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What is UTC and why was it created

May 19, 2024~2 mins read time

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The what.

Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) is the standard for regulating clocks and time. It doesn't observe daylight saving time and remains the same year-round, regardless of geographic location; serving as the reference for time zones worldwide.

The Why.

Air and Space travel and Computers needed a way to time-keep that actually made sense. UTC was officially adopted on January 1, 1960, replacing Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) as the global standard.

Lesser Known Facts About UTC

  1. Atomic Precision: UTC is incredibly precise, thanks to atomic clocks. These clocks use the vibrations of cesium atoms to keep time, deviating by just one second in millions of years.
  2. Leap Seconds: To keep UTC in sync with the Earth's rotation, which isn't perfectly constant, leap seconds are occasionally added. This adjustment ensures that our timekeeping remains accurate in relation to the position of the sun.
  3. Global Coordination: UTC is used in aviation, maritime navigation, internet and telecommunications networks, and even in financial markets to timestamp transactions accurately across different time zones.
  4. The Name Game: The abbreviation "UTC" was chosen as a compromise between English ("Coordinated Universal Time") and French ("Temps Universel Coordonné") to avoid favoring one language over the other.
  5. 24-Hour Clock: UTC operates on a 24-hour clock, eliminating the confusion of AM and PM, which is particularly useful for international communications and operations.

In a world that never stops moving, UTC is the silent conductor, ensuring that everything runs smoothly and on time. So, next time you check the time, take a moment to appreciate the intricate system that keeps our world in sync.

Avoid the time zone confusion by using our free and visual time zone convertor here.

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Sofia Kyriazidi


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