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Why Accurate Time, and therefore Atomic Time Zone are so important...
If you're here, it's most likely because you're asking the question, why is accurate time keeping so important? Well, I'm going to answer that question.
Have you ever tried passing your day without knowing what time it was? That is a hard task. Whether you need to know the time of a meeting, the time of a rendevous, the time of dinner, lunch, etc, it's really hard not knowing the time. I didn't say it was impossible.
New Years is possibly the most important few seconds in the world to many people. They might also like to know, that even watching live TV, they're watching with a delay of a few seconds. But then, they knew that right?
To put it simply, even if you don't need to know the time of day, the world does. The Economy depends on time. The stock markets open and close, and trading revolves around time. Accurate Time became a must for the world, and now Atomic Clocks run on every continent for the sole purpose of keeping the time, and clocks synched.
Your average wrist watch quartz digital clock is accurate to within a second every 10 days. Don't adjust it for a month, and you've already lost a few seconds. When sending data over a phone line, navigation by satellites, accurate time keeping for databases and the stock market, however more precision is required.
Actually, it is ironic, because without accurate time, you wouldn't even be viewing this web page. During the transfer, each piece of data, each letter I typed, was sent, and received correctly, by time precision. Telecommunications rely on accurate timing to ensure that the switches routing digital signals through their networks all run at the same rate. Without such precision, you would not have received this page after your request. Even more ironically, we as humans are becoming more reliant on Atomically correct time because of the such precise nature of the inventions we create.
Most of the cruise liners on the ocean today navigate via GPS satellite. Global Positioning Satellites would not be possible if it were not for the Atomic Clocks they rely on. By looking at the signal from four (or more) satellites, the userís global position can be determined. To do this, time has to be incredibly accurate as light travels thirty centimetres in one nanosecond (or 300 million metres in a second!) so that any tiny error in the time signal could put you off course by a very long way. This system has proved particularly effective during sea rescue operations and in situations such as Arctic expeditions where navigating by traditional landmarks and signposts is impossible.
Need for accurate time 1, no need 0. So if time accuracy is so important, who maintains it? Well, there are currently over 40 Time Laboratories around the world, and the "master time" of the world is based on the average of more than 260 Atomic Clocks. That diversity provides both safety (a single clock in an earthquake zone would not be a good idea for example) and accessibility (each major industrial nation contributes to the time standard, and hence has direct access to the atomic clocks). In the UK, it is the National Physical Laboratory that maintains and develops the national time standard. The group of atomic clocks at NPL keep the UKís time accurate to within one second in three million years which means that the error in a day or a week is minuscule - actually super nano tiny.
The United States Time Standard is run by our National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). NPL, and NIST both broadcast the time freely by radio. The Global Positioning System gets its time from the US Naval Observatory in Washington, which gets its time, like NPL, from participating in the international time standard.
The worlds time signals are not only accurate, but reliable. Daily Flights, operations by sea, telephones, and the internet would not function if it were not for accurate atomic clocks.
Now, internet users such as yourself can set your computer clock (and if you want, your average wrist watch every 10 days) using our Software, Atomic Time Zone. We think time is so important, we'll give you 15 days to try our Software. Even if you don't like having accurate time - the rest of the world does, and we'll keep track of it for you.
Take a walk through time...
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