Local mean time

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The equation of time -- above the axis a sundial will appear fast relative to a clock showing local mean time, and below the axis a sundial will appear slow. Equation of time.svg
The equation of time — above the axis a sundial will appear fast relative to a clock showing local mean time, and below the axis a sundial will appear slow.

Local mean time is a form of solar time that corrects the variations of local apparent time, forming a uniform time scale at a specific longitude. This measurement of time was used for everyday use during the 19th century before time zones were introduced beginning in the late 19th century; it still has some uses in astronomy and navigation. [1]

Contents

Past use

Local mean time was used from the early 19th century, when local solar time or sundial time was last used until standard time was adopted on various dates in the several countries. Each town or city kept its own meridian. This led to a situation where locations one degree of longitude apart had times four minutes apart. [2] This became a problem in the mid 19th century when railways needed clocks that were synchronized between stations, at the same time as people needed to match their clock (or the church clock) to the time tables. Standard time means that the same time is used throughout some region—usually, it was either offset from Greenwich Mean Time or was the local mean time of the capital of the region. The difference between local mean time and local apparent time is the equation of time.

See also

Related Research Articles

Greenwich Mean Time time zone

Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is the mean solar time at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London, reckoned from midnight. At different times in the past, it has been calculated in different ways, including being calculated from noon; as a consequence, it cannot be used to specify a precise time unless a context is given.

Time zone Region on Earth that has a uniform standard time for legal, commercial, and social purposes

A time zone is a region of the globe that observes a uniform standard time for legal, commercial and social purposes. Time zones tend to follow the boundaries of countries and their subdivisions instead of strictly following longitude because it is convenient for areas in close commercial or other communication to keep the same time.

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 time standard

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. Briefly, sidereal time is a "time scale that is based on Earth's rate of rotation measured relative to the fixed stars".

Sundial Device that tells the time of day by the apparent position of the Sun in the sky

A sundial is a device that tells the time of day when there is sunlight by the apparent position of the Sun in the sky. In the narrowest sense of the word, it consists of a flat plate and a gnomon, which casts a shadow onto the dial. As the Sun appears to move across the sky, the shadow aligns with different hour-lines, which are marked on the dial to indicate the time of day. The style is the time-telling edge of the gnomon, though a single point or nodus may be used. The gnomon casts a broad shadow; the shadow of the style shows the time. The gnomon may be a rod, wire, or elaborately decorated metal casting. The style must be parallel to the axis of the Earth's rotation for the sundial to be accurate throughout the year. The style's angle from horizontal is equal to the sundial's geographical latitude.

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. Two types of solar times are apparent solar time and mean solar time.

International Meridian Conference

The International Meridian Conference was a conference held in October 1884 in Washington, D.C., in the United States, to determine a prime meridian for international use. The conference was held at the request of U.S. President Chester A. Arthur. The subject to discuss was the choice of "a meridian to be employed as a common zero of longitude and standard of time reckoning throughout the world". It resulted in the recommendation of the Greenwich Meridian as the international standard for zero degrees longitude.

Noon 12 oclock in the daytime

Noon is 12 o'clock in the daytime, as opposed to midnight. It is written as 12 noon, 12 p.m. or 12 pm.

Equation of time apparent solar time minus mean solar time

The equation of time describes the discrepancy between two kinds of solar time. The word equation is used in the medieval sense of "reconcile a difference". The two times that differ are the apparent solar time, which directly tracks the diurnal motion of the Sun, and mean solar time, which tracks a theoretical mean Sun with uniform motion. Apparent solar time can be obtained by measurement of the current position of the Sun, as indicated by a sundial. Mean solar time, for the same place, would be the time indicated by a steady clock set so that over the year its differences from apparent solar time would have a mean of zero.

Alaska Time Zone time zone observing UTC -9 during standard time and UTC -8 during daylight saving time

The Alaska Time Zone observes standard time by subtracting nine hours from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC−09:00). During daylight saving time its time offset is eight hours (UTC−08:00). The clock time in this zone is based on mean solar time at the 135th meridian west of the Greenwich Observatory.

Time in the United States Timekeeping in the USA

Time in the United States, by law, is divided into nine standard time zones covering the states, territories and other US possessions, with most of the United States observing daylight saving time (DST) for approximately the spring, summer, and fall months. The time zone boundaries and DST observance are regulated by the Department of Transportation. Official and highly precise timekeeping services (clocks) are provided by two federal agencies: the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) ; and the United States Naval Observatory (USNO). The clocks run by these services are kept synchronized with each other as well as with those of other international timekeeping organizations.

Standard time The synchronization of clocks within a geographical area or region

Standard time is the synchronization of clocks within a geographical area or region to a single time standard, rather than using solar time or a locally chosen meridian (longitude) to establish a local mean time standard. Generally, standard time agrees with the local mean time at some meridian that passes through the region, often near the center of the region. Historically, the concept was established during the 19th century to aid weather forecasting and train travel. Applied globally in the 20th century, the geographical areas became extended around evenly spaced meridians into time zones which (usually) centered on them. The standard time set in each time zone has come to be defined in terms of offsets from Universal Time. In regions where daylight saving time is used, that time is defined by another offset, from the standard time in its applicable time zones.

Timekeeping on Mars

Various schemes have been used or proposed for timekeeping on the planet Mars independently of Earth time and calendars.

The time in China follows a single standard time offset of UTC+08:00, despite China spanning five geographical time zones. The official national standard time is called Beijing Time domestically and China Standard Time (CST) internationally. Daylight saving time has not been observed since 1991.

In Norway the standard time is the Central European Time (UTC+01:00). Norway observes Summer Time. The transition dates are the same as for other European countries.

Seconds pendulum Pendulum whose period is precisely two seconds

A seconds pendulum is a pendulum whose period is precisely two seconds; one second for a swing in one direction and one second for the return swing, a frequency of 1/2 Hz.

Nautical time refers to the systems used by ships on high seas to express their local time. Nautical time keeping dates back to the early 20th century as a standard way to keep time at sea, although it largely only applied to military fleets pre-World War 2. This time-keeping method is only used for radio communications and to account for slight inaccuracies that using Greenwich Standard Time (GST) may lead to during navigation of the high seas. Nautical time zones are split into one hour intervals for every 15 degree change in a ship's longitudinal coordinate. This is typically only used for trans-oceanic travel, as captains will often not change the timekeeping for short distances such as channels or inland seas.

A tropical year is the time that the Sun takes to return to the same position in the cycle of seasons, as seen from Earth; for example, the time from vernal equinox to vernal equinox, or from summer solstice to summer solstice. This differs from the time it takes Earth to complete one full orbit around the Sun as measured with respect to the fixed stars by about 20 minutes because of the precession of the equinoxes.

Coordinated Universal Time Primary time standard

Coordinated Universal Time 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. Urban, Sean E.; Seidelmann, P. Kenneth (2013). Explanatory Supplement to the Astronomical Almanac (3rd ed.). Mill Valley, CA: University Science Books. pp. 13, 231, 239.
  2. Finch, Vernor C., Glenn T. Trewartha, M. H. Shearer, and Frederick L. Caudle (1943). Elementary Meteorology. McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. p. 17. ASIN   B005F644PG.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)