Read Time v3 with an Accurate Mental Model

  • You are the observer in the center of the clock. Everything moves relative to the observer.
  • The sun position on the clock represents the actual longitudinal position of the sun.
  • Solar noon is noon on the clock. The two are one and the same. When the sun is directly overhead the observer, it is noon, and half of the day has passed.
  • Sunrise and sunset are depicted and labeled. Sunrise marks time 0:00 each day and sunset marks the day length. The day length changes gradually throughout the year with the seasons.
  • When the sun sets, the “official time” turns negative and begins to count down to sunrise. However, if you mark an event at +12:30 time v3 during an 11 hour day, +12:30 is visible on the clock even though the sun has set, the official time v3 is negative, and your event will be held in the dark. “+12:30” is still 12 hours and 30 minutes after sunrise and still a usable time.
  • The moon position on the clock represents the actual longitudinal position of the moon. Moon directly overhead on the clock, the moon is directly overhead the observer. Moonrise and moonset are off to the side, just like the sun. I am adding small moonrise and moonset lines in the next version.
  • The moon phase is represented by the sun’s position relative to the moon and Earth, easily observable on the clock. Project the sun out to “infinity” and the sun points to the moon phase marked on the moon itself.
  • The locations marked on the clock’s Earth represent prominent geographical features approximately every 15° longitude. Therefore the sun passes one of the geographical features every hour. If you want to know the approximate time at a different location, just imagine the observer on the clock is at the location with everything else right where it is. Tilt your head if it helps or physically turn the clock on its side.
  • The sun pointing to the stars mark the seasons, just like in real life. The constellations on the clock are the constellations (official IAU) the sun points to throughout the year as Earth orbits. They are zodiac constellations on the ecliptic, for telling seasons, not the constellations on the celestial equator. The difference is minor (see below).
  • The stars pass overhead on the clock when those stars actually reach their peak to the observer. Star noon on the clock is star noon in real life.
  • Of note, the prominent constellation of Orion is on the celestial equator just south of the Taurus/Gemini border Orion borders both Taurus and Gemini. Therefore Orion is an excellent star reference to align the clock to real life.
  • The thin white line behind the equinox in Pisces shows 1,000 years of precession of the equinoxes. Yes, one thousand years, one millennium, 500 years in the past and 500 years into the future. The equinoxes do not move very much.

Know Less, Understand More

The following are true and do not change perceptibly over an entire human lifetime.

  • The non-sun stars do not move relative to each other. Not now, not over thousands of years, not anytime we will ever know about. The stars remain a fixed spherical image we gaze out at from the inside.
  • The north star and southern cross remain in the same positions in the sky and do not move, even as Earth rotates. They mark the axis of rotation of Earth. You could build a structure pointed at the north star one night and the structure doesn’t move, it points at the north star day and night season after season year after year forever, whether you can see the north star or not, it’s there. (The structure would be called a gnomon, if you care).
  • All of the non-sun stars/constellations remain in the exact same latitude and therefore trace the exact same line through the sky each time Earth rotates, every day of our lives, no exceptions. The line a star traces through the sky at your location peaks at 90° – [your latitude] + [latitude of the star] always.
  • The sun. slightly more complicated, but helpful because the sun is bright. What is a line of latitude? What does a line of latitude look like? The blindingly bright sun traces a line of latitude through the sky everyday. On the equinoxes, the sun traces the 0° line of latitude (celestial equator) and on the solstices the sun traces the +/- 23.4° line of latitude. In between, the sun gradually traces lines of latitude from 0° to 23.4° to 0° to -23.4°. Each day a slightly different line of latitude traced as Earth rotates and orbits.
  • Nobody is good at three-dimensional spherical-angle geometry! Nobody! Astronomers are not good at it. Nobody is! Then why does the current zodiac constellation represent the constellation behind the sun that we cannot see?? Because nobody is good at three dimensional geometry! Astronomers for millennia past and still today use the sun as a “pointer.” Nothing in the sky points like the sun. The sun is such a bright “pointer” that you cannot see what is behind it – but remember that the stars do not move relative to each other so if you have some idea of what the starry sky looks like, and you know the current zodiac constellation, you can reference the rest of the starry sky off of the sun itself. “Aquarius is shining bright this month!” True statement – even though Aquarius is only up during the day. “The sun pointer is moving toward Pisces.” Another true statement.

