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Found 573 results

  1. *Thundershock*

    Time & Space in the MLP Universe

    Does anypony have an explanation for the way time works in Equestria? There is the annual ceremony known as the "Summer Sun Celebration", where Celestia raises the sun, so with this in mind, we can conclude that if the have seasons, they must have years as well. In the first Equestria Girls movie, Sunset Shimmer said that the portal opened every 30 "moons". Knowing that they have regular daytime and nighttime cycles, should we assume that one of these "moons" that Sunset was referring to is the equivalent to one year? It seems plausible at first, but that would make Sunset at least 30 years old, or 30 moons, so she wouldn't be in Canterlot High. However, we do see Fleur Dis Lee attending CHS, so maybe her human counterpart is also a lot younger than her pony self, but the Mane 6's counterparts are all respectively the same age. Maybe Fleur Dis Lee is just in an odd relationship with Fancy Pants. Perhaps I am viewing this wrong, and one "moon" just symbolizes one full lunar cycle, but if that was the case, Sunset wouldn't have needed to wait so long to steal Twilight's crown, unless of course, she was just waiting for the right time to strike. Here on Earth, the moon is always the moon, no matter what angle it reflects light from, but maybe in Equestria, only a full moon is considered a moon. There are other examples of moons being mentioned as a unit of time, and maybe a moon is a year, and they just have really short seasons. I'm obviously having trouble putting the pieces of this puzzle together, and any theories and/or suggestions would be dearly appreciated. All thoughts and opinions are welcome and are to be respected, so please don't hold back any thoughts that you feel may be valid. You sharing your ideas is the only way we will figure out this broad question! Thank you everypony for your help!
  2. Just wondering, how is cadence related. its says shes celestia's neice, does that mean she's luna's daughter, or is there more royal family out there. if it is luna's daughter then she must be over 1000 years old and shouldn't be married to shining armour
  3. Prologue Years after FIM occurs, unrest begins, Celestia becomes increasingly alkziemerous and Luna vanishes. Cadence is too busy in the Chrystal Empire to help Twilight. Starving, war ridden, and plagued by numerous diseases, the people of Equestria cry out for the Mane six to do something. Thus the revolution began. We are now three thousand years into the war; this is the story of the final battle and the events that followed. Twilight and the mane six (all made alicorns long ago) prepare to launch a final siege against the remnant of Celestia loyalist who refuses to accept the elderly princess's disease. Canterlot castle sits a few miles into the distance, all sorts of unholy creatures protecting it (each for their own equally unholy reasons).In addition a few dozen ponies were guarding it, still foolishly believing in Celestisa's sanity. Twilight begins to speak. :"this is it my friends, the final battle. Either we win, we lose or all of pony kind is destroyed." indeed there were only about 500 ponies left in all the world, even outside Equestria. "Celestia must be taken out and a new government established" Cheers erupted, tired cheers, the cheers of a people with no hope. So the 150 ponies that were strong enough to battle charged canterlot castle and layed siege to it. Twilight was at the front of the action fighting Tirek, who had been recently freed by the forces of Celestia. She swung her sword up and cats a spell, but Tirek was quick and dodged both. He counters with a slash at her neck, barely missing. Twilight retaliated with a quick stab at his stomach and manages to impale the demon, ending him forever. Wiping blood off her sword Twilight Marched on Meanwhile, Fluttershy was in her own battle with a mighty Dragon. She used her power stare to cause it to yield and she slashed its wings off. Grounded, the dragon furiously belched fire that took out many ponies on both sides. Down to 450 ponies left in the world, the ponies were hoping to make this battle as bloodless as possible. Finally fluttershy got the upperhand when the dragon tripped over its own severed wings and she split its skull open with a large thud. Fluttershy began crying at the site of the dead dragon; Spike had been such a good friend before he grew up. The castle gate fell with a giant thud as Rainbow Dash rammed it down with her bare horn. "Good job knocking the gate down, but honestly rainbow, don't knock yourself out!" Advised Rarity "Yeah Yeah, I know" Muttered Rainbow Dash, obviously dizzy from the impact. They quickly took the inside of the castle as there wasn't much left of Celestia's troops, a fact that unnerved the ponies who realized what this meant population wise. 400 ponies left in all the world, many beyond the age of reproduction, many under, and many of the rest critically injured or suffering from PTSD. They found Celestia in the throne room, a changeling whispering terrible advice into the alkzeimerous princess's ear. Celestia looked up at her former pupils (for only the mane 6 entered" and began yelling nonsense. "Ah, the bakers have arrived! Bring me my Cake" the changeling whispered into her ear again. "Oh, traitors!" then leaped at the mane 6, shooting feeble blasts of magic. Celestia died quickly and painlessly at Apple Jack's horn. But the Changeling was tortured slowly over the next few years until it died from despair as the mane 6's soldiers questioned it. The day after the successful attack, what few ponies remained threw a funeral in honor of Celestia's memory. There were many tears, and fluttershy was found later the same day hanging from her neck in the castle garden. An investigation concluded it was suicide, which was common for several days after the attack. Many had had to slay their own family, and no one blamed those too weak to live on. All in all there were 300 ponies left when the last of the after-shock battles and suicides ended. Less than 50 left who could reproduce. One week later a summit was held to establish a new government. It was anonymously agreed that Twilight and the main 5 would be the new leaders. Immortality was taken away from the Alicorns, however, in order to assure that something like this would never happen again. Every 1000 years new members would be democratically elected, then the magic keeping the current leaders would wear off, and they would die. In honor of Twilight's old role as princess of friendship, the new government was named the Holy Council of Friendship and the laws of the land were based around the lessons the mane 6 (now mane 5) had learned during the events of FIM. Thus peace and prosperity was returned to Equestria.,,, for now. The end please tell me what you think.
  4. As much as everyone appears to hate this eventuality, it appears to be the only one that makes sense in twilights new "castle of friendship" where everyone has a seat - if everyone is immortal then you have a far less chance of traumatizing children when those "mane 5" eventually grow old and die. That and luna and celestia can go elsewhere or go have a party on the moon or something.
  5. ok so this has bugged me for some time now (sorry for the slew of topics I just had one of those bursts of questions) If we are to look at the kingdoms out there, a LOT of what we see in the interiors of these castles does not seem to match the outside. for one the interiors have too many windows. In the center of twilights castle there are windows all around but looking on the outside there does not seem to be a place that reflects that. In celestias castle there are many many halls with barrel vault ceilings and columns upon columns of either windows or stained glass - also not reflected on the outside of the castle. Cadences castle is harder to tell as it's so square.. this one might actually be ok. The castle of the 2 sisters - the original castle doesn't even match the second one they show, and it's got some inconsistencies with the one shown in the journal of the 2 sisters as well. ----- as an architect graduate this drives me nuts. If one were to do a 3d rendering of these castles how would they map out the rooms? I'd love to see a layout that shows me "oh ok they are in THIS part of the castle now" instead of just having random rooms and you never know what part of the castle they are in. What do you guys think? Are there architectural plans for these castles or is everything just drawn up when say, a new convenient room is needed?
  6. young discord baby sitting the two sisters, telling them a little bed time story~
  7. Flailing Dinosaurs

