Day

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Daytime image of the bay of Naples, Italy Daytime image of the bay of Naples.jpg
Daytime image of the bay of Naples, Italy

The word day has a number of meanings, depending on the context it is used such as of astronomy, physics, and various calendar systems.

Contents

As a term in physics and astronomy it is approximately the period during which the Earth completes one rotation around its axis, [1] which takes about 24 hours. [2] A solar day is the length of time which elapses between the Sun reaching its highest point in the sky two consecutive times. [3] Days on other planets are defined similarly and vary in length due to differing rotation periods, that of Mars being slightly longer and sometimes called a sol.

The unit of measurement "day" (symbol d) is defined as 86,400 SI seconds. The second is designated the SI base unit of time. Previously, it was defined in terms of the orbital motion of the Earth in the year 1900, but since 1967 the second and so the day are defined by atomic electron transition. [4] A civil day is usually 24 hours, plus or minus a possible leap second in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), and occasionally plus or minus an hour in those locations that change from or to daylight saving time. Day can be defined as each of the twenty-four-hour periods, reckoned from one midnight to the next, into which a week, month, or year is divided, and corresponding to a rotation of the earth on its axis. [5] However, its use depends on its context; for example, when people say 'day and night', 'day' will have a different meaning: the interval of light between two successive nights, the time between sunrise and sunset; [6] the time of light between one night and the next. [7] For clarity when meaning 'day' in that sense, the word "daytime" may be used instead, [8] [9] though context and phrasing often makes the meaning clear. The word day may also refer to a day of the week or to a calendar date, as in answer to the question, "On which day?"

The biologically determined living patterns (circadian rhythms) of humans and many other species relate to Earth's solar day and the day-night cycle.

Introduction

Dagr, the Norse god of the day, rides his horse in this 19th-century painting by Peter Nicolai Arbo. Dagr by Arbo.jpg
Dagr, the Norse god of the day, rides his horse in this 19th-century painting by Peter Nicolai Arbo.

Apparent and mean solar day

Several definitions of this universal human concept are used according to context, need and convenience. Besides the day of 24 hours (86,400 seconds), the word day is used for several different spans of time based on the rotation of the Earth around its axis. An important one is the solar day, defined as the time it takes for the Sun to return to its culmination point (its highest point in the sky). Because celestial orbits are not perfectly circular, and thus objects travel at different speeds at various positions in their orbit, a solar day is not the same length of time throughout the orbital year. Because the Earth moves along an eccentric orbit around the Sun while the Earth spins on an inclined axis, this period can be up to 7.9 seconds more than (or less than) 24 hours. In recent decades, the average length of a solar day on Earth has been about 86,400.002 seconds [10] (24.000 000 6 hours) and there are currently about 365.2421875 solar days in one mean tropical year.

Ancient custom has a new day start at either the rising or setting of the Sun on the local horizon (Italian reckoning, for example, being 24 hours from sunset, oldstyle). [11] The exact moment of, and the interval between, two sunrises or sunsets depends on the geographical position (longitude and latitude, as well as altitude), and the time of year (as indicated by ancient hemispherical sundials).

A more constant day can be defined by the Sun passing through the local meridian, which happens at local noon (upper culmination) or midnight (lower culmination). The exact moment is dependent on the geographical longitude, and to a lesser extent on the time of the year. The length of such a day is nearly constant (24 hours ± 30 seconds). This is the time as indicated by modern sundials.

A further improvement defines a fictitious mean Sun that moves with constant speed along the celestial equator; the speed is the same as the average speed of the real Sun, but this removes the variation over a year as the Earth moves along its orbit around the Sun (due to both its velocity and its axial tilt).

Stellar day

A day, understood as the span of time it takes for the Earth to make one entire rotation [12] with respect to the celestial background or a distant star (assumed to be fixed), is called a stellar day . This period of rotation is about 4 minutes less than 24 hours (23 hours 56 minutes and 4.09 seconds) and there are about 366.2422 stellar days in one mean tropical year (one stellar day more than the number of solar days). Other planets and moons have stellar and solar days of different lengths from Earth's.

