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 Post subject: Atrus' Birthday
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:03 pm 
Believe it or not, despite having about two lines of information on the topic, some implied information from a single chapter of one book, and a few drawings which may not even relate to the topic (though I believe they do, given their location), I have managed, with the aid of a lot of patience and an astronomy program, to calculate the approximate date of Atrus' birthday. That is, the date of his birth. However, since I know you will demand a specific date, have 30th April, 1755. The actual date I calculated is somewhere from 26th April to 2nd March. Based on the facts, I favour 30th April. As for the time, very early in the morning, or even late at night either that day, or the previous. It gets very hard to tell.

Now that I have said that, go ahead and dispute my findings. And make sure you have a copy of BoA on hand, and a decent star chart program.


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 Post subject: Re: Atrus' Birthday
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:11 pm 
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DLordofTime wrote:
...somewhere from 26th April to 2nd March.

Ermm... Would that latter date be 2nd May?

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:32 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:36 am 
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Could you guide us through your logic? I'm interested...

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 4:38 pm 
Yes, sorry. It should be 2nd May. I way just getting ready to go to bed when I realised I needed to post this...

Ok. Logic. From reading through chapter 1 of the BoA, the whole lot occurs on the same day, which, as the narrative informs us, is two days before Atrus' birthday.
The Myst Reader, page 23 wrote:
They, like the kitten, were a treat, to celebrate his seventh birthday in two days' time.

Two paragraphs on is the key piece of information required to track down this most elusive date.
The Myst Reader, page 23 wrote:
He looked past the moon, following a line of stars until he found the belt of the hunter, tracing the shape of the hunter's bow in the night sky as his grandmother had taught him.

This tells us that the moon, and all of Orion were risen on the date in question. Now, in order to be accurate, we need to know what year we are looking at. Well, Atrus was born in 1755 or 1756, as both correspond to D'ni year 9411, the cited form of the year. Also, the time of the observation can be pinpointed approximately. I used the first hour where I could not see the sun, for it says, "As darkness fell."
Now, I will not list the dates that match these loose criteria, but suffice it to say that it stretches from D'ni New Year to about 8th May, then about 19th November up until D'ni New Year, with periods of about 2 weeks when the moon is not visible at the time of viewing. (Note, I gave a leeway of about another hour or so after the sun had set, but this soon became irrelevant).
Now, naturally no-one can get excited over a long list of dates. Therefore, I had to narrow it down somehow. Page 24 of the Myst Reader has two diagrams which are interesting. The first is a plot of the moon's path and Venus. It also gives a 'phase' of the moon: young, which is universally interpreted as the cresent moon after new. The other is an image of the moon passing Praesepe, known as the Beehive Cluster, and is located in Cancer. This one is less useful in narrowing down the range of dates, but marginally more useful for determining a single date.
So, I factored in Venus being above the horizon as the sun sets, and discovered that there are only two sets of dates when it does so, throughout the whole of 9411: A week at the end of April, and a week in mid-late December. Now, in December, the minimum separation of the moon and Orion is about 90 degrees, about what we can see with any clarity, and certainly less than what Atrus would see through the top of the Cleft. This leaves April, where everything neatly comes on the same side of zenith.
However, it's still about a week. But, it's enough to get people excited. Now, on April 28th, the moon is very close to Praesepe, and on 29th, it's passed it completely. This tempts me to say that April 28th is the exact date, though I am very tentative to say that we can actually get an exact date. But, find one we should, for sake of making people happier. This equates to April 30th, with any likelihood, though 1st May is a possibility.
The reason can be found in the prologue.
The Myst Reader, page 9 wrote:
N ow, as the dawn's light slowly crept over the sands to touch the cleftwall twenty feet above, he covered over the young girl's body, his pale cream desert clothes smeared with her blood and with the dark earth of the cleft.

Therefore, Atrus was born either very early in the morning, or very late the previous night. Which means that to decide on when Atrus' birthday is, we must first decide what counts as his birthday, and when it actually was. I am tempted to say that he was born very early 30th April, though if this is to taken as canon fact, some agreement must be made on date and time, for it is very dificult to say with any certainty when in that week he was born, and at what time.


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