Extreme nights (IP)
The night is long, three months* so dark,
so cold, no air to fire a spark,
though million stars shine sharp and bright
undulled by artificial light;
no gaseous blanket to retain
the daytime’s heat cannot remain.
I could not stay in light of ‘day’
– the heat would sear, I’d melt away,
nor yet survive twelve weeks alive
until the end of Mercury’s night,
when sun returns with scorching light.
And there, far out, with poisonous ‘air’
and frigid, swirling surface, where
the many moons pass by, there’s night
for 40** years, what deadly plight
if on Uranus’ pole you’d spin,
for when the dawn at last begin
there is but little more of light –
the sun a star just fairly bright.
But in our polar regions here
for weeks no daylight will appear,
from sunset ’til the next sunrise
will pale the stars and blue the skies
give warmth for plants to grow with speed,
producing quickly flower and seed:
the night was cold, but good, sweet air –
life can survive that darkness there.
(months, weeks, years above refer to earth-months etc)
(IP 17.01.14 Long dark nights)
*Mercury’s orbit of the Sun lasts 88 earth-days. Mercury takes 59 earth-days to complete the turn on its axis, but as seen from the Sun, it appears to rotate only once every two Mercurian years. Therefore it is night-time for 88 earth-days.
**Uranus takes 17.9 hours to turn once on its own axis, but orbits the Sun lying on its side. It takes 84 earth-years to complete one orbit. Each pole gets around 42 earth-years of continuous sunlight, followed by 42 earth-years of darkness.
Hope I’ve got the science right. Takes some sorting! Rh