Notes

  • three buttons:
    1. 5040x with pause feature
    2. 21,600x with pause feature
    3. “sunrises / sunsets snapshots” time lapse
  • useful sounds?
  • add moonrise and moonset
  • The horizons showing day length are the only indications of latitude. I want to keep it this way. 2D, time is the 3rd dimension.
  • unify the new year globally making it the exact equinox. Focus locally, celebrate large events globally.
  • clock ticks in background on phones? battery life?
  • Digital doesn’t match graphic on some time lapses. Maybe only on past years?
  • digital font size correct for computers and phones
  • make “copy-able link” for the link generator
  • 90° and 270° ecliptic longitude are the solstices, correct?
  • astrolabe, Incan Inthuatana,
Fundamental Concept

Every movement of this clock is related to a naturally-occurring phenomenon. The sun, moon, and constellations are actually physically overhead the longitude physically shown on the clock. The only man-made concept is the unit of time: hours/minutes/seconds.

Within the constraints of being two-dimensional and using only concentric circle movement, the clock graphically displays celestial movement as accurately and with as much detail as possible in a way that promotes a practical mental model for the observer.

The horizons move to show the correct day and night length. They move in the correct direction to match the idea that the sun follows a longer path in the sky on longer days and shorter path on shorter days. In post-industrial time, noon is when the sun is directly overhead. This clock shows noon at the various world locations by being directly overhead the longitude. “Solar noon” is an industrial time concept.

The angle of the horizons does not directly correspond to the azimuth of the sunrise and sunset itself. For example, the sun being overhead a longitude location on Earth 100 degrees from your longitude when it rises does not mean the sun will rise 10 degrees north from east.

Two-dimensional is convenient for hanging on a wall, inexpensive to construct, can be displayed on a screen, and in reality people prefer 2D. 3D TVs never caught on. The outdoors is 3D enough.

Concentric circle movement is practical to construct and control. In addition, almost all the movement of the objects in the sky is due to the rotation of Earth.

Nature presents us with an infinity of detail that the clock could depict. Computers enable us to easily do this and most products show maximum detail. This clock selectively provides the user with just the basis required to comprehend celestial movement in order to inspire the user to abandon the technology for the outdoors and more fully appreciate natural reality.

The Observer

On this clock, all objects are referenced to the observer as though the observer is standing aligned to the rotational axis of Earth. “Aligned to the rotational axis of Earth” sounds like an unnecessary complication, but it means all the objects move (almost) continuously and you can tell time of day, day length, night length, moon phase, moon rise and set, seasons, constellation and star positions, and even approximate world times, all using an intuitive mental model.

The observer is at the center of the post-industrial clock.

Observer’s Imagination

Notice, the gnomon of a sundial is aligned to the rotational axis of Earth. The ancients knew how to think about this. If you want to be familiar with the movement of the Earth and the relative motion of the sky, you must align with the Earth. If you accept the one complication of aligning with Earth, all else naturally falls into place.

You might say gravity is the biggest obstacle to aligning yourself to Earth’s rotational axis. True. To eliminate the gravity problem, just imagine you are on the north pole. If you were sitting on the north pole during an equinox, you would see all the objects on the clock rotating around your horizon just like they do on the clock.

Rotation and Orbit

Notice “rotate” means an individual object rotates, and “orbit” means an object moves in a path around another object. Objects can rotate and orbit in different planes, but because of the way the solar system was formed, rotation is mostly closely aligned with orbit. One notable example of misalignment is the tilt of Earth’s rotation relative to its orbit around the sun.