    Foal Celestia

    Herp derp. This is why I should never be allowed near the internet XD I make cute things... or really grisly things. One or the other. Good thing I'm in a great mood. Enjoy your Foal!Celestia. EDIT: Lemme clear a few things up hurr XD My style demands that I give everything realistic proportions, which is extremly hard to defy sometimes, so that's why she's a bit strange looking. But this is my style! I'm not trying to use the actual show style, I'm using mine! Her mane is kind of a pain to color, so most times, I just use this base pinkish color. A lot of other artists use this too, because we're lazy XD I'm not asking for a critique on this pic at all, this was just something I doodled in my spare time.
  8. Before anyone whines that Twilight isn't here, she's in the Mane Six Edition: http://shadobabe.deviantart.com/art/My-Little-Ice-Cream-560003315 Anyway, yes, more MLP Ice Creams!! Such a fun little project. This time it's the three senior princesses; Princess (Best Pony) Celestia, Princess Luna, and Princess Cadence. Let me know how you like it!! Next time I think I'll draw the villains' ice creams.
  9. Honeslty i think Celestia . We seen she can rule alone for 1 thousand years . And as far as we know they were peaceful if Celestia isn't the best fit to be rule. Really who is? Twilight wouldn't be soo bad but i wouldn't trust her completely yet... Would they really let Luna rule alone after what she tried to do? I get she was nightmare moon when that happen but without Celestia who knows what she would do. I wouldn't trust her. Cadence i guess could rule but she might not be capable of lowering the sun and moon but that could also be for twilight but who knows . We haven't Yet to see that the others could. (not including when Twilight had Celestia and Luna magic.
  10. Crecious

    Work in Progress!

    I'd like to share a piece I'm working on right now, it should be done tomorrow along with a commission I had gotten.
  11. So princess luna keeps the darkness at bay and protects the dreams of ponies, mainly children, while also raising and lowering the moon, and does diplomatic princessy type things Princess celestia raises and lowers the sun and does princessy type things. What ELSE does princess celestia do? Does she have special powers like luna does with the darkness? Or is she just an unusually tall pony that likes bananas and sends people to the moon..
  12. Kitty Cat Moonshire

    What is it with Celestia and Bananas?

