Cosmic Watch 2.0
We wrote about Cosmic Watch from Celestial Dynamics AG in December 2016. I was so impressed with this app and their approach to demonstration the relationship between space and time that I couldn’t resist writing about version 2.0 which was released recently. This stunning timepiece is Swiss made in the tradition of superior Swiss craftsmanship.
To those who are unfamiliar with Cosmic Watch, I want to be sure to mention that this is not just another watch face or timepiece. Cosmic Watch accurately demonstrates the planetary mechanics of our solar system and unlike other apps of its type, it does it from the perspective of one looking at our solar system from afar rather than from the Earth outward.
Viewing the solar system while moving the time either forward or backward is almost hypnotic. I had set a pace of about one hour every two seconds and viewed this beautiful ballet that is occurring in the heavens 24/7.
Viewing Earth with time moving forward beautifully illustrates what I previously had difficulty explaining to my 8-year-old. Sunset’s and sunrises and how different parts of the earth receive more or less sunlight at different times of the year.
Cosmic Watch is much more than a timepiece. This is a powerful teaching tool that allows one to witness the mechanics of our solar system from a God’s eye view.
Observing the movement of the planets around our Sun affords us another teaching opportunity for our young ones. My daughter noticed and commented on how Mercury circles our Sun five times for every one of earth’s trips around the Sun.
Live Earth-based view
Cosmic Watch 2.0 has also added a Live View feature that allows you to point your device to the sky to get a real-time view of the heavens. In this view of the galaxy from Earth, you have various options that provide more data like the constellations, the zodiac, and star names. You can add interstellar gas & dust and long exposure.
First and foremost, Cosmic Watch is a sophisticated timepiece. You can add an ecliptic clockface or an equatorial clockface. View the seasons and the year. You can display time and date digitally and add a second counter.
Guides provide an additional dimension to this app. You can view the horizon, horizontal coordinates, planet names, connections to other bodies in our solar system. View the celestial rings and equatorial coordinates. You can also view the planetary orbits around the sun.
Heliocentric or Geocentric
You can choose between heliocentric or geocentric options. Heliocentric locks the suns position to the center of the screen. Geocentric locks Earth to the center of the screen and also produces an interesting perspective. For our observance, we preferred heliocentric since it gives what I would think to be the most realistic demonstration of the planet’s trip around our Sun.
Check out this video we put together as we click through the various options in Cosmic Watch 2.0.
What’s new in Cosmic Watch 2.0
- A new sky view: Point your device to the sky and get a real-time look at the constellations, stars, and planets
- A new expanded view of our Solar System: complete solar system, heliocentric and geocentric
- Events and Notifications: Get notifications on the next astronomical and time-related events
- New equatorial clock face
- Added a bigger cities database
- Fullscreen: tap the cosmic watch logo
- Celestial Sphere: switch on/off in the Earth View
Cosmic Watch 2.0 is a stunningly beautiful app. The only disappointment I have with Cosmic Watch is that it’s not available on the desktop for Mac or Windows and there is no version for AppleTV. I think these platforms would really compliment this app. Imagine Cosmic Watch running on your desktop in the background. Just switch to the Finder and observe not only the current time but any of the interesting details about our solar system in real-time. Imagine the same when your Apple TV goes to sleep. What an awesome screensaver Cosmic Watch would make. Celestial Dynamics AG, if you’re listening, please give this serious consideration if you have not already done so.
More on this topic: Celestron SkyPortal, Go Where No Man Has Gone Before