The Sun, Horizons, and Time

The position of the sun determines all time-related items.

The rotational position of Earth is shown by the sun appearing to move relative to the observer. The position of the sun in relation to the eastern horizon and western horizon tells the time of day.

Day length is determined by the distance the sun must travel through the sky from the eastern horizon to the western horizon. Day length is shown by the position of the two horizons. Night length is the remainder of the 24-hour period as the sun returns to the eastern horizon. The horizons move because of the tilt of Earth and its orbit around the sun.

The sun points to the season on the backdrop of the stars. The 12 Zodiac constellations are used because they are aligned with Earth’s equator and are visible from most positions on Earth. The Zodiac seasonal periods are named based on when the constellation is aligned with the sun. Ironically, it is exactly during a particular Zodiac constellation’s season that the constellation is not visible in the night sky because it is directly behind the sun.

The stars move around the observer because of the rotation of Earth, like the sun. Because of the orbit of Earth around the sun, the stars actually appear to move slightly faster than the sun. In a way, the stars “chase” the sun across the sky. Because of this, the constellation that is low on the western horizon immediately after sunset indicates the next season. The constellation will “chase” the sun down, setting because of Earth’s rotation and then each successive night set four minutes earlier until it sets with the sun.

Moon phase is determined by the position of the moon relative to the sun. The position of the moon relative to the sun is immediately apparent on the clock giving the user an intuitive mental model of moon phase. The moon rises and sets independently of the sun, so there are separate horizons for the moon.

Relative to the Observer

The stars do not move relative to each other, so you can relate your favorite constellations to the Zodiac constellations to quickly know where they are if desired. The position of the Zodiac constellations on the clock are accurate relative to the observer. The observer need only adjust for latitude. If a constellation is directly overhead on the clock, it is directly south in the northern hemisphere or north in the southern hemisphere, or overhead on the equator.

Approximate world time is asking the question, “What time is it to other observers?” or “Where is the sun relative to other observers?” The user can look at the other cities on the clock and see where the sun is relative to them. If the sun is directly over another location on the clock, it is noon in that location. The sun is moving relative to other observers just like it is moving on the clock. If the sun appears directly to the side of another observer, it is near rising or near setting. If directly below, it is midnight to that observer.

Sun/Moon/Stars to Sundial to Pendulum to Quartz to Atomic Vibrations to Smartphones to Sundial to Sun/Moon/Stars

Progress is a cycle.

Pre-history: humans evolved with celestial objects ruling our lives and became familiar with them. The sun and moon are encoded into our genes in our circadian rhythm.

Thousands of years: humans quantified the movement of the sun with sundials, and used charts for the phases of the moon and seasons.

Industrial Revolution: humans used rudimentary machines to club our minds to submit to rigid schedules.

Post-Industrial Clocks: humans use advanced machines to conform technology to nature and re-connect with our natural selves.

Like this clock, the gnomon of a sundial is oriented parallel to the rotational axis of the Earth. If you called this clock an “indoor sundial” you are not too far off. However, “indoor solar, lunar, and celestial fully-automated schedule” would be more accurate. Therefore, is this new? No, but is anything new? Not according to the Bible,

Ecclesiastes 1

9  What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. 10  Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already in the ages before us.

Life is a cycle and it is time to revisit some of our past. We now have the time and resources to do it.

Knowing what the sky looks like can certainly be done with charts, phone apps, websites, maps, but to develop a useful mental model, you need to periodically and quickly see something that is practically relatable to practical day-to-day events. This is our natural ability that was erased by industrial time. Industrial time is great for rigid old obsolete machines to cheaply give us rigid schedules, but computers enable machines to imitate nature and can enable us to re-connect with nature rather than brutally beating nature out of our minds with the incessant ticking of pendulums and gears. Computers can be better, let’s use them.

history, manufacturing, time, astronomy,