What is the Time?

Since this blog is all about time, it might be useful to try and explain what time is. Unfortunately, that is not as easy as it sounds, and it has been the subject of debate between philosophers, theologians and physicists for centuries. The difficulty is we can’t see time, we can’t measure it directly, and we can’t start or stop it. The best we can do is to count regular events. For example we can count days or pendulum swings to indirectly measure the passage of time. However, the earth is both slowing down and wobbling on its axis, meaning the length of a day isn’t as constant as we might hope.

Secondly, the answer to the question “what time is it?” depends on us all agreeing on a known starting point. If the answer is 5pm, then you need to know when 12 noon was to understand the answer. There is no such thing as time without a reference.

This is where the theologians got involved – if a starting point is required, what better than to make it a theologically significant event? Hence the Gregorian calendar is based on years since the birth of Christ, and the Islamic calendar is based on lunar months since the Hijra. Scientists have since determined that neither the earth or moon is particular good timekeeper and now use the atomic resonance of a Caesium atom, but the roots of the modern scientific timescale, UTC, still reflect the starting point defined by the Gregorian calendar.

For further information, a white paper called “What is time?” is available on our website here.

Tim Frost
Strategic Technology Manager, Calnex Solutions.

Recent Blogs

Related Blogs

Four Boardroom Members

How to Optimise Your IT Network and Spend

Feb 06, 2019
Network emulation can be a key tool to overcome barriers in getting the most out of your…
4884 Read more

Responding to IT Network Issues

Jan 22, 2019
If simple remedial scripts are not enough to fix an IT network issue, a more…
5510 Read more

Keeping Audiences 'In the Moment'

Nov 16, 2018
Today’s broadcast audiences are seeking more. They want user defined, on demand content.…
1846 Read more

Archived Blogs

1644 More
1831 More

Timing not Telecoms

Nov 08, 2016
1225 More

5G Coming Soon

Aug 22, 2016
1232 More

What is 1588 PTP?

Aug 04, 2016
1651 More

5G on the Horizon

Aug 01, 2016
1262 More
1253 More

What is a PTP Clock?

Apr 09, 2016
1548 More

What is Time Error?

Oct 21, 2015
1255 More

LTE-A & VoLTE Rollout

Sep 22, 2015
1199 More

LTE Picks Up Speed

Aug 22, 2015
1181 More

Mobile and Sync

Aug 22, 2015
1175 More

What is SyncE?

Aug 22, 2015
2402 More
1307 More

Microwave Update

Aug 22, 2015
1278 More

Unravelling Standards

Aug 22, 2015
1254 More

Partial Progress?

Aug 22, 2015
1172 More

Interpreting ITU

Aug 22, 2015
1192 More

Confusion Rules!

Aug 22, 2015
1244 More

Basestations Need Sync

Aug 22, 2015
1238 More

ITSF 2015 Edinburgh

Aug 22, 2015
1185 More

India to Follow China?

Aug 07, 2015
1198 More

Click your area of interest below for more tutorials and real-world case studies.