twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
As day turned to dusk we entered the western pasture, four ponies and a baby dragon. We walked in hock high timothy grass, wet with evening dew, rustling under hoof and tickling our bellies enticingly. The crushed stems smelled so sweet and fresh we just had to slow to a wandering step, biting off tender mouthfuls as we made our way through scattered stargazing ponies. Ahead on our chosen hill top, Rarity and Fluttershy were waiting for us, lounging on a picnic blanket spread under a rising moon.

Luna landed just as we were laughing, tossing about cushions and spreading more picnic blankets as well as we could over the springy stalks. We bowed to the Princess of the Night and finished setting up the plates, cups, Spike's punch and my telescope. We spread out the contents of our picnic baskets and settled in to watch the night sky. It is starting to get chilly at night so I'd brought a blanket for Spike. Owlowiscious flew in and perched on a picnic basket, ready for night duty.

By now the cloudless sky was a velvet black canopy studded with brilliant glittering stars and constellations. Luna had lowered the moon for everypony to better appreciate the antics of the meteors. The sky looked so full and so close I felt like I could almost touch it. As I ate a dandelion alfalfa sprout sandwich, the first meteors flashed overhead.

Meteor showers are waves of shooting stars, the spirits of many ponies, galloping across the sky. Often, they're the spirits of ponies that died too soon. They run to be free, they run for joy, they run in memory of an event, they run to flee and they run to forget. They also run to draw the attention of those they left behind. They run across the sky to wave hello, and good bye. They run because waiting for you is a hard thing to do. And they run because they remember that they were ponies.

We were built to run.

Luna knew many of the stars personally while they were still ponies. Some of them were close personal friends. Four powerful ponies in particular. I asked her about her time as the Mare in the Moon.

Imprisoned in the moon was like becoming one with it. In the moon, life and the dance of the heavens happened too fast to make out the details. Everything was a blur, only the glowing rock seemed solid, a single constant in a grey smudge of sky. But Luna's friends remembered and the stars experience time's passing, faster than the living stones but slower than the ponies tied to the ground. They helped her escape, to give her a second chance, for friendship. They were powerful ponies in life, now brilliant stars in the sky.

We sat in silence, watching the stars twinkle and shoot by as they looked down and watched over us.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
Somehow nearly all of our constellations share the same names as yours. Parallel universes are weird.

For Equestria, space travel is not the option it may be in your universe. Our sky is an illusion where going up eventually leads you back to the ground. The horizons touch at all points and our constellations exist just this side of that convergence. If you could imagine the fourth dimension of space as a cone perpendicular to Equestria and the other three dimensions of space, "outer" space is a point and Tartarus is infinite.

The closer something gets to where the horizons join, the bigger it looks from the ground. During the day, the higher up you fly the hotter it gets due to the inverse square law and getting close to the sun.

Staring up into the nothingness beyond the stars makes me giddy.

Don't ask me to explain gravity. Nopony has that figured out yet.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
It's a cool, clear night and I was playing with my double bridle telescope, peering at stars so faint that they were like dust kicked up by Taurus' hooves. Were there stars before ponies? Do old stars forget what they were and fade away?
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
We met up in the west pasture right before sundown, I brought my telescope, we all brought snacks, pillows and blankets.

Together we watched the sun set over the fields and forest. Into the twilight rose Luna's moon, scattering constellations and stars as it carved a path through the sky. We ate strawberries and we watched for meteors. Some constellations dodged about the stars playing tag, and when a meteor did shoot by, scramble to catch it and toss it hither and yon across the night sky.

The true constellations, the ones that move, not the other stars that fill up the sky, are alive. They are the star beasts, born of grouped stars, probably stars attracted by a shared love. A love of family, a love of adventure, a love of lore... That link lives on, in giant twinkling beasts in the illusion that is Equestria's night sky.

Maybe one day I too will be one with a constellation. Or perhaps I will be a shooting star. For now, I gaze up, not down. I press closer to my friends.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
Lecturing is something I do best!

Equestria appears flat but that's an illusion. Equestria is more like a bag with the edges connected. If Ponyville was all there was of Equestria, you could walk past a building on the edge of town and end up passing a house at the opposite end of town and find yourself heading for the town center. So Fluttershy's cottage could end up next to Rarity's Boutique even if they are at the opposite ends of town. It all depends on which path you take, and there are an infinite number of paths. This could make travel across Equestria a gamble, as the time it will take changes, even if you take the train. The slightest shake will change your path. But this is all second nature to us ponies. We're born with a sense as to where to go and how long it will take. It would be very strange if the distance from your house to the bakery was always the same. If that were to happen to me I'd know I was dreaming.

The appearance of the sky over Equestria is dependent on velocity. Einstallion worked out the relation between velocity, mass and energy, but understanding the math behind his theories is a bit of a hard slog. It works out like this: because ponies move quite a bit slower than the speed of light, we don't see the curve of the land, we see a gap, and that gap is the sky. Plus the moon, which is a dollop of Equestria that somehow got pinched off. Pony philosophers are still working on that. It might just be a shiny pebble that got tossed into the air at just the right time and place, thousands of years ago. So anyway, we see a gap, a gap that doesn't exist if you move at the speed of light. A gap peppered with stars and stuff.

It gets weirder.

The sun and the stars are borrowed light, extracted here and there, visible to us as stars only because we aren't traveling at the speed of light. The light can be borrowed because at the speed of light, there is no distance and it takes no time to go nowhere -- it's borrowed and paid back in the same instant. The sun is just a really big loan from the nothingness of space that Princess Celestia pushes up from the edge each morning. She's really good at easing it into a track that crosses the sky. Since the sky is an illusion and the "edge" is a single point, it looks like she is pushing the sun up from the same place each day. Anyway, it's a good thing that the entire sky doesn't belch light -- Equestria would burn to a crisp! Some philosophers speculate that that is happening to Luna's moon, which is why it glows, right through the rock! It's like a failed Equestria, floating right above our heads. *shudder*

But what magic makes the stars in the first place? Many ponies believe that after they die, their magic lives on as a star... or part of the sun. They believe that they don't really die completely. And so it goes for the stars that came together to form the constellations, constellations that are very much alive and that step down from the sky to rest and play. Astronomy is such a fascinating field of study! I must get more books on the subject.

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Twilight Sparkle

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