Cosmic Clocks & Interplanetary Holiday Advice

published on March 31st, 2012 · more from the blog →

With interplanetary holidays right around the corner I thought I should do my bit and address one of the key issues everybody is talking about... How does a clock behave on Neptune?*

You may wonder why it really matters, but as the relative length of a day changes depending on the planet you're on, you could end up with quite a different holiday to what you thought you were getting. For example an all inclusive 7 day break on Venus would be roughly 812 Earth-days long, that's quite a holiday! It's even longer if you head off to Mercury (~1,232 days), but if relaxing on the surface of a desolate planet doesn't sound like much fun to you, then Saturn may be your best bet, a 7 day break on Saturn would last just 2.8 depressing Earth days.

Now back to the question in hand (the one about clocks), I've built a little visualisation to help us all understand a little better.**

Check it out here. Cosmic Clocks. (give it a few minutes to watch them drift)

Aren't you glad we've sorted that out? You can now relax with one less thing to worry about as you blast off in to space.

Some Trivia

1) I'm well aware the movement of a standard Earth clock would not change if you just took it to another planet, but my clocks are normalised so that all days on other planets would also be comprised of 24 hours or 86,400 seconds, but obviously an hour or a second would be differing periods of time on other planets. (time is confusing).

2) The clocks displayed are localised to whatever time you start viewing them, this clearly is not the actual time on each of those other planets, as other planets don't really have a concept of timezones (that I care about, maybe we should resolve that in the next blog post?). The clocks will start to drift by differing amounts the longer you leave the page open.

3) If the clocks aren't doing anything then you should probably upgrade your web browser. Note that Mercury, Venus and Mars look pretty much static, but they aren't, just very very slow compared to Earth.

4) There's quite a high probability that I don't really know what I'm talking about, so feel free to tell me how ignorant I am about space, time, clocks and pretty much everything else.

* I can't go a Mercurian day without being asked this question.
** No promises here