Handling time in space


"I'll rant as well as thou!" - Hamlet
Aug 27, 2019
The Netherlands
You cannot have a universal time system as the same event is different for every observer. (A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking is accessible too.)
I have read A Brief History of Time.
In what I described above there is only one observer, namely the base (planet/spaceport/whatever) where the pulsar is observed. This observation is than broadcast through the Ansible, which is a simultaneous communication device. In other words allows instantaneous observation.

Now, the Ansible (a reference to The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin) is fantasy, granted. But the topic we are discussing in this thread is basically fantasy. Space opera ignores the known limits and assumes it is possible to travel faster than light or have ways of instantaneous communications and have immediate contact with other species.
In a way Space Opera is fantasy, not SF.
This is what I originally wanted to express in my post, namely that we will never have a need for a universal measure of time, imprisoned as we are in our solar system. Once you imagine or fantasize it is possible go out and explore the galaxy, you have in the same stroke allowed for a way to ignore Einstein and Hawking.



Aug 15, 2019
I think this is helping but hasn’t solved my problem quite yet. Simply, there is an instantaneous synchronisation happened. Long story. Well actually not that long as it is explained in my prologue, but too long for this discussion.
I think an external element that is consistent for everyone to relate to their own time per @Elckerlyc comment is what I’m looking for.


Active Member
Oct 8, 2019
Hello Lukelee,

Going back to physics and time, even if you have an instantaneous communication device, it will just force some of the people using it to have to use shorter units of time if they are near big gravity field or at a relatively high velocity - so their day may be the equivalent of a few hours. An ansible won't fix this, but just make it observable. Is that what you want? The moon astronauts even observed this to a small degree.

For units, you may run the risk of "technobabble", where you give the reader a bunch of names and units to learn that don't actually make the story go (and may make it less enjoyable to read). It is similar to how a detective story that hinges on monetary exchange rates or railway timetables (Monty Python) might be less interesting than the plot should make it.