So what exactly is time…..well, according to the Oxford English Dictionary it’s the measured or measurable period during which an action, process, or condition exists or continues. Try explaining that to the average Joe!

As it’s such a complicated science we thought it might be a bit of fun to lighten the load and share a few of the more interesting, and fun facts associated with time.

Living in the past

It’s not a plot for some kind of sci-fi, time travel movie, it’s actually a fact of human biology and the trickiness of time. Our brains don’t perceive events until about 80 milliseconds after they’ve actually happened. This fine line between the present and the past is part of the reason why some physicists argue that there is no such thing as “now” and that the present moment is no more than an illusion.

Fast or slow

You’ve probably noticed how time seems to speed up when you’re racing against a deadline or having fun and how it tends to drag when you’re bored, or stuck with some mundane task. This is because when you focus on something fun or interesting your brain pays less attention to how time passes, but when you’re bored, or your brain is less stimulated, you become more aware of the passing of time, making it feel slower. One study suggests that the “happy” hormone, dopamine, may also be a culprit. It showed that increased production, which happens when you’re enjoying something, may slow down your body’s internal clock, making time feel like it’s flying by.

Einstein is the man

Rather than viewing time as a set order, he proved that it’s actually relative. According to his theory of special relativity, there’s an inverse relationship between your speed and the speed of time. In plain English, that means the faster you move, the slower time moves. This is why someone blasting through space will age slower than the people still hanging out on Earth. So, if you want your younger siblings to become your older siblings you’ll need to go and hang out on the International Space Station for a while. If you then press the accelerator and travel at the speed of light, the age difference will become even more pronounced.

Gravity puts the brakes on

Over a billion years ago, a day on earth lasted around 18 hours. This is because the moon was closer to us then, than it is now, causing the earth to spin much faster. Our days are longer now because the moon is further away and its gravity is causing the rate at which our planet spins, to slow down. Back when the dinosaurs ruled, 70 million years ago, days were only around 23.5 hours long, and a year was made up of 372 of those slightly shorter days.

Not quite a full day

Although we all learned that one day on planet earth is 24 hours, it actually takes the planet 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4.0916 seconds to rotate on its axis. This is the difference between a solar day and a sidereal day—a solar day is 24 hours, whereas a sidereal day is roughly four minutes shorter. We measure solar time based on the sun’s position in the sky; a sidereal day is measured according to the location of “fixed” stars. In other words, a sidereal day is the time it takes for a distant star or constellation to appear on the same meridian

Leap second

The speed at which the earth spins can be a bit unpredictable. Atmospheric winds, Northern Hemisphere winters with heavy snow, and other big weather events can affect how fast the planet rotates. In order to keep the difference between astronomical time and atomic time to less than 0.9 seconds, the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service occasionally announce the need for a leap second. Yip, it’s a real thing!

Although most of us are oblivious to the leap second story, it can be a big pain for tech companies – because leap seconds are added irregularly, developers have no way of working them into their codes, which has caused websites like LinkedIn and Reddit to crash in the past. A bug caused by 2012’s leap second created so much chaos on the servers of Qantas Airlines, more than 400 flights wound up being delayed… much more than a second.

Daylight saving

Although it doesn’t affect us here in South Africa, for our friends up in the UK daylight saving does have an impact, particularly when the clocks go forward and you effectively lose an hour’s sleep.

Believe it or not, studies have linked daylight saving with a significant uptick in heart attacks, car crashes, and even mining injuries.

Although TimeTraders weren’t selling watches back when there were 372 days in a year, we can certainly help you keep track of time here on mother earth, today. Why not take a look at the selection of our luxury watches and get in touch if you see anything you like. It only takes a second!

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