    Why is Celestia always depicted (in fan made content) with banana's, and Luna (best pony ever) with a juicebox? I know it's a fan made thing, but how did that start? It's bugging my subconscious. EDIT: Oh, and if you're thinking of making a "that's what she said" joke or whatever, grow up.
  13. and are her mane 5 friends destined to age and die and leave her with only cadence, luna, and celestia? furthermore, will that mean that shining armor is also doomed to the same fate? Are we led to believe that only alicorns live forever, and everyone else has a regular age shelf life - as evidenced by granny smith apple?
  14. I am sure this has been discussed to death.. but if we look at when she was banished and when she returned, it was as if time literally STOPPED for her for the past 1000 years - like she was simply paused and when she returned she went right back to doing exactly what she did the moment she was banished. Celestia seemed to sense the one thing she would try to do is eliminate her and so she appeared to hide. Does this mean that nightmare moon assumes celestia is gone and seeks to rule in her stead? Or without the elements of harmony was luna able to detain her and then go after what was rightfully hers? The story doesn't really fully explain this.. what are your thoughts?
  15. This just occurred to me - in the episode where the sun and the moon are both in the sky - the moon clearly was casting night, blocking the sun from that side, when in our world, the brightness of the sun would simply have covered up the darkness around the moon. WHAT DOES THIS MEEEEAN. And I know the answer is probably just "it's a children's show, it doesn't have to make sense" - but I like to have interesting discussions
  16. Baity

    Celestia

    I'm back >:3 third time now, ya? Time for our dear princess, Celestia, to shine here~ I actually wanted to try the long nose that most of the princesses have, so yeh, I think i've done a hipster Celestia :v But anyways, I hope you guys like it :comeatus:
  17. So, with scaremaster shown, we know that the nightmare star image wasn't just a costume for halloween. That ticks off one more way for them to logically fit in Nightmare star into this season, with it looking like the finale is the only logical place left for her to show up. Do you think Nightmare star is actually going to occur in the show, or do you think the Trading card game is now making cards that aren't canon and just based on stuff fans talk about? And if you think nightmare star is still going to happen, do you think it'll be in the finale then? How big do you think nightmare star will be as an event when it occurs? (S4 finale big in changing status quo and changing things even, or back to normal at the end)
  18. Would you hug Celestia with fear or without fear? She requests a hug.... she likes being hugged by humans. (this version of her anyway) Would be too fearful to give her a hug. Since she's one of the leading ponies of Equestria? And the fandom make her often very overpowered... she could kill you in a blink of an eye if she wanted to if she was as powerful as in some fan fictions. Or would you have no fear at all hugging her?
  19. Princess Karlotta

    Twilight and Celestia

    Hey guys! Made another image, laid a foundation with watercolors and went over it in photoshop. I wanted to capture the godlike aspects of Princess Celestia, and also I love drawing wings!
  20. I've been always been wondering to myself about this. How come Princess Celestia is the most hated/disliked/disregarded character of the show while her sister, Princess Luna gets the most attention or the most love? What's with Molestia, Trollestia, and Tyrantlestia. Not to mention, why the Solar Empire vs the New Lunar Republic. This has been boggling my mind for some months now. Anyone have a good reason why Luna is more better than Celestia? Celestia is a good character, don't see as a boring character at all.
  21. NomadSpellbrush

