Fascinating facts about time

Time. Something we all base our daily schedules around. Some have too much, some don’t have enough, but have you ever actually tried to get your head around the concept of time? In this day and age, it’s not only watch-wearers who are conscientious of timings. Following the industrial revolution, people became obsessed with times and schedules and they are now prevalent on objects we use every single day, such as laptops, phones and even microwaves.

Not many attempt to understand such a complex concept, and it can be a real brain-buster when you’re trying to figure it out. We’ve put together some fascinating facts about time, that hopefully won’t hurt your head too much!

Time can be simply defined…

Let’s start simple. The most basic and well-known definition of time is: ‘the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.’

Days are getting longer

When dinosaurs roamed the planet, there were known to be 370 days in a year, as opposed to the 364/5 we are aware of today. This is a result of the slowing of the Earth’s spin, with the moon’s gravity acting as a drag. Therefore, slowly but surely, the days are getting longer by approximately 1.7 milliseconds per century.

We are insignificant in relation to time

The universe itself is estimated to be around 13.8 billion years old. If we compressed the events through time into one year with the Big Bang occurring at one second past midnight on the 1st January, the dinosaurs would be wiped out on 29 December. Modern humans would not appear until 11.54pm on 31st December and Christopher Columbus would discover the Americas one second before midnight.

Time goes slower when you’re lower

According to Einstein’s theory of relativity, time passes faster on your head than it does for your feet, assuming you are standing in an upright position. This is because the closer you are to the centre of the Earth, the slower time goes and so a year at the top of Mount Everest would be about 15 microseconds shorter than a year at sea level. Those on the quest for a Fountain of Youth should keep a low profile, quite literally, to slow down time.

Time goes slower when you’re faster

Alternatively, time also goes more slowly the faster you move. For example, if you were to fly to the star Sirius at 99% of the speed of light, the people on Earth would have aged 17 years, whereas you would have only grown older by 2 and a half years. Certainly one way to impress at the next school reunion…return ticket to Sirius anyone?

Your watch will be inaccurate from the end of June

From June 30, your watch will be one second slow, thanks to the slowing of the Earth’s rotation. Days are getting longer, and thus the tradition 24-hour day is very slightly off, meaning the International Earth Rotation Service adds a second – known as a leap second – every June and December. The time is displayed upon digital clock faces as 23:59:60.

Days are not 24 hours long

A day is often defined as how long it takes for the earth to rotate on its axis. This is known to be 23 hours 56 minutes and 4.2 seconds. This means that there is 3 minutes and 55.8 seconds every day that is unaccounted for.

Contrary to popular belief, time doesn’t fly when you’re having fun

Despite the classic saying making a regular appearance in order to recognise the passing of time, a study showed that people felt like time passed slowly when listening to music that they enjoy. This is most likely a result of a slowdown in time perception, as people pay more attention to the things they enjoy.

The idea of daylight saving was formed after a joke made by Benjamin Franklin

Every March, you have to put your antique pocket watch an hour ahead and before changing it back when October comes around. Benjamin Franklin once joked that he would wake people up earlier on bright sunny mornings in order to get the most out of the working day. Whilst it was said in jest, Mr Franklin had a valid point, and it was introduced in the UK in 1917, before spreading across the rest of the world.