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Old 07-26-2014, 08:51 PM   #17
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Astronomy

I did some work on the subject, not all of which got into GURPS Low-Tech Companion 1. I initially tried modeling astronomical telescopes as devices that let you see things with a really huge range modifier and a large size modifier. But that really didn't work very well; at astronomical ranges too many of the objects we want to observe approximate geometrical points.

What a telescope seems to be in astronomy, more than any thing else, is a very impressive light-gathering device, one that offsets low-light penalties that are worse than -9 (and that for a human eye would be treated as -10, i.e., no light).

The important applications of astronomy are horological and chronometrical, at least until very recently. A big medieval focus was predicting the proper date for Easter. If you want to know when the next solar eclipse will occur, so that you can break a curse, see an astronomer; they've been doing it since TL1.

Bill Stoddard
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