Besides a stellar day on Earth, other bodies in the Solar System [13] have day times, the durations of these being: [14]

Daytime vs. nightime

A day, in the sense of daytime that is distinguished from night time, is commonly defined as the period during which sunlight directly reaches the ground, assuming that there are no local obstacles. The length of daytime averages slightly more than half of the 24-hour day. Two effects make daytime on average longer than nights. The Sun is not a point, but has an apparent size of about 32 minutes of arc. Additionally, the atmosphere refracts sunlight in such a way that some of it reaches the ground even when the Sun is below the horizon by about 34 minutes of arc. So the first light reaches the ground when the centre of the Sun is still below the horizon by about 50 minutes of arc. [18] Thus, daytime is on average around 7 minutes longer than 12 hours. [19]

Etymology

The term comes from the Old English dæg, with its cognates such as dagur in Icelandic, Tag in German, and dag in Norwegian, Danish, Swedish and Dutch - all stemming from a Proto-Germanic root *dagaz. [20] As of October 17,2015, day is the 205th most common word in US English, [21] and the 210th most common in UK English. [21]

International System of Units (SI)

A day, symbol d, defined as 86,400 seconds, is not an SI unit, but is accepted for use with SI. [22] The second is the base unit of time in SI units.

In 1967–68, during the 13th CGPM (Resolution 1), [23] the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) redefined a second as

... the duration of 9 192 631 770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium 133 atom. [24]

This makes the SI-based day last exactly 794,243,384,928,000 of those periods.

There are 365.25 days in a Julian year.

Leap seconds

Mainly due to tidal effects, the Earth's rotational period is not constant, resulting in minor variations for both solar days and stellar "days". The Earth's day has increased in length over time due to tides raised by the Moon which slow Earth's rotation. Because of the way the second is defined, the mean length of a day is now about 86,400.002 seconds, and is increasing by about 1.7 milliseconds per century (an average over the last 2,700 years). The length of a day circa 620 million years ago has been estimated from rhythmites (alternating layers in sandstone) as having been about 21.9 hours.

In order to keep the civil day aligned with the apparent movement of the Sun, a day according to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) can include a negative or positive leap second. Therefore, although typically 86,400 SI seconds in duration, a civil day can be either 86,401 or 86,399 SI seconds long on such a day.

Leap seconds are announced in advance by the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS), which measures the Earth's rotation and determines whether a leap second is necessary.

Civil day

For civil purposes, a common clock time is typically defined for an entire region based on the local mean solar time at a central meridian. Such time zones began to be adopted about the middle of the 19th century when railroads with regularly occurring schedules came into use, with most major countries having adopted them by 1929. As of 2015, throughout the world, 40 such zones are now in use: the central zone, from which all others are defined as offsets, is known as UTC±00, which uses Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

The most common convention starts the civil day at midnight: this is near the time of the lower culmination of the Sun on the central meridian of the time zone. Such a day may be referred to as a calendar day.

A day is commonly divided into 24 hours of 60 minutes, with each minute composed of 60 seconds.

Decimal and metric time

In the 19th century, an idea circulated to make a decimal fraction (110,000 or 1100,000) of an astronomical day the base unit of time. This was an afterglow of the short-lived movement toward a decimalisation of timekeeping and the calendar, which had been given up already due to its difficulty in transitioning from traditional, more familiar units. The most successful alternative is the centiday , equal to 14.4 minutes (864 seconds), being not only a shorter multiple of an hour (0.24 vs 2.4) but also closer to the SI multiple kilosecond (1,000 seconds) and equal to the traditional Chinese unit, .

Longitudinal change

DateGeological periodNumber of days per year [25] Duration of the day
PresentCurrent36524 hours
- 100 million years Cretaceous 38023 hours and 20 minutes
- 200 million years Triassic 39022 hours and 40 minutes
- 300 million years Carboniferous 40022 hours
- 400 million years Devonian 41021 hours and 20 minutes
- 500 million years Cambrian 42520 hours and 40 minutes

Colloquial

The word refers to various similarly defined ideas, such as:

Full day
Daytime
Other

Boundaries

Sun and Moon, Hartmann Schedel's Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493 Sun and Moon Nuremberg chronicle.jpg
Sun and Moon, Hartmann Schedel's Nuremberg Chronicle , 1493

For most diurnal animals, the day naturally begins at dawn and ends at sunset. Humans, with their cultural norms and scientific knowledge, have employed several different conceptions of the day's boundaries. In the Hebrew Bible, Genesis 1:5 defines a day in terms of "evening" and "morning" before recounting the creation of a sun to illuminate it: "And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day." Common convention among the ancient Romans, [27] ancient Chinese [28] and in modern times is for the civil day to begin at midnight, i.e. 00:00, and to last a full 24 hours until 24:00 (i.e. 00:00 of the next day). In ancient Egypt the day was reckoned from sunrise to sunrise. The Jewish day begins at either sunset or nightfall (when three second-magnitude stars appear).

