Jim Doty - Photo Blog

Photography: Photos, News, and Tips
Thursday, January 22, 2004

Thai Dancer, Photo (c) Jim Doty, Jr.

What Time Is It?

Even though Papeete, Tahiti is slightly east of Anchorage, Alaska in longitude, and the sun rises earlier in Papeete, it is one hour behind Anchorage in clock time. Why? I don't know, but it is.

When it is 10 AM in Anchorage, it is only 9 AM in Papeete. I discoverd this on the World Clock at TimeandDate.com. It not only tells you what time it is anywhere in the world, you can go backward or forward in time, pick any location, date, and time and it will tell you what time it will be, or was, everywhere else in the world.

This site is not ultra precise. That is to say, it can vary from UTC (Universal Time Coordinated in Greenwich England) by a few seconds, but it is close enough for most people's purposes. If you want to call a friend in Kathmandu, it is nice to know they are 5 hours and 45 minutes ahead of UTC (Kathmandu is not in any standard time zone).

You can create you own personal time clock with different cities around the world. Other helpful features are multi-time-zone meeting planners, calendars, time counters and more. Type in the year you were born and look at the calendar for that year.

This interesting site can be found here.

On to part two of this article.

What Day Is It?, Photo (c) Jim Doty, Jr.

If you are really curious, pick the "USA" version of the calendar, go to the year 1752 and look at the month of September. Surprised?!

That is no mistake. Eleven days are missing from September.

Due to problems with the old Julian calendar system (dating back to 46 B.C. and Julius Ceasar), things had gotten out of kilter. By the 1500's mother nature and the calendar were off by 11 days. Due to an 11 minute and 14 second discrepancy (doesn't sound like much) between the "average length of a calendar year" (figuring leap years into the equasion) and the actual time it takes for the earth to go around the sun, things had been getting out of sync by about 3 days every four centuries. If things were not changed, Easter (on the calendar) would eventually occur early in winter. The first day of summer would occur when it always does in relation to the earth's journey around the sun, but the calendars would read September not June. Something had to be done.

Pope Gregory instituted two calendar reforms. In 1582, October 4 was followed by October 15, dropping 10 days out of the year to re-align the calendar with the actual seasons. Century years (1700, 1800, 1900, and so on), were changed from leap centuries (29 days in February) to non-leap centuries unless they were divisible by 400. 1600 and 2000 were leap centuries, but 1700, 1800, and 1900 were not.

Catholic countries made the changes immediately. Countries that were predominantly Protestant or Eastern Orhtodox did not make the changes until 170 years later.

By decree of parliament, England and the colonies made the much needed changes in 1752. In that year, September 2 was followed by September 14. People rioted, demanding their 11 days back.

Russia kept the old Julian calendar until the Bolshevik revolution in the 20th century. By then, they had to drop 13 days out of their calendar to get in step with the rest of the world.


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