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What is a Time Zone? – Introduction, and More


Time Zone

Time Zone is a modern invention. Before the creation of standard time zones, each place had its own time. Although, With the spread of the telegraph and the construction of rail networks in the 19th and also early 20th centuries, communication and also travel took on new dimensions and new challenges. The lack of time standardization made it difficult to coordinate train schedules on predominantly single-track lines; signalling at the wrong time can lead to fatal collisions.

The British already had standardized time. In 1847, the National Railroad Clearing Union mandated the use of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) at all railroad stations. The British Post transmitted time signals from Greenwich by telegraph to most of the country for clock setting.

Since 1875, Cleveland Abbe, an astronomer, meteorologist and also the first head of the US Weather Bureau, lobbied the American Meteorological Society (AMS) for uniform standard time.

In October 1884, the International Conference on Meridians was held in Washington, D.C. “to establish an appropriate meridian to be used as the common zero of longitude and the standard of reference of time throughout the world.”

The standard timekeeping system associated with this time zone arrangement was formally established by the U.S. Congress in March 1918.

On January 1, 1960, Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), the international basis for civil and scientific time, was introduced. Although, The unit of UTC is the atomic second.

The UTC replaced Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), based on the movement of the Earth, as the world time standard in 1972.

What is a Time Zone?

A time zone is an area that uses the same standard time for legal, economic, and social purposes. Standard time zones are 15 degrees longitude wide.

Ideally, a time zone is one of 24 spherical Mondays (a section of the globe in the north/south direction) of the same width (15 degrees), each of which corresponds to one of the 24 hours (together they make one day and one revolution of the Earth).).

Usually, each section maintains a single standard time to follow the day and night cycle. This means that people in every geographic region in a time zone use the same time.

All these zones, defined by a UTC offset of several hours (from UTC-12 to UTC+14), are centred on the original meridian (0°; since 1884, the Greenwich meridian [1]).

Current usage of time zones tends to follow country and subdivision boundaries more often than standard parallels because it is convenient to keep the same time in nearby economic or political areas. For instance, most of Alaska uses Alaska Time, which spans 3 standard time zones. Although, The state used two time zones until 1983 when the capital city of Juneau ended up in the same time zone as more crowded Anchorage and also Fairbanks.

China spans 4 time zones but uses only one. Although, The time variance between Bangkok (Thailand) and also Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) is one hour. Since both capitals have almost the same longitude.

US Time Zones

The time zone map shows the six time zones in the United States, with a series of clocks showing the actual time in different time zones.

US Daylight Savings Time

In the United States, daylight saving time starts at 2 am. m. on the second Sunday of March and also ends at 2 am. m. the first Sunday of November. Two states do not observe daylight saving time, are Arizona and Hawaii.

US Time Zone Map

The map shows the 6 time zones into which the United States is divided. The US 50 states span eight standard time zones, from -4 to -11 UTC (GMT). The US has six designated time zones; and four time zones in the adjacent United States.

US Time Zones

US time zones (from west to east):

• Hawaiian-Aleutian time zone

The Aleutian Islands, a limb of Alaska, and also the Hawaiian Islands in Pacific Ocean are 3,750 km (2,330 miles) apart, but are the same length.

Hawaiian-Aleutian Standard Time (HST) UTC – 10 hours; Hawaii does not observe daylight saving time.

The Aleutian Islands of Alaska observe Hawaiian-Aleutian Daylight Time (HDT) UTC – 9:00.

• Alaska time zone

Alaska is located in the extreme northwest of North America and has no borders with any other US state.

Alaska Standard Time (AKST) UTC – 9:00 AM; Alaska Summer Light (AKDT) UTC – 8 hours.

• Adjacent US time zones.

48 states

• Pacific Time Zone (PT)

Pacific Standard Time (PST) UTC – 8 hours; Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) UTC – 7 hours

• Mountain time zone (MT)

Mountain Standard Time (MST) UTC – 7 hours; Mountain Daylight Time (MDT) UTC – 6 hours.

• Central Time Zone (CT) or Central Standard Time (CST)

6 hours; Central Daylight Time (CDT) UTC – 5 hours

• Eastern Time Zone (ET)

Eastern Standard Time (EST) UTC – 5 hours; Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) UTC – 4 hours

The US states with more than one-time zone.

You can perceive on the time zone map, the 15 US states have more than one time zone.

Learn More About Time Zones

Time Zones – One of the powerful forces behind the development of time zones increased, the use of faster modes of transport in the late 19th and also early 20th centuries. Thus, In the US, most of the national rail network was built by 1900.

As you know, the Earth is a sphere supplied by the sun with light and heat. Due to the sphere-shaped of the Earth, the sun’s rays are strongest where it is closest to the Sun.

According to ancient tradition, when the sun is at its highest point on earth, it is noon, noon, and lunchtime.

Since the earth rotates around its axis, in other parts of the globe it is not noon, but morning, afternoon or night.

Before the Industrial Revolution, when agriculture and crafts dominated life, the timing of planting, fertilizing, and harvesting was important.

With advances in technology and science, and as the world got closer with faster and faster means of transportation such as steamboats and railroads, people began to think about how to control the problem of time.


However, the impetus for the introduction of unified time did not come only from the railways. Astronomers and geophysicists seeking simultaneous observations from disparate geographic locations have long argued for uniform weather.
Prior to the introduction of time zones, there were between 140 and 300 local time zones in North America. As the story goes, Sandford Fleming’s lost train in Ireland finally created a coordinated universal time for the entire planet.

Fleming, a Scottish-born Canadian engineer, it was one of the bests in the development of the worldwide timing system. He proposed a structure of time zones in 1879 and thus presented it at various international conferences.

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