The passage of time

Greenwich Meridian at former RAF base East Kirkby

Greenwich Meridian at former RAF base East Kirkby

We only need an accurate measure of time because we travel.

Everywhere had local time, time set by the sundial, clocks and watches set by the church clock or town hall.

When we travel, we travel through time and space.

With the fastest mode of travel by stagecoach, which was measured in days, not hours, local time was ok. With the arrival of steam trains hurtling along at the unheard of 80 mph there was a need for a universal time, railway time, for accurate timetables. The station clock, or the station master’s pocket watch, was now the time by which time was set.

Travel by ship needed an accurate time piece by which to measure longitude.

We measure time by change. The burning of a candle, dripping of water, swinging of a pendulum, vibration of a quartz crystal.

The vibration of a quartz crystal varies with the voltage across the crystal and its temperature. For very accurate clocks, the voltage is stabilized and the temperature controlled.

In the 1970s I was making very accurate measurements and was using atomic clocks.

Atomic clocks are so accurate that as with leap years and extra days, we have to add leap seconds to account for the earth’s rotation.

The astronauts in the Space Station circle the earth once every forty minutes, They use GMT.

GMT, Greenwich Mean Time, referenced to the Greenwich Meridian that runs through Greenwich.

Travel on a plane as the sun is setting, and you can experience the sun set over an extended period, often dipping and rising.

We can be outside of time, time can stand still.

We are outside of time when we meditate.

When I was with my lovely Russian friend Lena time stood still.

In Aleph, Paulo Coelho discusses the aleph where time and space meet at a point.

Sometimes we have no time for the things that matter.

We only exist in the present, the past no longer exists, the future has yet to happen.

Time did not always exist. Time came into existence at the time the universe was created. Before then there was no time.

Tonight, strictly speaking 2am Sunday morning, clocks go back one hour from BST (British Summer Time) to GMT.

We go forward in the spring to give an extra hour in the evening. But in the summer, we have extra hours in the evening. In the winter, when we have less time in the evening, the clocks go back, gving us even less time, making the nights long and dark, with it getting dark early evening.

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