Medieval Europe also followed this tradition, known as Florentine reckoning: in this system, a reference like "two hours into the day" meant two hours after sunset and thus times during the evening need to be shifted back one calendar day in modern reckoning.[ citation needed ] Days such as Christmas Eve, Halloween, and the Eve of Saint Agnes are remnants of the older pattern when holidays began during the prior evening. Prior to 1926, Turkey had two time systems: Turkish (counting the hours from sunset) and French (counting the hours from midnight).

Validity of tickets, passes, etc., for a day or a number of days may end at midnight, or closing time, whichever occurs earlier. However, if a service (e.g., public transport) operates from for example, 06:00 to 01:00 the next day (which may be noted as 25:00[ citation needed ]), the last hour may well count as being part of the previous day. For services depending on the day ("closed on Sundays", "does not run on Fridays", and so on) there is a risk of ambiguity. For example, a day ticket on the Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Dutch Railways) is valid for 28 hours, from 00:00 to 28:00[ citation needed ] (that is, 4:00 the next day); the validity of a pass on Transport for London (TfL) services runs until the end of the "transport day" – that is to say, until 4:30 am on the day after the "expires" date stamped on the pass.

Midnight sun

In places which experience the midnight sun (polar day), daytime may extend beyond one 24-hour period and could even extend to months.

See also

Related Research Articles

The term ephemeris time can in principle refer to time in association with any ephemeris. In practice it has been used more specifically to refer to:

  1. a former standard astronomical time scale adopted in 1952 by the IAU, and superseded during the 1970s. This time scale was proposed in 1948, to overcome the disadvantages of irregularly fluctuating mean solar time. The intent was to define a uniform time based on Newtonian theory. Ephemeris time was a first application of the concept of a dynamical time scale, in which the time and time scale are defined implicitly, inferred from the observed position of an astronomical object via the dynamical theory of its motion.
  2. a modern relativistic coordinate time scale, implemented by the JPL ephemeris time argument Teph, in a series of numerically integrated Development Ephemerides. Among them is the DE405 ephemeris in widespread current use. The time scale represented by Teph is closely related to, but distinct from, the TCB time scale currently adopted as a standard by the IAU.

An equinox is traditionally defined as the time when the plane of Earth's equator passes through the geometric center of the Sun's disk. This occurs twice each year, around 20 March and 23 September. In other words, it is the moment at which the center of the visible Sun is directly above the equator.

Hour Unit of time equal to 60 minutes

An hour is a unit of time conventionally reckoned as 124 of a day and scientifically reckoned as 3,599–3,601 seconds, depending on conditions. There are 60 minutes in an hour, and 24 hours in a day.

Leap second Extra second inserted to keep civil time in sync with the Earths rotation

A leap second is a one-second adjustment that is occasionally applied to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), to accommodate the difference between precise time and imprecise observed solar time (UT1), which varies due to irregularities and long-term slowdown in the Earth's rotation. The UTC time standard, widely used for international timekeeping and as the reference for civil time in most countries, uses TAI and consequently would run ahead of observed solar time unless it is reset to UT1 as needed. The leap second facility exists to provide this adjustment.

Second SI unit of time

The second is the base unit of time in the International System of Units (SI), commonly understood and historically defined as 186400 of a day – this factor derived from the division of the day first into 24 hours, then to 60 minutes and finally to 60 seconds each. Analog clocks and watches often have sixty tick marks on their faces, representing seconds, and a "second hand" to mark the passage of time in seconds. Digital clocks and watches often have a two-digit seconds counter. The second is also part of several other units of measurement like meters per second for speed, meters per second per second for acceleration, and cycles per second for frequency.

Year Orbital period of the Earth around the Sun

A year is the orbital period of a planetary body, for example, the Earth, moving in its orbit around the Sun. Due to the Earth's axial tilt, the course of a year sees the passing of the seasons, marked by change in weather, the hours of daylight, and, consequently, vegetation and soil fertility. In temperate and subpolar regions around the planet, four seasons are generally recognized: spring, summer, autumn and winter. In tropical and subtropical regions, several geographical sectors do not present defined seasons; but in the seasonal tropics, the annual wet and dry seasons are recognized and tracked.

