Posted by: movieotaku | May 10, 2007

One Planetwide Timezone

Andreas Hartl sent me this one:

My favorite (from ST:VOY, some episode in season 1 or 2):

The crew of the Voyager has to get some samples of a rare and highly needed plant from the surface of a planet. The whole episode no restrictions of where to find this plant were made. Yet as they decide to go down on the planet, Paris makes one proposition: “I recommend to wait until noon; the weather on the planet can be very unpleasant during night”.

Think about this. You are orbiting a planet. The planet is rotating on its axis. Half the planet is in night, and the other half of the planet is in daylight. If you don’t want to land on the planet during the night, you can just land on the side that’s in daylight. Although one could argue that the plant was from a specific area that was in night, but this episode sounds like the infamous “Tuvix” episode. There were no geographical restrictions given for the location of this rare plant.

This is one of the more common source of blunders: writing as though you are trapped on the ground. If you are on the ground, you do typically have to wait for daylight, but in space, daylight is just 180 degrees away.



  1. Was the planet shown in the film? If the surface is covered with water except for one small island or narrow continent oriented north-south, there would be only one time zone relevant for any landing operation. A single small island would leave no doubt where the plant were to be found, too.

  2. If I remember correctly, the planet was your standard lots of land masses and islands.

  3. I think Douglas Adams made a great spoof on this in “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe” when he described Ursa Minor Beta, a planet where it’s always Saturday afternoon, just right before the beach bars close.

    When you’re tired of Ursa Minor Beta, you’re tired of life, baby!

  4. I once made a joke about a character visiting a satellite bar at a Lagrange point, where it’s always Happy Hour. Before leaving, he promised his friends to be back before sunrise…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: