‘Cosmic Watch’ App Lets You Track Stars and Planets in Real Time
“The Cosmic Watch is the first astronomical clock in the digital age,”
More often than not, time is merely a metric for setting schedules. But a new app aims to change how you view time, by moving beyond hours, minutes and seconds to reveal your position in the cosmos and relate that position to the movement of celestial bodies.
The app, named the Cosmic Watch, can tell you what the solar system was like when you were born, or set the scene for the next solar eclipse.The app provides a vivid view of the cosmos to show how time reflects our position in the solar system, said Marcus Humbel, co-founder of the app.
To get people interested in the more complex meanings of time, Humbel decided to delve into the basics first. Along with his colleagues, he obtained data on planet movements from NASA and other organizations with open-source data, and incorporated information on gravity, planet size and planets’ orbital paths into the Cosmic Watch.
Since 1967, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NITS), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, has defined a second as the duration of 9,192,631,770 oscillations of the microwave radiation absorbed or emitted when a cesium atom moves between two energy states. Precise time keeping helps keep our modern world synchronized — electric power grids, GPS and other technologies all rely on maintaining accurate and coordinated time.
The Cosmic Watch operates in three modes: “world clock mode” for timekeeping based on the atomic clock, “astronomy mode” to view constellations and planets in the sky, and “astrology mode” to view astral charts.
The Cosmic Watch is currently available in purchace from from the Google Play store and the Apple App Store for $3.99, and Humbel and his team are planning to bring the Cosmic Watch to the Apple Watch. Humbel said he sees the Cosmic Watch as a potential educational tool for teachers, parents and anyone curious about time. He plans to develop the educational aspects of the Cosmic Watch and launch a Kick-starter campaign to help raise money for his team to streamline the app’s features.