A time standard is a specification for measuring time: either the rate at which time passes or points in time or both. In modern times, several time specifications have been officially recognized as standards, where formerly they were matters of custom and practice. An example of a kind of time standard can be a time scale, specifying a method for measuring divisions of time. A standard for civil time can specify both time intervals and time-of-day.

Universal Time (UT) is a time standard based on Earth's rotation. There are several versions of Universal Time, which differ by up to a few seconds. The most commonly used are Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and UT1. All of these versions of UT, except for UTC, are based on Earth's rotation relative to distant celestial objects, but with a scaling factor and other adjustments to make them closer to solar time. UTC is based on International Atomic Time, with leap seconds added to keep it within 0.9 second of UT1.

Sidereal time Timekeeping system on Earth relative to the celestial sphere

Sidereal time is a timekeeping system that astronomers use to locate celestial objects. Using sidereal time, it is possible to easily point a telescope to the proper coordinates in the night sky. In short, sidereal time is a "time scale that is based on Earth's rate of rotation measured relative to the fixed stars", or more correctly, relative to the March equinox.

Solar time Calculation of elapsed time by the apparent position of the sun

Solar time is a calculation of the passage of time based on the position of the Sun in the sky. The fundamental unit of solar time is the day, based on the synodic rotation period. Two types of solar time are apparent solar time and mean solar time.

Night Period of darkness during a 24-hour day

Night is the period of ambient darkness from sunset to sunrise during each 24-hour day, when the Sun is below the horizon. The exact time when night begins and ends depends on the location and varies throughout the year, based on factors such as season and latitude.

The astronomical system of units, formerly called the IAU (1976) System of Astronomical Constants, is a system of measurement developed for use in astronomy. It was adopted by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in 1976 via Resolution No. 1, and has been significantly updated in 1994 and 2009.

Twilight Illumination of atmosphere when the Sun is not directly visible because it is below horizon

Twilight is the illumination of the lower atmosphere when the Sun is not directly visible because it is below the horizon. Twilight is produced by sunlight scattering in the upper atmosphere, illuminating the lower atmosphere so that Earth's surface is neither completely lit nor completely dark. The word twilight is also used to denote the periods of time when this illumination occurs.

Rotation period Time that it takes to complete one revolution relative to the background stars

The rotation period of a celestial object may refer to its sidereal rotation period, i.e. the time that the object takes to complete a single revolution around its axis of rotation relative to the background stars, measured in sidereal time. The other type of commonly used rotation period is the object's synodic rotation period, measured in solar time, which may differ by a fraction of a rotation or more than one rotation to accommodate the portion of the object's orbital period during one day.

Unit of time Measurement unit for time

A unit of time is any particular time interval, used as a standard way of measuring or expressing duration. The base unit of time in the International System of Units (SI) and by extension most of the Western world, is the second, defined as about 9 billion oscillations of the caesium atom. The exact modern definition, from the National Institute of Standards and Technology is: "The second, symbol s, is the SI unit of time. It is defined by taking the fixed numerical value of the cesium frequency ΔνCs, the unperturbed ground-state hyperfine transition frequency of the cesium 133 atom, to be 9192631770 when expressed in the unit Hz, which is equal to s−1."

Earths rotation Rotation of Earth around its axis

Earth's rotation or Earth's spin is the rotation of planet Earth around its own axis, as well as changes in the orientation of the rotation axis in space. Earth rotates eastward, in prograde motion. As viewed from the north pole star Polaris, Earth turns counterclockwise.

Sunrise equation Equation to derive time of sunset and sunrise

The sunrise equation can be used to derive the time of sunrise and sunset for any solar declination and latitude in terms of local solar time when sunrise and sunset actually occur. It is:

Daytime Period of a day in which a location experiences natural illumination

Daytime as observed on Earth is the period of the day during which a given location experiences natural illumination from direct sunlight. Daytime occurs when the Sun appears above the local horizon, that is, anywhere on the globe's hemisphere facing the Sun. In direct sunlight the movement of the sun can be recorded and observed using a sundial that casts a shadow that slowly moves during the day. Other planets and natural satellites that rotate relative to a luminous primary body, such as a local star, also experience daytime, but this article primarily discusses daytime on Earth.

