Snapshot of daylight curve on world map, which becomes an almost straight line on equinox day, when day and night are equal
Snapshot of daylight curve on world map, which becomes an almost straight line on equinox day, when day and night are equal

This is the story of how the four fixed points of the solar year, the spring and autumn (fall) equinoxes and the two solstices, summer and winter, can be observed without looking at the calendar.

Greenwichmeantime.com has a Time Zone portal, with some really useful features like a fast-track converter for time in a chosen place and GMT.

It also has a map of the world with a “live” daylight curve, which is moving across continents and time zones in synch with the way the Earth is going through the real daytime and nighttime cycle.

Visualisations are great and make…


Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

“Spend more time with other people”. “Spend more time by yourself”. “Spend time wisely and divide it between your own company and others”.

Does any of these rules work? It depends on what is viewed as survival, which can be defined as holding on to as much time as possible.

Every now and then headlines are hit by the story of a child lost and then found alive in the depths of nature or civilisation (forest, jungle, big city). There is a common thread: adoption by one or several creatures, human or not, whose individual life is part of a…


Do you have the time? Sure, and lots of other things too

Photo by Adam Birkett on Unsplash

What would you like to know, dear stranger? I hope my smart watch has had the latest update.

Do you have the time? A very polite question answered by generations of wrist-watch wearers in an instant, after a brief glance at…one’s wrist, of course.

The left wrist or the right one, according to personal preferences. In a more distant past, the watch would live in the waistcoat pocket or on the belt, when not pinned like a brooch or hanging on a necklace chain, like a pendant.

Before…


Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

Nature has its own clocks, humans invented theirs. They just forgot they already had one, their own biological clock. It is present in every cell and it does not like being messed about by modern inventions. Something is bound to go wrong.

Biology trumps modernity time and again. Can anyone escape the effects of night shifts, long-haul trips and 24/7 culture? Examples to the contrary are most welcome, but in the meantime we start from the premise that no one is immune to biological disruptions.

What became to be known as the circadian rhythm, the wake-sleep cycle, is linked to…


An image of hands holding sand that trickles down, metaphor for time slipping away
An image of hands holding sand that trickles down, metaphor for time slipping away
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Most people are not going very far away from home these days. Quite a few don’t venture beyond their garden or balcony. They are the lucky ones. The urban masses are in cabin fever territory. When detained by the pandemic, who needs time? Everyone, is the answer. Not an easily demonstrable one.

When nothing moves, why worry about timings? Trips have been replaced by fantasy voyages. Handshakes and hugs vanished, as contact was reduced to what eyes can see and ears can hear. Online encounters, once reserved to dating sites and virtual flings, have become a generalized practice.


Photo by Ryan Olson on Unsplash

14 December 2020, the last eclipse of the year had to be a total solar one. After all, why not leave 2020 with the proper cosmic “hide-and seek” game?

The privilege of watching the New Moon briefly obscuring the Sun has been granted this time round to the Southern Hemisphere, in Chile and Argentina.

The rest of our planet will have to wait patiently till next year, in December again. Then book a flight or a cruise to Antarctica, because this is where the 2021 total solar eclipse can be enjoyed the old way.

The new way, virtual streaming, may…


New decade, new platform!

Greenwichmeantime.com is now a web application.


Under the sign of Saturn (Chronos)

A new digital timepiece has its debut on greenwichmeantime.com. ‘Liquid Time’ measures the passage of time the way ancients used to, being as well an act of visual restoration fit for today’s ubiquitous small screen.

“Devouring Time…”, the first two words in Shakespeare’s Sonnet 19 leave no room for misinterpretation. Time is not our friend and it rules us all with an unforgiving, relentless drive.

Are we truly aware of hours’ gallop? Modern clocks have a way of obscuring the passage of time, because they give the impression that time is circular. …


Busyness or business? To an inattentive listener they can sound quite close and up to the 18th century they meant the same thing.

One way or another, both can cause prolonged absences from the various social platforms where most of time is spent these days.

Is there a timepiece for that, one to measure how long someone or something has gone AWOL? I think I have seen evidence of some mechanism keeping count, in days and weeks and maybe years.

Reunions with old friends usually start with mutual apologies, the tender ritual of reconnecting and maybe some swallowed-up pride mixed…


“Time travels in diverse paces with diverse persons” — Shakespeare

Someone once asked what would happen if we had just one time zone. Indeed, what if? Astronomers and physicists alike, please do not pounce on us just for asking. We know a bit about time zones, how they came to be set up and why they exist to this day.

But what if we did not have them?

Well, no matter what clocks would show on a remote island in southern Pacific, other clocks in a seaside town at the North Sea would be present us with an absolutely identical time.

Would that not be a scheduler’s idea of heaven…

Timepieces

Thinking and writing about timepieces, physical and virtual, as attempts at capturing the ineffable nature of time. The rest on greenwichmeantime.com

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