Names of the months

Submitted by mossy2100 on Tue, 04/25/2017 - 00:39

The names of the months in the Utopian Calendar is one of the only ways that it differs from the Darian Calendar.

When I was designing the calendar, I liked Tom’s idea of using constellations, and of using western and eastern names in order to provide cultural balance. The names he uses are good, but I felt that this approach didn’t really solve the issue of cultural bias effectively. Chinese astronomical tradition, for instance, isn’t represented in this scheme.

I felt that, since this is a modern scientific calendar, the modern scientific names of the constellations should be used. However, because there are only 13 zodiacal constellations and the calendar requires 24 month names, I decided that the names of any of the 88 modern constellations could be used. Instead of the 12 Sanskrit constellations used in the Darian Calendar, I looked for 12 others. First, I added Ophiuchus, the 13th zodiacal constellation. Then I discovered that there are 11 constellations with stars brighter than the brightest star in the zodiacal constellations (Aldebaran, in Taurus). This made a total of 24 names, which fit perfectly.

These names appeared in an earlier version of this calendar, called the Kepler Calendar, which I published in the year 2000, and they are still being used by some websites and apps. However, they are not the names presented here. When I reviewed the calendar recently, I wasn’t happy with these month names, as some of these were really boring constellations. Also, it seemed to be a problem to have months with two-word names like “Canis Major” and “Canis Minor”.

Inspired by the 12 animal signs used in Chinese astrology (rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig), I reviewed the list of 88 constellation names and selected 24 constellations that represent animals or mythical beasts. To shorten the list, I excluded the zodiacal constellations (which I use in the Lunan Calendar), constellations with two-word names, and any that represent people or objects.

The result is that each month not only has its own constellation, but also its own animal sign. Animal symbolism has played a part in Terran cultures throughout time, and continues to do so today, in logos, sports teams, and many other contexts. It’s my opinion that, while this is perhaps a less scientific approach, it’s more creative, fun, and colourful. Surely, this is at least part of the reason why so many people have an interest in their astrological and Chinese signs, despite there being no scientific basis for the characteristics ascribed to them. I also believe that this naming system will introduce people to many constellations other than those of the traditional zodiac.

Note, the names of months and sols of the week are not the important part of the calendar; the mathematics is. Some Martians may use the names from the Darian Calendar, some may use these names, some may make up new ones.

The names have been ordered by right ascension of the constellations. It is apt that the mir, and thus the northern spring, begin with the month of Phoenix, a creature that symbolises cyclical rebirth.

Names of months, associated animals and creatures, and abbreviations.
No. Name Creature Abbreviation
1 Phoenix Phoenix Phe
2 Cetus Whale Cet
3 Dorado Dolphinfish Dor
4 Lepus Hare Lep
5 Columba Dove Col
6 Monoceros Unicorn Mon
7 Volans Flying fish Vol
8 Lynx Lynx Lyn
9 Camelopardalis Giraffe Cam
10 Chamaeleon Chameleon Cha
11 Hydra Sea serpent Hya
12 Corvus Raven Crv
13 Centaurus Centaur Cen
14 Draco Dragon Dra
15 Lupus Wolf Lup
16 Apus Bird of paradise Aps
17 Pavo Peacock Pav
18 Aquila Eagle Aql
19 Vulpecula Fox Vul
20 Cygnus Swan Cyg
21 Delphinus Dolphin Del
22 Grus Crane Gru
23 Pegasus Pegasus Peg
24 Tucana Toucan Tuc

The standard IAU three-letter abbreviation for each constellation is used as the abbreviation for each month name. Although these abbreviations often match the first three letters of the name, like month abbreviations in the Gregorian Calendar, there are a few exceptions.