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Unit of time

Horizontal logarithmic scale marked with units of time according to the

internationally accepted Gregorian calendar.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Units of measurement for time have historically been based on the movement of the Sun (as seen from Earth). Shorter intervals were
measured by physiological periods such as drawing breath, winking or the pulse.
Units of time consisting of a number of years include the lustrum (five years) and the olympiad (four years). The month could be divided
into half-months or fortnights, and quarters or weeks. Longer periods were given in lifetimes or generations (saecula, aion), subdivisions of
the solar day in hours. The Sothic cycle was a period of 1,461 years of 365 days in the Ancient Egyptian calendar. Medieval (Pauranic)
Hindu cosmology is notorious for introducing names for fabulously long time periods, such as kalpa (4.32 billion years).
In classical antiquity, the hour divided the daylight period into 12 equal parts. The duration of an hour thus varied over the course of the
year. In classical China, the k () was a unit of decimal time, dividing a day into 100 equal intervals of 14.4 minutes. Alongside the ke,
there were double hours (shchen) also known as watches. Because one cannot divide 12 double hours into 100 ke evenly, each ke was
subdivided into 60 fn ().
The introduction of the minute (minuta; ) as the 60th part of an hour, the second (seccunda; ) as the 60th part of a minute, and the third
(tertia; ) as the 60th part of the second dates to the medieval period, used by Al-Biruni around AD 1000, and by Roger Bacon in the 13th
century. Bacon further subdivided the tertia into a quarta or fourth (). Hindu chronology divides the civil day (daylight hours) into vipalas,
palas and ghatikas. A tithi is the 30th part of the synodic month.
The introduction of the division of the solar day into 24 hours of equal length, as it were the length of a classical hour at equinox used
regardless of daylight hours, dates to the 14th century, due to the development of the first mechanical clocks.
Today, the fundamental unit of time suggested by the International System of Units is the second, since 1967 defined as the second of
International Atomic Time, based on the radiation emitted by a Caesium-133 atom in the ground state. Its definition was calibrated such
that 86,400 seconds corresponded to a solar day. 31,557,600 (86,400 365.25) seconds are a Julian year, exceeding the true length of a
solar year by about 21 ppm.
Based on the second as the base unit, the following time units are in use as follows:
minute (1 min = 60 sec)
hour (1 hr = 60 min = 3.6 ks)
Julian day (1 d = 24 hr = 86.4 ks)
week (7 d = 604.8 ks)
Julian year (1 a = 365.25 d = 31.5576 Ms)
decade (10 years/annum)
century (100 annum = 3.15576 Gs)
millennium (1 ka = 31.5576 Gs)
There are a number of proposals for decimal time, or decimal calendars, notably in the French Republican Calendar of 1793. Such
systems have either ten days per week, a multiple of ten days in a month, or ten months per year.
A suggestion for hexadecimal time divides the Julian day into 16 hexadecimal hours of 1hr 30 min each, or 65,536 hexadecimal seconds
(1 hexsec 1.32 s).
The Planck time (t
) is a natural unit of time, the shortest possible interval that can be meaningfully considered in quantum mechanics.
equals about 5.4 10
Contents [hide]
1 List
2 Units of time interrelated
3 See also
4 References
List [edit]
Units of time
Length, Duration and
Notes Other
Planck time
5.39 x 10
The amount of time light takes to travel one Planck length. This is the shortest time
unit possible to understand in physics. All smaller time units have no use in
yoctosecond 10
jiffy (physics) 3 10
The amount of time light takes to travel one fermi (about the size of a nucleon) in a
zeptosecond 10
attosecond 10
s shortest time now measurable
femtosecond 10
s pulse time on fastest lasers
picosecond 10
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nanosecond 10
s time for molecules to fluoresce
shake 10
s Also a casual term for a short period of time
microsecond 10
fourth 1/3,600 second medieval unit of time
millisecond 0.001 s shortest time unit used on stopwatches
centisecond 0.01 s used on some stopwatches
third 1/60 s medieval unit of time
decisecond 0.1 s used on some stopwatches
1/60s to 1/50s
Used to measure the time between alternating power cycles. Also a casual term for
a short period of time
second 1 sec SI base unit
dekasecond 10 seconds
minute 60 seconds
moment 90 seconds medieval unit of time
hectosecond 100 seconds 1 minute and 40 seconds
14 minutes and 24
kilosecond 1,000 seconds 16 minutes and 40 seconds
hour 60 minutes
day 24 hours longest unit used on stopwatches and countdowns
week 7 days Also called sennight
megasecond 1,000,000 seconds About 11.6 days
fortnight 2 weeks 14 days
may not be
lunar month
27 Days 4 hours 48
minutes29 days 12
Various definitions of lunar month exist.
month 2831 days
quarter and
3 months
year 12 months or 365 days
365 days 52 weeks + 1 day
tropical year
365 days 5:48:45.216
365 days 5:49:12
sidereal year
365 days
6:09:09.7635456 hours
leap year 366 days 52 weeks + 2 days
biennium 2 years A unit of time commonly used by legislatures
triennium 3 years
Olympiad 4 year cycle
lustrum 5 years
decade 10 years
Indiction 15 year cycle
score 20 years "four score and seven years.." = 87 years
generation 17-35 years
About 31.7 years
jubilee 50 years
century 100 years
millennium 1,000 years also called "kiloannum"
terasecond 1 trillion seconds About 31,700 years
age and
1,000,000 years
epoch 10,000,000 years
petasecond 1 quadrillion seconds About 3.17 epoches
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[show] v t e
Flowchart illustrating the major units of
era 100,000,000 years
galactic year
Approximately 2.3
The amount of time it takes the Solar System to orbit the center of the Milky Way
Galaxy one time.
eon 500,000,000 years Also "An indefinite and very long period of time""
gigaannum 1,000,000,000 years
exasecond 1 quintillion seconds
roughly 31.7 billion years, more than twice
the age of the universe on current estimates
zettasecond 1 sextillion seconds About 31.7 trillion years
yottasecond 1 septillion seconds About 31.7 quadrillion years
10 times the length of the previous
cosmological decade, with C 1 beginning
either 10 seconds or 10 years after the
Big Bang, depending on the definition.
Units of time interrelated [edit]
All of the important units of time can be interrelated. The key units are the second, defined in
terms of an atomic process; the day, an integral multiple of seconds; and the year, usually
365.25 days. Most of the other units used are multiples or divisions of these three. The
graphic also shows the three heavenly bodies whose orbital parameters relate to the units of
See also [edit]
Time standard
Orders of magnitude (time)
Hindu time units
References [edit]
1. ^ McCarthy, Dennis D.; Seidelmann, P. Kenneth (2009). Time: from Earth rotation to atomic
physics . Wiley-VCH. p. 18. ISBN 3-527-40780-4., Extract of page 18
2. ^ Jones, Floyd Nolen (2005). The Chronology Of The Old Testament (15th ed.). New Leaf
Publishing Group. p. 287. ISBN 0-89051-416-X., Extract of page 287
3. ^ NASA- StarChild
Question of the Month for February 2000
4. ^
Time measurement and standards
Categories: Units of time
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