    Tia, Woona, and Cadence in Onesies

    three young princess in onesies having a sleepover. http://spellboundcanvas.deviantart.com/art/The-Royal-Sleepover-554359549
  22. <Twilight Sparkle> Good evening, everypony! I'm Twilight Sparkle, and I'm going to clear up some confusion on what Celestia and Luna do to "Raise" the Sun and the Moon, based off of what I know from my studies. First off, I've seen some crazy ideas about Celestia and Luna running some big conspiracy... (Ha ha. Verrrrry funny... ) Well, Terra (Not Earth. That's your planet) does spin on it's axis to make day and night. Celestia and Luna don't literally spin the Sun and the Moon around Terra, that would take ridiculous amounts of power! But they do keep the sun and moon rising every day. It doesn't make much sense at the surface... But, allow me to explain a few things. Tidal Braking: First, a moon's gravity causes a tidal bulge in a planet's oceans, and a tiny bit in the land, too. But because the planet spins, that tidal bulge is moved away from the moon, but the moon pulls back on that tidal bulge with it's gravity. So this happens: This is what happens with your Earth and Moon. But our Moon is a little different... It orbits in the opposite direction as Terra spins. See, your moon is in a prograde orbit, mine is in a retrograde orbit. Uhm. I need to explain orbits, don't I? An orbit is when a body falls towards another, but it's going so fast sideways, it misses, but as it flies away, it's pulled back, and it misses again. Your moon is pulled forward, as it goes faster it misses your Earth more and more, so it goes farther away. Our moon is pulled backward, so it's slowed down, and it gets closer to our planet. Or it would, if it wasn't for Princess Luna. Our moon is also in a highly elliptical orbit Normally it's so far out that Tidal Braking doesn't do much. But periodically it swings in close, and when it does, Princess Luna gives it a little boost. If Princess Luna didn't push on it, then in just a few thousand years, it would break apart, and later after that, come crashing down on Terra! The Moon also slows Terra's spin just a little bit every year - just enough to make the day a little less than a second longer. Not much, I know, and honestly it wouldn't make much of a difference if Celestia didn't speed it up again... But this isn't how Celestia "raises the Sun". This is just how Luna keeps the Moon in orbit. And so there you have it, Luna "raises the Moon" we say, by keeping it from falling out of the sky! Which would end all life in the world... How Celestia "raises the sun" is quiet different... Here's what your inner star system looks like: Highlighted in red is Jupiter's orbit. It doesn't get very close to Earth... Now, uhh, this isn't to scale, but it shows how the gas giant planet in our solar system is in an elliptical orbit: (Uhm. It's not very good but you get the idea... ) Remember how the tides on your world pull your moon along, causing it to drift out slowly? Zeus, the gas giant here, pulls Terra along, or pulls it back, depending on where the two planets are in their orbit. But no matter what, left by itself, in just a few dozen years, our world would either crash into the sun, be launched into a craaazy orbit that we couldn't survive, or launched into eternal night by Zeus' gravity, because it swings in so much closer to Terra, than Jupiter does to Earth. It's important to note, that it wouldn't happen instantly. Each time Zeus swings by, it would change Terra's orbit only a little bit, and each time it swings by again, it would change it more and more, until finally either launching Terra into the sun, into a stable, but unsurvivable orbit (like really close to the sun), or into interstellar space and eternal night. Every year, at the Summer Sun Celebration, Celestia has a power surge. That's what I had when I earned my cutie mark: Except, unlike me as a filly, she can control it, and she uses her immense power to give Terra a little push back into it's normal orbit. So because of her, the sun rises and sets every day. Without her, in only a few decades the sun would either become a tiny star, and the world would fall into eternal night, or the sun wouldn't set, and would burn the whole world. And that's how Celestia "raises the sun". And so there you have it! The Truth! See, a little filly wouldn't be able to understand all that. Even lots of grown-up stallions and mares don't get it, so, often it's just simplified to: "They raise the sun and the moon". Any questions? [image credits: hot coco / Sarcastic Very Funny / Only One Second / bad drawing / The Truth / Any Questions?]
  23. Sorry for it being extremely late. Im so sorry. ;( -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Princess Twilight's Dark Secret [Part 9] ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I walked down the halls of the Canterlot Castle.. With the merged crowns of Celestia and Luna on my head. Including mine which is of a necklace, I bear on my chest the beginning, On on my head. The present and future of equestria. I was queen, the true ruler. I have the throne. Its my rule from now on. As i leave through the main doors of the Canterlot Castle, the frightened and enslaved ponies bow down to by dark presence and the dark figure before them. Me, there true and unmerciful ruler. The true one to fear. I enter a chariot that was positioned perfectly symmetrical to the door as requested and had left for Ponyville, the pegasi as fast as the wind itself, more faster than Rainbow Dash could ever accomplish. One of my servants looked at me with a fright but concern. This servant in the chariot with me was not mind controlled. But surrendered and given himself up. As the stallion was looking at me, i was looking at the scenery that i had rule over and was free to do with it as i please. The servant looked at me and said. Servant Soar: " My queen, With your new rule. What will you be accomplishing?, And why are we going to Ponyville?" Queen Twilight: "Well, i have unfinished business here