Thursday, Aug 12, 2021, 16:17 Apple Watch

Apple Watch: How The New Sundial Watch Face Works & What It Shows

The Apple Watch has just received a set of new watch faces for hobbyist astronomers. The new astronomy-themed watch faces can display the earth and moon or the current position of the planets in the solar system. Some other astronomical intricacies are also available. watchOS 6 also added the "Solar Dial" watch face to the Apple Watch's repertoire.

Watch Dials Display Sun-related Information
The Solar Dial watch face is a little more than simply a digital version of the most old-fashioned time keeping device in history (the sundial). The watch face also displays a plethora of sun-related information that changes throughout the year. To this end, the "Solar Dial" watch face uses a 24-hour scale with 12 at the top and 24 at the bottom. Inside the dial, the sun is displayed in the form of a backlit white circle that shows the position of the sun in the sky dependent upon the time.

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The "Solar Dial" watch face.


Watch Face Background Changes According To Sky Color
The watch face's blue background adapts according to the color of the sky – excluding the clouds, dependent upon the position of the sun. The 24-hour scale's background also has varying degrees of brightness. In addition to portraying the color of the day and night sky, the background also displays the twilight phases during the rising and falling of the sun in the morning and night. There are normally 3 "twilight phases" and the Solar Dial watch face portrays them with differing degrees of brightness.

Civil, Nautical, & Astronomical Twilight
Towards the end of the day, the first of the 3 twilight phases is the "civil twilight" phase. Next comes the "nautical twilight" phase – during which a few stars are visible, and then the "astronomical twilight" phase just before night and the darkness' climax. In the morning, these same phases occur in reverse. The length of time occupied by each phase depends on the time of year and location. For example, near the equator, the shortest twilight phase is 70 minutes. If you live in Frankfurt, Germany, the shortest twilight phase is 2 hours. In the north pole, the sun sets in 32 hours – followed by 47 days of dusk until polar night.

Turning The Crown Animates The Sun's Course
Turning the digital crown (to change the time) animates the sun's course throughout the day directly on the watch face. A tap on the display hides the information displayed on the corners of the watch face and displays information about the current phase of the day and its length. The information displayed factors in the user's location and the time of year. As usual, various aspects of the watch face can be customized according to individual preference by tapping on the Apple Watch and holding or via the Watch app on iPhone.

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