The equator is an imaginary line equidistant from both poles. Days and nights there do not vary in length; this changes the farther from the equator we go. It’s perpetually hot except at high altitudes. The four seasons of spring, summer, autumn, and winter hardly exist. Instead, residents think of a dry season and a wet one, which averages two hundred days a year on Earth; some places are uniformly wet all year.
If we’re writing SF, the equator is a good place for space ports because the planet is spinning faster there and less fuel is needed to escape the atmosphere, though if we have imaginary propulsion systems, maybe fuel isn’t an issue. On Earth, spacecraft must launch easterly to take advantage of this spin. Imagine a scenario where one nation has limited fuel and wants to launch easterly, but the spacecraft must then go over an enemy nation capable of shooting it down. This illustrates how world building research affects a story.
When drawing a continent, we should decide where it lies in relation to the equator. Position impacts climate and the direction of prevailing winds, which carry moisture that is either blocked by mountain ranges or not; see the section on “rain shadows.” The location of deserts and forests (and what kind) are a direct result of this. The significance of position will be demonstrated by the rest of this chapter.