A series of public clocks displaying the time on spacecraft orbiting Earth

The Relative Clocks show the effects of time dilation. Each clock shows the time on Earth, as well as on a spacecraft. Spacecraft orbiting the earth experience time at a different rate than us on Earth, due to the effects of gravity and velocity on the flow of time. This effect is known as time dilation, and is explained by Albert Einsteins’ Theory of Relativity.

The front hand of the clock displays the time on a spacecraft, while the rear hand displays the time on Earth. The delay between the tick of the front and rear hands indicates the actual time difference between Earth time and the time on the spacecraft. This difference is constantly growing, as each second on the spacecraft is slightly longer or shorter than a second on earth.

This delay in time is constantly growing, and the clocks update every day to reflect the constant effects of relativity on the spacecraft.

This project was commissioned by the UK Space Agency to engage the public in their research, four physical Relative Clocks will be built and available for touring from November 2016.

Type

Public Art Installation

Launching

November 2016

Credits

Design/Build: Chomko & Rosier
Data: Tom Vaughan, Chris Haynes

Location

Touring