seen from outer space
The Britannian Sun
The Britannian Solar System is a planetary system which consists of a sun, the planet Britannia and its two moons, and eight other planets.

Description[edit]

It is indeterminate as to whether the Britannian system is geocentric or heliocentric, as modeling of the planetary motions has not been consistent throughout the series. Among Britannian astronomers, the geocentric model was long been employed, although later models during the events of Ultima IX implied that the systems sun had eventually been accepted as its center - although given the magical nature of Britannia's cosmology, it does not seem impossible that the other planets could orbit Britannia. Early incursions into Sosarian space using the anachronistic technology of the Ages of Darkness brought little light to this conundrum, and current technology for space flight by Britannians is unavailable.

The system, regardless of its center-point, contains nine planets, including Britannia. These other objects have been named for the Eight Virtues of Lord British, and are known as Honesty, Compassion, Valor, Justice, Sacrifice, Honor, Spirituality and Humility. By mechanisms not entirely clear, each non-Britannian planet maintains a mystic connection to the city dedicated to the virtue for which it is named, such as that, during the reign of Blackthorn it was possibly to determine the locations of the Shadowlords through astronomical observation - as comets (long thought of as harbingers of ill) would appear in conjunction with planets corresponding to the cities the shades currently inhabited. Each planet also has a visible hue that matches the color associated with the virtue of its name.

Britannia itself has two satellites: the moons Trammel and Felucca. Britannia's orbit of the system's sun (or the sun's orbit of it) takes 336 days, although the exact cycles of its moons, which are well known for having a supernatural effect on the various moongates of the realm, have never been extensively charted with regards time astronomy, although their effects on the gates is well documented.

Within the Britannian system, an astronomical alignment occurs every eight-hundred years, with all planets, and the two moons positioned in their orbits such that they form a straight line. This event apparently has some manner of metaphysical significance, and the Guardian's planned arrival through the Black Gate was intended to have occurred in conjunction with it. Such an alignment, by its positioning, can only occur on the first of a month during a double new moon.

In realms largely unknown to the world of Britannia, the system has been charted by the twenty-seventh century humans of the Terran Confederation. According to these maps, the Britannian System exists within the Challenger Quadrant of the Avalon Sector of space, and neighbors the systems of Avalon, Elena and New Atlantis. It is not known when exactly this record of Britannian space was written in Britannian time, however, as the temporal distortions between worlds make any exact composite history regarding such far flung worlds nigh impossible.

Lore[edit]

In the heaven beyond our skies, dwell stars whose numbers are beyond our reckoning. Within our heaven, circling our world, sweeps our bright sun. Ten other orbs trace tight paths around our world. The twin moons Trammel and Felucca are desolate, their light only a reflection of the sun's brilliance. The other eight orbs are thought by some to be planets like our own. According to the roles they play in our many legends, they have been named for the virtues of the Avatar. The closest is Honesty, followed further out by Compassion, Valor, Justice, Sacrifice, Honor, Spirituality, and Humility.