Time Zones of any region define and establish an appropriate time within individual countries and regions. They have a massive impact on communication, business, and world management. The time zones of different areas obey a specific set of rules, referring to the geographical principles of longitude.
The Greenwich Meridian is considered the epicenter in determining the time zone. The distance east or west from it adds or takes an hour. When the scientific model of standard time is taken into consideration, the zone covers every 15 degrees of the longitude. As the longitude is the geographical coordinate of the point on the Earth regarding the directions, it also helps to reflect the impact of the sun. Specifically, if the earth rotates 360 degrees in 24 hours, it takes 15 degrees per hour.
How Many Time Zones Does the World Have?
The world is divided into 24 time zones. The course of one day breaks down to seconds and is calculated to determine the suitable time of a particular place. But the task is no cakewalk. The 24 time zones, created according to each hour of the day, are drawn vertically like longitudes over the globe. UTC or the Coordinated Universal Time is used to regulate dates and times worldwide.
Here are the highlights about the UTC:
- UTC is a close variant of the Greenwich Mean Time or GMT at 0-degree longitude and is defined by the International Telecommunications Union Recommendation, the Standard-frequency, and time-signal emissions. It is further based on the International Atomic Time.
- According to the UTC, leap seconds are added to days at regular intervals. This science covers up for the slowing rotation of our planet.
- The UTC has pointed the time zones using positive and negative offsets to have GMT as the median.
- The easternmost time zone remains 12 hours behind the UTC. It makes use of UTC-12 as its time tag. On the contrary, the westernmost time zone takes a time tag of UTC+12.
All the countries worldwide have different shapes and sizes. Some of them are big, hence they use 11 time zones to cover the entire nation. On the other hand, some are fine with using only one standard time for all the regions. The size of the country is not the only deciding factor to have multiple time zones. Many countries comprise territories and offshore colonies coming under other time zones than their own.
Countries with the Most Numbers of Time Zones
France has the most number of time zones (12). It is because the country has numerous overseas territories. The official time for Metropolitan France is set as GMT+1. The time zones in its international territories vary between UTC-10:00 in most regions of French Polynesia and include UTC+12:00 in the territories of Futuna and Wallis.
Europe Time Zones
The present time system of Europe includes three different time zones, except Summer Time. Europe refers to Central European Time, Eastern European Time, and Western European Time.
United States Time Zones
The United States has the most number of time zones after France. According to the legal system, subject to the law, there are Atlantic, Eastern, Mountain, Central, Pacific, Hawaii-Aleutian, Alaska, Samoa, and Chamorro zones in America.
All these time zones span within the boundaries of the US and refer to offsets ranging from UTC-11 to UTC-4. Some of these time zones apply to small territories only. Overall, the United States of America is subject to six time zones – Eastern (UTC-5), Central (UTC-6), Mountain (UTC-7), Pacific (UTC-8), Alaska (UTC-9), and Hawaii-Aleutian (UTC-10).
Asia Time Zones
Compared to other continents of the world, the area and population of Asia are large. It makes the issue of time zones is even more vital in the continent. Russia, China, and India entertain the most extensive indicators of population and territory. The countries in Asia also offer compelling cases of using UTC, having the offset in minutes and not in hours.
Despite the peculiarities, the time zones in the continent are characterized by the administrative and political needs of its countries and states. Out of all the Asian countries, Russia has the highest number of time zones (11).
Australia Time Zones
Australia is the sixth-largest country worldwide, having the third-highest number of time zones (8). The southern continent of Oceania is characterized by the landmass of Australia and the islands it takes under national territory.
How Are Time Zones Regulated?
Regulating time zones of all the countries is a tedious practice. It is a task to provide countries with proper timekeeping throughout the globe. Therefore, many organizations come together as the in-charge of this duty.
For instance, two federal agencies have the responsibility to provide timekeeping services to the United States of America, namely the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as well as the United States Naval Observatory (USNO). Both these organizations ensure to keep all the clocks synchronized and the time updated for the people.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) also plays a vital role in timekeeping in many parts of the world. It is because transport is highly affected by the changes in time. Thanks to technological advancements, it has become easy to move from one time zone to another within a couple of hours. This system, however, is complicated and requires meticulous regulation to help avoid any confusion or misinterpretation.
The coordinated time scale is also maintained by the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM). It is an international organization established by the Metre Convention. Another institution to maintain global time and reference frame standards is the International Earth Rotation and Reference System (IERS). It uses Earth Orientation Parameter (EOP) and International Celestial Reference System (ICRS) groups to regulate the time zones.
The idea of time zones is not older than a century. It has proved extremely useful for international politics, businesses, and economies. After all, it is impossible to function without time. The next time toy plan to tour to a different country, considering time zone of that region is a must.
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