Yalos, greek for 'glass', is a natural satellite of Candelus. With an approximate diameter of 2,736 km, Yalos has many interesting qualities, including it's very high silicon content, very elliptical orbit around Candelus, and a quirky past.
Although Yalos does have some metals like iron and cobalt along with traces of non-metals and ice, nearly 91% of Yalos is silicon, and almost all of it is in the form of silicon oxide glass, hence its name. What exactly would cause such a high amount of silicon in a celestial body is up for speculation, but since humans created the planet to begin with (and let it evolve all on its own), we sort of know how it got there.
Yalos is thought to be an old planitesimal that once circled the sun in a close orbit, but 4.6 billion years ago, a collision with another planitesimal knocked it out of orbit and it began to spiral inward at a faster rate. Yalos grew so close that it would have been well inside the sun-if it had been born yet. The planitesimal was doomed to become part of the center of the accretion disk, but fate had a surprising twist left in store.
Before it reached the center, nuclear fusion began within the proto-star and it grew quickly. The resulting force and energy was massive enough to fling Yalos out at 20 km per second, so it didn't meet a fiery death. It cooled quickly in surrounding space and a thin crust was established by the time it reached the main accretion disk. Impacts scoured Yalos, slowing it down considerably. By the time humans encountered it and led it to Candelus 4.4 billion years ago, its surface was scarred with impacts, it slightly bulged because of a large impact with another body had partially liquefied it and it had gravitationally shifted to compensate, and it had slowed to a measly 500 meters per second. Candelus easily captured Yalos and the new moon settled into an elliptical orbit. Humans soon left and forgot about the very existence of Candelus shortly after in a terrorist-led destruction of records.
Effects on Candelus Edit
Candelus' entire life changed when it captured Yalos. It may have changed the very possibility of life thriving on Candelus.
The moon became tidally locked to Candelus in a matter of years and the resulting tidal forces created a profound effect on more than just the planet's oceans. Until then, Candelus was fairly inert and the ocean floor was littered with impact craters since normal erosion didn't work so well on water-repellant wax. Yalos changed the game with tidal forces by warping the interior wax layers way beyond melting point. Convection began and altered the internal layers, causing them to begin mixing. Liquid wax oozed up from the ocean floor. Gushing kerivolcanoes, or wax volcanoes, popped up everywhere, creating mountains and rolling hills. The crust became thin enough and then some for tectonic plates to form, albeit very strange tectonics. At places, liquid wax leading to the rest of the mantle was less than 50 meters down.
Due to its glass content and elliptical orbit, Yalos doesn't experience normal phases. While there is a distinct boundary on where the sun is hitting it, Yalos always appears to be a full moon at night. Even during a lunar eclipse, the whole moon glows ruddy orange. During the day is another matter.
When Yalos is in the sky during the day, it almost looks like a giant bubble during to it's transclucency. Solar eclipses by Yalos are on the range of boring to absolutely terrifying. Far out in it's orbit an annular eclipse will occur that's less spectacular than the moon's. But at the right point in it's orbit, near perihelion but not quite, the sunlight it gathers is narrowed to a 750 meter-wide circle at the surface. That's the terrifying part.
The atmosphere heats up. Any clouds are vaporized. Living things unfortunate enough to be caught in the eclipse's path is baked alive into ash and cinders. The remains are swallowed up by the now-liquid wax surface. Even though the inclination and eccentricity of it's orbit means that this event happens on the order of centuries, who knew living on Candelus could be harsher than it already looks?