The universe we inhabit is filled with cycles. Night becomes day, planets rotate around the Sun, seasons change, and so much more. We use these cycles to measure the passage of time, but like the universe's cycles, that was only the beginning.
We've also created time zones, calculations down to the millisecond, and various ways to measure them all. Our lives revolve around time which is why we've created a rich and varied database of tools and information that we like to call The Time Now.
The Time Now is an accurate tool providing multiple time-related services, various in-depth articles, and more. You can find out what the current local time is, in more than a hundred thousand cities around the world, as well as the UTC/GMT offset, the time zone full name and abbreviation.
You will know whether each location observes Daylight Saving Time (DST) or Summer Time, right now or the near future. This database is updated with each new decision of governments or astronomical institutions.
Know the local weather and forecast in most cities of the world. You have access to the current conditions, the 48-hour forecast, the 2-week forecast, and an hour-by-hour temperature forecast. Most websites would stop there, but we also provide you with the sunrise and sunset times, the day's length, the moon phases, and even the moonrise and moonset. Enjoy the many daily updates of these data, up to every fifteen minutes.
We've also provided an astronomy section that gives detailed information about the Solar System . We've all been stargazers at some point in our lives but now you can learn about the planets, and their moons.
Additional sections provide information about the stars, the galaxies, cosmology, how to observe the sky, and space probes. If all of that knowledge fascinates you, we'll also provide information on how to become an astronomer and a description of the job.
The Time Now also offers comprehensive local business directories with opening and closing times in many countries, such as United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Finland, France and Italy. Each country's local business directory is available from its translated version of the website.
In case you need a specific conversion, we provide many useful tools such as:
- A time zone converter that will help you find the time difference between two cities or two time zones.
- An international meeting planner , to find the better time for a meeting with people around the world.
- A dialing codes helper, to help you make a phone call between two locations.
- A distance calculator, to find the air distance between two cities.
- A currency converter, to convert more than 150 currencies worldwide.
The Time Now is currently available in 29 languages. It is used by millions of people worldwide each month as a valuable resource for information, knowledge, and a means of planning and understanding time around the world.
The Scientific and Philosophical Concept of Time
Before one can understand time zones, daylight savings, and other methods of measuring time, it would be best to have a grasp of how science defines this concept. Beyond science, this concept is also highly researched and discussed in the realms of religion and philosophy.
We cannot reach out and grasp it, nor can we watch it pass, and yet time exists anyway. It is defined as "a measure in which events can be ordered from the past, through the present, and into the future. It also measures the durations of events and the intervals between them."
What we can see, feel, and touch is known as the spatial dimensions. These are the first, second and third that we all know. Time itself however is referred to in science as the fourth dimension. When measuring things such as velocity and repetition, we are using standard units of measurement such as seconds, minutes, and hours.
This is known as the "operational definition of time." It's purely scientific and doesn't seek to understand the concept in any philosophical way. Of course, the lines begin to blur when scientists try to measure space-time events and other elements of the universe around us.
Trying to truly measure time is a goal that science continues to struggle with. Proper measurement is crucial in all manners of scientific fields like astronomy, navigation, and many more. Currently our international system of measurement is based on events that repeat at certain intervals.
The movement of the sun through the sky, the phases of the moon, the beating of a heart, these are all means of measuring time's apparent flow. In terms of philosophy, there are two major beliefs regarding time and its existence or lack thereof.
This first approach is named after Sir Isaac Newton. He believed that time was a part of the universe, that is exists as a separate dimension independent of our own where events occur in sequence. In one of his works, Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, he spoke of absolute time and space.
The concept spoke of a "true and mathematical time, of itself, and from its own nature flows equally without regard to anything external." Things like motion and the "feel" of time were not true concepts of the term. He called these things "relative time" and they were the only concepts we could grasp as a species.
The other side of the coin is a theory posed by two famous philosophers by the names of Gottfried Leibniz and Immanuel Kant. This secondary theory is more simplistic, it simply holds to the belief that time is not a thing or a place. Given this truth, it cannot be measured accurately or traveled through.
A History of Measuring Time: Calendars and Clocks
Chronometry is the science of measuring time and it comes in two different forms: the calendar and the clock. When seeking to measure a length that is less than a day, the clock is used. Measuring something that is longer requires the use of a calendar. Let's examine how these two fundamental tools came to be.