and i have some stuff i wish to announce to the Mayor of the Town. She needs to be put in place, along with the ponies there who are unaware of the take over. They need to know who is the Predator and the Prey." Servant Soar: "Ohh ok. And thank you for not mind controlling me like the others" Queen Twilight: "Shut up, i wasn't being kind. Its being considerate and giving mercy to the weak. You did the right thing and surrendered." Servant Soar: "Ohh, And what happened to Celestia and Luna, where are they" Queen Twilight: "You ask a lot of questions, but i guess that keeps me sane. Well, Celestia is dead and Luna is in the Dungeons. Is that all the questions" The servant nodded and kept quiet till the journey was over, the guards from Canterlot were already in Ponyville as requested and are keeping guard and gathering every single pony in ponyville to the Town Hall, Along with the Mane 6 and the Mayor. All the ponies knew of something terrible and bad was happening to Equestria, but never knew of what happened to Celestia and Luna, and what happened to the Crystal Empire and Canterlot. All they knew of something terrible was happening to Equestria. The ponies in Ponyville looked at the chariot, hoping it was Celestia or Luna to tell of the news on what is happening to Equestria. But they were in for a surprise. I opened the chariot door. Showing my dark flowing mane like Sombra's, My armour made of a Dark Blue that i took away from Luna, my purple fur and my dark green and red eyes. With the two merged crowns of Celestia and Luna, With my necklace. The ponies gasped in horror including my former friends. They knew it was me. They see it was me. Queen Twilight: "I have defeated Celestia and Luna, and the Crystal Empire's princess is defeated also. Bow down to your Queen. I Queen Twilight Sparkle order you to submit to me. Or die!!" Rainbow Dash: "Twilight!!, This is where you have been. You have betrayed us and Equestria. Why!!" Rarity: "Why have you done this. Was this our doing. Why" All other of my friends were silent. Pinkie Pie was crying, Applejack was frozen stiff and Fluttershy holding onto Rainbow Dash for her life. Id look at them all a mess, seeing that even me can stoop to darkness. Id walk up to Mayor Mare and look at her in the eye. She bows and knows that she is no longer needed as the leader of Ponyville. They all look at me and bow. Giving in and showing that thay are trusted to not betray me. Queen Twilight: "My loyal subjects, I have a few new rules to you all. 1: You cannot enter Canterlot until you get a residence pass. 2: All signs of betraying or any suspicious activity ponies will be given the death penalty. 3: Use of dark magic is forbidden to all who use it. Only i and King Sombra are the only ones allowed to use the dark arts, All who do so will be killed and used as food for my demon" Id summon my level 10 demon. They all run and scream. Demon: "What do you require my Queen." Queen Twilight: "Kill them all. Ive changed my mind. I want none of them alive" Demon: "Including the Elements Of Harmony" Queen Twilight: "Indeed, get rid of them all. I have no need of them" I'd walk back to my chariot and on my way to Canterlot. Leaving the demon to finish the mess i was introduced to by Celestia and Luna. Leaving my old friends to die losing all ties to who i was. And being reborn into true darkness. What most never dream to accomplish. Queen Twilight: "I have won. And i shall rule for eternity". --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I hope you enjoyed the fanfic that i had created a few months ago. But this is the end. I am sorry again for it being late but that was due to me leaving MLPF. I apologise for anything i have caused you all and i am sorry that you had to wait for so long. I hope i can write another great fanfic soon. And the next one isn't going to be about King SOmbra, it is getting pretty hard not getting repetitive with the story lines. Have a great day -Burning Dusk (MLP Forums User & World Of Equestria User)
  24. Bear (bare?) with me here. This might not be as long or thoughtful as most of my threads, but i have been thinking (thats like my trademark entrance line now)... How in Tarturus is Equestria not engulfed in flame by now? The 1000 years after Luna's banishment must have been carebear land if Celestia didn't screw it up. She has told Twilight to follow so many horribly concieved instructions. Thank God Twilight knows when to buck command or else Equestria would be taken over by Tirek, Sombra would have the Crystal Empire, etc. I mean just... My logical brain cannot process such faff. Why does she do these things? How is she such a great ruler otherwise? ????????
  25. Apologies for the missing equations, I am trying to figure out how to post the actual document itself. My Little Planet: Entropy is Tragic Volume One: The Celestial Mechanics of Equestria Introduction I was first introduced to the pony show by a couple of friends of mine who had three little boys and a girl; the whole family loved the show. Now, this was early 2013 so I am a bit of a latecomer to the… um, herd. My own daughter loved the show (and books, and toys), and I shamelessly used her as an excuse to watch it as well. At first, I resisted participating in the fandom, but now that I’ve written an Equestrian orbital physics paper, I guess there’s no turning back. I will start off this (very informal, plain-language) paper by briefly addressing a glaring issue from the show that caused me great mental distress, then explore the original pre-magic state of the Equestrian planetary arrangement, and wrap up by describing the magical process that changed everything and made life on our characters’ home planet possible. But first, a few side notes. Perspective and Giants’ Shoulders Science is not the only thing which fascinates me, about the show or in general. But there is a sprawling megapolis of pony fandom out there already analyzing every last drop out of this show in terms of characterization, narrative, world-building and theming. There