While you celebrated a new year, half the world was still stuck in 202115 min readReading Time: 8 minutes
Part 2 of this story is available. Click on the next page at the bottom of this article.
10, 9, 8, 7, … and the clock strikes midnight. Cue the firecrackers! You are overjoyed. You made it through yet another roller-coaster of a year, and you can’t wait to see what comes next.
Oh no! You burst them far too early. It’s still light outside, and the clock that you see on TV is, in fact, in New Zealand. And you should know that while someone in New Zealand is busy bringing in the New Year, you should still be able to see bright sunlight in the early hours of New Year’s Eve, 2021. So, why is time different for all of us across the globe, and how different is it? Let’s find out.
First, why don’t you give this quiz a go yourself to settle the debate once and for all? Are you really an all-knowing genius?
Okay… you got it. The reason that the time is different across the globe is the Earth’s rotation. As the Earth rotates, different parts of the planet receive sunlight or darkness, giving us day and night. As your neighbourhood rotates into the sunlight, you see the sunrise. When your neighbourhood rotates out of sunlight, you see the sunset. Thanks to rotation, while it may be Daylight in New Delhi, California could still be facing its angry back to the Sun.
But Why? Imagine for a moment that the time was the same across the globe. It would be midnight at noon at someplace, and 3am could be mid-afternoon someplace else! Confusing right? That’s why we humans stepped in and simplified things with 24 longitudinal lines that split the globe into 26 hours… Ummm what?
Well, we tried to simplify things. The Earth takes 24 hours to rotate, so we split the planet into 24 slivers known as time zones. And, as one moves past these slivers, they move up or down an hour. Thanks to that, the Sun rises in the morning and sets in the night, everywhere.
England in the United Kingdom is the central time in relation to which all time is measured. You can either be ahead or behind the time at the Prime Meridian (longitude 0) in Greenwich. This base time is known as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
Despite India being so large, the whole country falls under one time zone.
But simplification isn’t really human’s forte. Humans wanted to shift the lines for their own convenience. Some wanted their whole country in a single time zone, while others wanted to shift into neighbouring time zones. So here we have them, 39 time pockets that separate the world by 26 hours.
If each time zone were 1 hour apart, there would be 24 in the world. But several time zones have only 30 and 45 minutes offsets, making the total number worldwide much higher.
Watch this video to understand Time Zones and the history of changing times a little better.
Wow! you just spent quite some time on time. Take a break and when you return remember to head to the next page to trace 2022’s path into our lives.