Greenwich Mean Time

For alternate meanings of "GMT", see GMT (disambiguation).

Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is the mean solar time at the Royal Greenwich Observatory in Greenwich near London in England, which by convention is at 0 degrees geographic longitude. Theoretically, noon Greenwich Mean Time is the moment when the Sun crosses the Greenwich meridian (and reaches its highest point in the sky in Greenwich). Because of the Earth's uneven speed in its elliptic orbit, this event may be up to 16 minutes off apparent solar time (this discrepancy is known as the equation of time); but this is averaged out over the year through the use of the mean sun.

Missing image
Time zones of Europe, Blue UTC WET GMT, Red CET/MET, Green EET, Khaki MSK

With the growth of Britain as a maritime nation, mariners kept their timepieces on GMT in order to calculate their longtitude "from the Greenwich meridian." This did not affect ship-board time itself, which was still solar time. This, combined with mariners from other nations drawing from Nevil Maskelyne's method of lunar distances based on observations at Greenwich, eventually led to GMT being used world-wide as a reference time independent of location. Although not affecting the local time directly, most time zones were based upon this reference as a number of hours and half-hours "ahead of GMT" or "behind GMT".

Hourly time signals from Greenwich Observatory were first broadcast on February 5, 1924.

The daily rotation of the Earth is somewhat irregular (see ΔT) and is slowing down. Atomic clocks represent a much more stable timebase. On January 1, 1972, GMT was replaced as the international time reference by Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), maintained by an ensemble of atomic clocks around the world. UT1 was introduced to represent "earth rotation time". Leap seconds are added to or subtracted from UTC to keep it within 0.9 seconds of UT1.

Although civil time, e.g., the Greenwich Time Signal in the United Kingdom, is now based on UTC, it is still popularly (though erroneously) called GMT. It is also called Western European Time (WET).

Those countries marked in dark blue on the map at right use European Summer Time and advance their clock one hour in the summer. In the UK, this is known as British Summer Time (BST); in Ireland it is called Irish Summer Time (IST). Those countries marked in light blue keep their clocks on UTC (GMT/WET) all year round.

See also

External Links

  • [1] ( NIST - World Time Scales
  • [2] ( International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Servicede:GMT

es:Greenwich Mean Time eo:GMT fr:Greenwich Mean Time id:GMT it:GMT he:שעון גריניץ' nl:Greenwich Mean Time ja:時刻系 no:Greenwich Mean Time pl:Czas uniwersalny pt:GMT ru:Время гринвичского меридиана sl:GMT sv:GMT zh:格林尼治標準時間


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