Planet Beta Prime

Weather on Planet Beta Prime – Variations of Cold

With a sun the same size as Earth’s sun but an orbit slightly larger, Beta Prime is a cold world. Like Earth, it has four seasons, if one can call them that. Summer is notable for its lack of regular snowstorms and temperatures above freezing for several hours in the middle of the day. The result is an icy mess as the snow and ice melts and refreezes as the sun sets for the evening.
     Fall and Spring are cold and while it snows frequently, the precipitation is usually dry and often blows in the strong wind, creating drifts against buildings for and covering everything with a light dusting of white, cold powdery snow and ice.
    Winter is simply miserable. Steady snow requiring constant efforts to remove the deadly white flakes as they accumulate. Blizzards are a regular occurrence and can have deadly effects on the human inhabitants of the planet.
    Given the horrible weather, why is the main city, Capital City, above ground? For the simple reason it was cheaper to drop the prefab structures in place when the first settlers and miners arrived. The ground is frozen hard and the expense and effort required to build an underground city would have slowed the return on investment for the corporations who owned the mining and tourist concessions.
     As Capital City grows, in both size and wealth, more of the city’s construction takes place underground, particularly in the wealthier parts of the city. Areas where the rich would prefer not to be bothered by the hazards of the freezing weather and the people of Beta Prime who must move about in the cold climate to eke out a living.
    Satellite cities crop up where mining operations begin operation, tourist centers are developed or government facilities are built. Transportation between cities takes on a variety of means, including underground rail transport, hovercar and above ground rail transport when the weather allows.
      Despite its freezing cold weather, sunny days with clear skies are one of the main reasons for the planet’s tourist trade. With the right conditions, the beautiful terrain of the planet is visible for miles from a good vantage point. Beautiful forests of native trees capable of growing despite the harsh cold attract tourists by the tens of thousands as well as hunters of the native wildlife.
      Overcast days are frequent, particularly in the late fall and early spring, bringing with them dense fog that moves in waves and tendrils, seemingly reaching into every crook and cranny of any man-made structure or natural obstacle.
      An interesting export from the planet is snow. Each year, a limited amount of the abundant material is exported off planet and sold at a premium price to desert planets where snow is never seen.

The Thomas Sullivan Chronicles and Other Stories