A tropical year is the time that the Sun takes to return to the same position in the sky of a celestial body of the solar system such as the Earth, completing a full cycle of seasons; for example, the time from vernal equinox to vernal equinox, or from summer solstice to summer solstice. It is the time of a year as a unit of tropical solar calendars and calendar eras which use tropical solar calendars. The solar year is one type of astronomical year and particular orbital period..

Coordinated Universal Time Primary time standard

Coordinated Universal Time or UTC is the primary time standard by which the world regulates clocks and time. It is within about 1 second of mean solar time at 0° longitude and is not adjusted for daylight saving time. It is effectively a successor to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

References

  1. Weisstein, Eric W. (2007). "Day" . Retrieved 2011-05-31. The day is (roughly) defined as the time required for the Earth to complete a rotation.
  2. The conventional/popular definition of an hour equates it to one twenty-fourth of a day.
  3. Weisstein, Eric W. (2007). "Solar Day" . Retrieved 2011-05-31.
  4. BIPM (2014) [2006]. "Unit of time (second)". SI Brochure (8th ed.).
  5. "day – Definition of day in English by Oxford Dictionaries". Oxford Dictionaries – English.
  6. "day" via The Free Dictionary.
  7. "Definition of DAY". www.merriam-webster.com.
  8. Online Dictionary Definitions of "day".
  9. Online Dictionary Definitions of "daytime"
  10. The average over the last 50 years is about 86,400.002. The yearly average over that period has ranged between about 86,400 and 86,400.003, while the length of individual days has varied between about 86,399.999 and 86,400.004 seconds. See this graph:
    Deviation of day length from SI day.svg
    (data from "Earth Orientation Parameters". International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service. Archived from the original on April 26, 2015.).
  11. L. Holford-Stevens, The History of Time (Oxford 2005) p. 6
  12. Certain authors caution against identifying "day" with rotation period. For example: Courtney Seligman. "Rotation Period and Day Length" . Retrieved 2011-06-03. A Cautionary Note: Because the rotation period of the Earth is almost the same as the length of its day, we sometimes get a bit sloppy in discussing the rotation of the sky, and say that the stars rotate around us once each day. In a similar way, it is not unusual for careless people to mix up the rotation period of a planet with the length of its day, or vice versa.
  13. Griggs, Mary Beth (18 January 2019). "Shaky rings help scientists measure Saturn's days – Speedy planet". The Verge . Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  14. "Planetary Fact Sheet - Metric". nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov NASA . Archived from the original on 19 July 2012. Retrieved May 29, 2021.
  15. "Ceres Dwarf Planet". solarsystem.nasa.gov NASA . Retrieved May 29, 2021.
  16. "planets/dwarf-planets/ceres/in-depth". nasa.gov. Retrieved May 30, 2021.
  17. Tate, Karl (21 November 2012). "Dwarf Planets of Our Solar System (Infographic)". www.space.com . Retrieved May 30, 2021.
  18. 32′2 + 34′ = 50′
  19. 50°/60 ÷ 360° × 2(for sunrise and set) × 24 hours ≈ 7 min
  20. Mallory, James P.; Adams, Douglas Q. (2006). The Oxford Introduction to Proto-Indo-European and the Proto-Indo-European World. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. p. 124. ISBN   978-0-19-929668-2.
  21. 1 2 "English Words". Oxford Dictionaries Online (ODO). Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2015-10-17.
  22. BIPM (2014) [2006]. "Non-SI units accepted for use with the SI, and units based on fundamental constants". SI Brochure (8th ed.).
  23. "SI Unit of Time (Second)". Resolution 1 of the 13th CGPM (1967/68). Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM). Archived from the original on 2011-01-10. Retrieved 2015-10-17.
  24. "Unit of Time (Second)". SI Brochure: The International System of Units (SI) (8 ed.). Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM). 2014 [2006]. Retrieved 2015-10-17.
  25. J.Kovalesky Bureau des Longitudes (1969). "Paléo-Astronomie". L'Astronomie. 83: 411. Bibcode:1969LAstr..83..411K . Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  26. "Definition of NYCHTHEMERON". www.merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 2017-02-01.
  27. See Plutarch, Quaestiones Romanae, 84.
  28. s:zh:清史稿/卷48: 起子正,盡夜子初