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Grr.. cant they just use normal time...


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Every time there is an astronomical event annoyingly they always use UT... most of us don't know what UT is. What is it and how do I figure out what time the eclipse takes place?

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You're a little late now mate, eclipse is over :)

UT is the same as GMT.

So in the spring we add an hour. In the Autumn we deduct an hour.

So my guess is that they said the eclipse will start in the Uk at around 20:10 UT? this is 21:10 Brittish summer time.

Cheers

Ant

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You expect astronomers to use the same system as normal people????

We have charts with east on the left, we use co-ordinates which combine seconds and minutes of time and seconds and minutes of angle. We call objects which are not planets 'planetary nebulae.' We believe that time began.

We are not normal.....

Olly

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You expect astronomers to use the same system as normal people????

We have charts with east on the left, we use co-ordinates which combine seconds and minutes of time and seconds and minutes of angle. We call objects which are not planets 'planetary nebulae.' We believe that time began.

We are not normal.....

Olly

:) :)

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I must say, though, UT seems a much more efficient way of determining astronomical events, rather than using local time systems. It really annoys me when Spaceweather.com refers to events happening at, say, 10:00 EST or PST, which doesn't mean anything to the rest of the world, and only uses UT when it's an event which inconveniently is not visible in the USA. How very parochial! In science, which is international, and particularly with instant global communications, surely a universal system of measurement is essential. Look at that Mars probe which failed because some members of the team were using metric measurements, and some were using archaic feet n' inches, and nobody realised till it crashed!

Just remember the difference between UT and your own time zone and it's easy!

Edited by lukebl
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I sympathize ... I have problems with DST, let alone another time zone. You could buy a cheapo clock and set it to UT ... then you will always know. But do make sure that it is clearly labelled as a UT clock or you could find yourself getting to appointments 5 hours early (or is that late?:)) :)

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Compromise, maybe? Use local time when writing about 'popular' astronomical events such as eclipses, which are of interest to the public at large. Use UT for all 'serious' astro timings - at least that is a time-system recognised by astronomers across the world.

Anyway, the lunar eclipse wasn't visible in the USA at all (it was over before moonrise) so the question is academic to the OP.

Speaking for myself, I do all my calculations in UT when observing and imaging in France, even though local time is 2 hours ahead (in summer). Seeing as my site is less than 1° east of the Greenwich meridian, it makes a lot of sense for me and feels more 'natural'.

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Besides... we invented time in England so it's our ball and if you want to use it you'll have to play by our rules. :)

Seriously though, most astronomical events happen in a timeframe that doesn't fit in with our local time system and it makes more sense to stick with a global time - I guess in the UK we are fortunate that we set up a time system that the rest of the world adopted (all local times are simply measured as a number of offset hours from GMT/UT).

Edited by haitch
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I must say, though, UT seems a much more efficient way of determining astronomical events, rather than using local time systems. It really annoys me when Spaceweather.com refers to events happening at, say, 10:00 EST or PST, which doesn't mean anything to the rest of the world, and only uses UT when it's an event which inconveniently is not visible in the USA. How very parochial! In science, which is international, and particularly with instant global communications, surely a universal system of measurement is essential. Look at that Mars probe which failed because some members of the team were using metric measurements, and some were using archaic feet n' inches, and nobody realised till it crashed!
You took the words right out of my mouth.

Personally, I find the mindset that focuses entirely within national borders particularly disturbing, and that includes publishing material or predictions of international interest with times that are specific to only one particular country [or even part of one country]. I agree most people wandering around your nearest shopping centre won't understand what Universal Time (UT) actually is, nor even heard of it, despite its simplicity. And many of those people will be brighter than me!

Edited by PortableAstronomer
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My observatory kits (clocks, computer, handset, etc are all set to UT/GMT all year round.

Makes life a lot easier.

Local time is troublesome when different countries have different time zones, then different dates sometimes summer/winter changeover. Then of course the USA has 4 time zones.

UT/GMT is so easy

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NASA drives me up the wall trying to work out the time differences, sometimes it is in PDT, sometimes in EDT and sometimes in EST. It would be so much easier to use UT or Zulu time. The number of times I've missed something by an hour....

Rob

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...and what about those countries that have half-hour time zones (e.g. India 5½ hours, or Australian Central Standard Time 9½ hours, ahead of UT). Absolutely bonkers.

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...and what about those countries that have half-hour time zones (e.g. India 5½ hours, or Australian Central Standard Time 9½ hours, ahead of UT). Absolutely bonkers.

Too right - we should take the ball back and stop them playing (even if they did lend us their jumpers for goal posts!) :)

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This might not help you, but will help others - if you own an iphone or ipad ( dont know about blackberry or android) then you can add UTC to the clock app/function, just open it up, click on world time and clixk the add button (+), search for UTC and then add!

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Funnily enough I think that countries that change to summer time are wrong..

I've worked with multinational companies for a few years now and changing timezone has become almost second nature at this stage.

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