1. A Brief History of The Calendar
The first calendars were used as early as 6,000 years ago, based on artifacts discovered from the Paleolithic era, and were dependent on the phases of the moon. Known as lunar calendars, these early versions had between twelve and thirteen months to each year. These calendars weren't entirely accurate, however, because they didn't account for the fact that a year is roughly 365.24 days.
Calendars measure days in whole numbers so a method called intercalation was introduced that adds a leap day, week, or month into the calendar when needed to keep the measurements accurate. Julius Caesar decreed in 45 B.C that the Roman Empire would use a solar calendar and it became known as the Julian calendar.
This version still suffered from a lack of accuracy because the intercalation it used caused the annual solstices and equinoxes to throw off the measurements by as much as 11 minutes per year. A second type of calendar was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. This was known as the Gregorian calendar and it is now the most commonly used version today.
2. A Brief History of the Clock
Horology is the study of devices used to measure time. This pursuit dates back to 1500 BC when the Egyptians created the first sundial. This stationary device uses a shadow cast by the sun to measure the passage of hours throughout the day. These devices were accurate only during the day however.
A more accurate solution was something called a water clock that was also used by the ancient Egyptians. The actual origin of these devices is not known, but along with sundials these were the first tools used to measure time.
The water clock functioned by creating a set flow of water that could be used to measure the passage of time. It required constant maintenance though, otherwise the water would run out. Many ancient civilizations were very focused on keeping accurate measurements of time because they used it to track their astronomical findings.
Water clocks were used consistently until the middle ages. The use of incense, candles and hourglasses were also prevalent. While mechanical clocks did make an appearance as early as the 11th century, it wasn't until new methods like the pendulum clock were made by individuals like Galileo Galilei and Christiaan Huygens that they became reliable.
Today the most accurate tool for measuring time are atomic clocks. These incredible devices can maintain a pitch-perfect accuracy for millions of years. They are so accurate in fact, that they are used to set other clocks and GPS systems. Instead of using mechanical or repetitive methods, these clocks measure atoms as incredibly low temperatures.
An atomic clock in Boulder, Colorado called NIST-F1 is used to define the standard time for all of the United States. It is located in the National Institute of Standards and Technology. This clock's accuracy means that it won't be off by a single second for at least 100 million years. This is all based on the internationally defined standard for what constitutes a single second:
"The second is the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium 133 atom."
By measuring these caesium atoms at incredibly low temperatures, atomic clocks can track time almost perfectly based on this established standard.
International Time Measurements
Our modern society requires us to have a set standard for how we measure time. The most basic means of doing this is known as International Atomic Time (TAI) and measures seconds, minutes, and hours by coordinating atomic clocks around the world.
Since 1972 we've utilized Coordinated Universal Time or UTC. It follows the TAI standard with slight changes known as leap seconds to ensure that it remains synchronized with the Earth's rotation. This standard replaced the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) but the two terms are still used interchangeably.
The reason for the replacement was because the GMT method used telescopes and solar time to set the standard instead of the more accurate method of atomic clocks. Despite the time standard changing, the location of Greenwich is still used a basis for measuring coordinates.
While the measurement of time is standardized around the world, there is also a means of defining the exact time of day in various regions known as time zones. This is another internationally observed standard that offsets the UTC time depending on the location.
These zones were implemented for legal, commercial, and social reasons and are usually placed along the boundaries of countries or states in the U.S. For the most part these zones offset the time by a whole number of hours but in some cases the change is only thirty or forty-five minutes.
The concept of these time zones was first suggested 1858 in a book written by Quirico Filopanti called Miranda! This concept was not used but it did lay the groundwork for others to follow. The invention of them is attributed to Sir Sanford Fleming but even his concept was modified heavily into what we use today.
The adoption of time zones was slow and gradual. The last country to implement the use of today's standard was Nepal in 1986. All of today's modern countries use time zones in some way, shape, or form. The idea is the same, as is the standard measurement of time, but the implementation of them varies.
For example, China and India both utilize a single time zone despite the fact that their countries are wider than the fifteen degrees of longitude that usually dictates a time zone.
A Tool for the Ages
With technology and research we've continued to grow and expand our knowledge of time, but we still have many questions unanswered. What we do have are very specific methods of measuring it around the world though and The Time Now is here to provide you with all of that information and more.
Our tools are always up-to-date and our database of information is constantly expanding and growing. We are the penultimate resource now and into the future.