may come a day when I can scrape together enough original thought on those subjects to add something worthwhile to the ponysphere, but for now this is where I think I can best contribute. I do really enjoy story-crafting, however, and I haven’t been this into a story since The Lion King. I have read exactly one other work on the physics of the ponyverse, so it gets cited right up front. Check out “How Celestia and Luna "Raise" the Sun and Moon” by Comet Tail on the MLPForum[1]. Comet Tail and I approach the idea of Equestrian orbital mechanics from two different directions, I focus on tidal locking and Comet Tail on retrograde and erratic orbits, a concept I really enjoyed. Last side note: I don’t consider any of this to be head canon. I think there is a difference between the extrapolation of concepts which the canon story directly implies—and even the analysis of those implications—versus real head canon, which implies the introduction of at least some new material into the story, characters, or world. Now don’t get me wrong, I likes me some head canons. I’m just going to limit the content of this paper to those things I consider direct extrapolation from the show’s story material, and straightforward analysis of that, and save the head canon for another edition. The Curious Case of the Backward Moon For all my enjoyment of the story, characters and world of Equestria, and even the scientific and philosophical implications of the world, I probably would never have committed any serious effort to exploring the subject of this paper if not for one blatant violation of sensible orbital mechanics which drove me crazy. And drove me to research. From the first moment I heard that Celestia raises and lowers the sun and Luna the moon, what my brain heard was that Celestia rotates the planet and Luna revolves the moon. Not everyone made this assumption and there are plenty of geocentric model fans out there in the ponysphere, but that is what happened in my head. This assumption stood unchallenged until the ending of the season four two-part premier, where during the Summer Sun Celebration, Princess Luna lowers the moon for all to see, and then Princess Celestia raises the sun in the same part of the sky. It was as if the moon and sun had simply swapped places with each other, with no explanation. This happens a few other times in the show, but always as a cartoony effect easily dismissed as just a fun way to move the story (also, because Discord). But in S04 E02 it is a conscious act draped in a formal ceremony. So, the sun and the moon move across the sky in opposite directions? What does that even mean? After some thought, I decided that this was either the single best geocentric argument in the whole show, or a special event that isn’t representative of a normal day in Equestria. Most of the time, a planet and moon both revolve and rotate in the same direction as the rotation of the star around which they orbit, all either clockwise or counterclockwise depending on if this is being viewed from the system’s ‘north’ or ‘south’. This is called prograde motion; when a body rotates or orbits in the opposite direction it is called retrograde motion. While retrograde orbit moons are present even in our own solar system, this phenomenon would not begin to explain a moon that appears to travel in the opposite direction across the sky as does the parent star from the viewpoint of the planet’s surface. This called apparent retrograde, and it is very different. Regardless of direction, a spinning body tends to rotate significantly faster than anything orbiting it revolves. Take our own planet and moon for example. Earth ‘spins’ or rotates in exactly one day (that is the definition of a day, after all). The moon orbits Earth in about 29.5 of these days, so either way it revolves, prograde or retrograde, it will still appear to travel east-to-west across the sky, because that’s how everything that slow appears to move due to planetary rotation. So what would have to be going on for a west-to-east moving… anything? Anything orbiting retrograde in respect to the direction of rotation of the orbited body will always appear to travel east-to-west, and anything orbiting at all at a lower angular velocity (fewer degrees per unit of time) will also appear to travel east-to-west. Only something orbiting in the prograde direction with a greater angular velocity than the rotation of the orbited body will appear to travel west-to-east. Around Earth, only artificial satellites do this. One simple reason for this is escape velocity. The further away you get from a gravity source, the less linear velocity (rate of motion through space) is required to escape its gravity well. A prograde orbiting body at geosynchronous-plus angular velocity at a distance (orbital radius) typical of moons would simply fly away into space. Or, more likely, into the nearest star. Here’s an example. The equation for escape velocity (which is a misnomer, it should just be ‘escape speed’, because any direction that doesn’t cause a collision will result in escape) is: Where G is the Universal Gravitational Constant of 6.67 x 10-11 m3 kg-1 s-2 M is the mass of the body being escaped in kilograms and r is the radius, or distance separating the two, measured center-to-center in meters. The average distance from the center of Earth to the moon is 384,399 km. At this radius, the moon’s orbit traces an ellipse 2.415250 x 109 m in circumference (2πr), or about 1.5 million miles. At exactly geosynchronous orbit, or an angular velocity of 15° per hour (360° per 24 hours), this works out to be a tangential (linear) velocity of 27,954 m/s ((2.348949 x 109 meters traversed) / (86,400 seconds in one day)), which is over 62,000 mph. The escape velocity at that same radius from Earth, a mass of 5.97219 x 1024 kg, is 1,439 m/s, or about 3,200 mph. So just to maintain position in the sky, the moon would have to exceed its planetary escape velocity by over 19 times. To actually move from west to east, it would need to go faster still. While