Time Step

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The Time Step is a simulation setting representing how much simulation time passes every real-time second. For example, if the Time Step is set to one month per second, then a month passes in the simulation every real-time second, and it will take Earth about 12 real-time seconds to orbit the Sun. While the user can set their desired Target Time Step, the actual simulation Time Step at any point will be set automatically by Universe Sandbox to balance accuracy and performance (see Accuracy and Speed below).

Setting Details[edit | edit source]

Location[edit | edit source]

The Time Step setting is located in the bottom bar, to the right of the Step menu, which contains additional time step controls.

Units[edit | edit source]

Time Step can viewed and edited using the following units:

  • Gigayears per real-time second (G years/sec) = 109 years/sec
  • Megayears per real-time second (M years/sec) = 106 years/sec
  • Years per real-time second (years/sec) = 365.25 days/sec
  • Months per real-time second (months/sec) = 1/12 years/sec
  • Days per real-time second (days/sec) = 24 hours/sec
  • Hours per real-time second (hours/sec) = 60 mins/sec
  • Minutes per real-time second (mins/sec) = 60 sec/sec
  • Seconds per real-time second (sec/sec) means the simulation is running in real time
  • Milliseconds per real-time second (ms/sec) = 0.001 sec/sec

Simulation Effects[edit | edit source]

Accuracy and Speed[edit | edit source]

Generally, the higher the Time Step, the lower the accuracy of the simulation. For example, if the N-body simulation is too inaccurate, then orbits will fall apart. The size of the Time Step also affects the speed of the simulation; larger Time Steps will cause the simulation to run faster.