the home planet and moon of Equestria do not need to be exact copies of Earth and its moon for the story world to work, the magnitude of impossibility involved here leads me to the conclusion that the show writers never intended to imply that Luna (or Celestia, for the millennium prior to episode 1) causes the moon to cross the sky in a west-to-east direction, even with telekinetic magic. Yet this is exactly what seems to occur in the season 4 premier, part two. My conclusion is that due to the chaos unleashed by the Plunder Seed vines’ entrapment of Celestia and Luna and their attack on the Tree of Harmony, the planet and moon of Equestria were left in very unusual positions relative to each other and their star. After all, directly after Celestia and Luna’s abduction, both the sun and moon were left hanging together in the sky, causing panic among the populace, and justifiably so. In this scenario Luna simply backed the moon down from its crazy position towards something more normal, followed by Celestia’s moving the planet back to its regularly scheduled rotation. Even this scenario involves Luna temporarily revolving the moon prograde at an insane velocity without shooting it across space like a severed tether ball, but temporary is better than routine. Either this, or the ponyverse really is geocentric. Also, the writers probably just didn’t care, and my daughter wasn’t bothered in the slightest. And then I gave Hasbro some money for a toy for her, so I guess they win. Formless and Void The show’s world building has on more than one occasion implied that without magic, life on Equestria[2] would be difficult or completely impossible. I’ve already mentioned how extremely powerful magic is required to properly rotate the planet and revolve the moon. Both of these things are crucial for planetary life to thrive. The mortal and even non-magical residents of Equestria also seem to have a part to play, as evidenced by such episodes as Winter Wrap-up, Hearth’s Warming Eve and Hurricane Fluttershy. Magic or else considerable effort is necessary or at least really helpful in seasonal procession, cloud creation, and even animal migration and hibernation. To describe what Equestria might have been like prior to the influence of magic, I need to explain two concepts: entropy and tidal locking. Entropy is essentially disorder, with a certain sense of inevitability. When a system is highly organized and complex, it is said to have very low entropy. A brass watch is complex and organized, so it has low entropy, while that same amount of brass melted and re-solidified as a nugget has higher entropy, because it is simple and disorganized. The second law of thermodynamics teaches us that the overall entropy of a system always increases when left to spontaneous (naturally occurring) forces. By investing organized effort, a system can undergo a local and/or temporary decrease in entropy (increase in order), but only at the cost of enough expended useful energy that the overall effect of a larger system is an increase in entropy. The same holds true at the scale of a planet or star system; entropy increases over time. Rotations slow down, satellites either escape or fall into their planets or stars, and ultimately, the star itself dies in one of a number of ways. Of course, the law of entropy does not take into account magic, but more on that in a moment. The second concept, tidal locking is a result of tidal bulging and braking, the subject of some discussion in the piece by Comet Tail which I referenced earlier. As a moon rotates and revolves it tends to flatten a bit due to the gravity of its planet (provided its planes of rotation and revolution are sufficiently aligned). Like any other macroscopic physical object, moons do not have uniform density, so different longitudinal cross-sections will present more or less mass than its average density would present, so this flattening is likewise not uniform. The cross-section that is flattened the most is referred to as the major axis, or simply the ‘bulge’. Once a tidal bulge emerges, it begins to alter the angular velocity of the rotating moon. As the rotation swings the major axis closer and closer into alignment with the planet’s gravitational pull, the angular velocity increases slightly, in a way falling into place. As the inertia of the moon’s rotation then begins to pull the major axis out of alignment, the angular velocity decreases, now fighting gravitational drag. This effect is referred to as ‘tidal braking’. The cumulative effect of repeated tidal braking is that the moon favors its major axis more and more, which in turn increases the severity of the bulge more and more. Eventually, the planet’s pull on the major axis is actually stronger than the force of rotational inertia, and the moon slips into a rotation period equal to its revolution period, thereby ‘tidally locking’ onto its planet. In this arrangement the same hemisphere of the moon is permanently facing the planet as in the case of our own moon. Before a moon has tidally locked to its planet (or a planet to its star), it is possible to roughly[3] approximate the time until it does so with the formula: Where w is the rotation rate (in radians per second) of the satellite a is the average of the perigee and apogee of the satellite’s orbit (in meters) I is the satellite’s moment of inertia (in square meter kilograms), which can be estimated as (0.4)(ms)(R2) Q is the dissipation function of the satellite (no units), which can be estimated as 100 G is the Universal Gravitational Constant mp is the mass of the orbited body (in kilograms) k2 is the tidal Love number of the satellite (no units), which can be estimated as much less than 1 (typically around 0.1 for a mostly solid satellite) R is the average radius of the satellite (in meters) and ms (from the description of I) is the mass of the satellite (in kilograms). Examples of tidal locking are all over our solar system. Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune all have moons tidally locked to them, and Pluto and its satellite Charon are tidally locked to each other. What does this have to do with Equestria? Well, hopefully it’s clear that these two concepts are related. Tidal bulging, braking and locking are all examples of the unstoppable march of entropy on a lunar and planetary scale. As time goes on, orbital mechanics slip from complex arrangements into straightforward ones, which are sadly ineffective at supporting life. A tidally locked moon is not unusual, but an otherwise M-class planet tidally locked to its star would be completely uninhabitable, a blistering super-desert on the sun-ward hemisphere and frozen perpetual night on the other. This is the cataclysm that Celestia and Luna guard their subjects from, absolute extinction across the entire planet. Let There be Magic There isn’t too much detail I can offer as to exactly how the alicorns would have gone about decreasing entropy and resetting the required rotations and revolutions without getting into head canon territory, which I pledged not to do in this volume. But here’s what I have: According to what I perceive the story has told us about its world, this was the original, no-magic state of the Equestrian solar system. A planet locked onto its star, unable to rotate beyond its revolution around the star, unable to support life. A moon not only locked onto its planet Earth-style, but also tidally ‘pinned’ in place between the planet and the star, its revolution in sync with the planet’s revolution. This moon would appear to hover directly above the planet’s surface at exactly the sun-ward pole, casting an unmoving solar eclipse shadow on the surface of the planet’s desert side, creating a small area of shade, assuming a roughly Earth-like size-and-distance arrangement. Solar magic is required to rotate the planet any faster than its one day per year rate, and lunar magic to revolve the moon any faster than its one month per year rate. It seems most likely that once the alicorns (whoever they were and wherever they came from) decided to revive Equestria’s ability to sustain life (for whatever reasons), they would have first begun to accelerate the rotation of the planet, as this is absolutely necessary and the change requiring the most energy. But there’s a problem. The moon is locked on to the planet’s tidal bulge axis too strongly. As the alicorns accelerate the rotation of the planet, the moon tries to match angular velocity to maintain its position relative to the planet’s surface. But the star’s gravity pulls it back, threatening to tear the satellite apart. So the alicorns would then have to exert magical force to slow down the moon’s revolution as the planet continued to spin faster and faster. The moon’s orbit would still be accelerating (from one per year to the order of 101), just not as rapidly or as high as the acceleration of the planet’s rotation (from one per year to the order of 102). With the planet now rotating hundreds of times per revolution and the moon now revolving tens of times in the same time period, key changes begin to happen. The hemisphere-spanning super glacier begins to melt, evaporate, and partially refreeze in a daily cycle, causing intense flooding and erosion. The desert cools and gigantic storm fronts race around the globe as the planet’s rotation and cycles of heating and cooling the atmosphere rapidly change temperature and pressure. The revolving moon now pushes and pulls the emerging liquid water in a tidal bulging sequence of its own, beginning to delineate land from sea. Assuming the planet has the internal structure of one at all capable of sustaining familiar life, the now spinning core begins to assert a discernable geomagnetic field and trap energetic particles into its magnetosphere and plasmasphere. This provides an increasingly strong shield against dangerous particles and electromagnetic radiation from space, restoring some habitability to the planet. After these and many other effects have emerged and stabilized, two last pieces of the puzzle remain, neither of which is assigned a patron alicorn in the show like Celestia and Luna. The first of these is planetary tilt. At full planetary tidal lock, there would be no rotational tilt, no angle separating the planes of planetary rotation and revolution. But tilt is required for seasonal procession, and Equestria definitely has seasons. The final element of a restored living planet is of course biological life. How the various life forms were created or restored must remain purely in the realm of head cannon, however. All we know is that on Equestria all of ponykind, and perhaps other sentient species are active participants in the march of time. Seasons, weather and the life cycles of other forms of life are enabled and guided by mortal hooves. Well, there you have it. I hope you’ve enjoyed my paper and that whatever amount of time you just spent reading it was not wasted. I would (probably) enjoy your comments and questions. Next: Devolution, Natural Selection and Immortality Soon: Talent, Choice and Cute Marks of Destiny Later: Twilight and the Divine Harmony About the Author The author is currently serving as a Senior Scientific and Technical Analyst at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center in Dayton, Ohio. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Malone University in Canton, Ohio as well as Associate of Applied Sciences degrees in Intelligence Studies & Technology and in Scientific Applications Technology. He and his wife live in the Dayton area with their daughter, who loves the ponies, especially as toys gathered around a play tea set. [1] http://mlpforums.com/topic/27530-how-celestia-and-luna-raise-the-sun-and-moon/ [2] For the rest of this paper, rather than invent a name for the planet, I will refer to both the realm ruled by Celestia as well as the actual planet which hosts that realm as “Equestria”. Which is meant should remain clear in context. [3] No, really, it’s pretty rough: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tidally_locked#Timescale