It’s About Time

Every spring we turn our clocks ahead one hour onto what has been termed Daylight Saving Time, which allows us to get up to take advantage of the earlier rising of the sun and gain an extra hour of light after work. At high summer the sun sets at about 8:30 p.m. on Daylight Saving Time. If we did not turn our clocks ahead in the spring, the clock would say 7:30 p.m. when the sun sets at this time of the year. In the fall, as the hours of daylight decrease, we again change them—back one hour to Standard Time, which you could also call "true" time, as it is based on having noon, or 12:00 p.m., when the sun is on or near the midheaven. While on Daylight Saving Time, true "noon" (sun on the midheaven) will always occur when our clocks say 1:00 p.m. or close to that time.

This got me thinking about time in general and how time zones were established and changed over the years. As most Americans know, the continental United States has four time zones. Large nations such as Canada and Russia also have more than one time zone, but did you know that China only uses one zone, despite its vastness? Presumably to make it easier and more convenient for the entire nation to be on the "same page" as it were.

But before we continue, let us check out some resources available at the library and online about the history of Daylight Saving Time and time zones in general. Check out these websites:

The History of Daylight Saving Time

Why Do We Have Time Zones?

Check out these titles on the above topics at the library:

Daylight Saving

After the interesting, but somewhat mundane, topic of time zones and Daylight Saving Time, we can really "blow" our minds if we want to study or read about the science of time. What exactly IS time, or space-time as many scientists refer to it? Is it an "illusion" as many ancient eastern religions and mystics have proclaimed and does all time exist simultaneously as cutting edge astrophysicists now say, in what some have called the "spacious present"? The following websites and library materials may help answer these questions.

Brief History of Time

This includes materials for youth and adults:

Time Science

The following websites will also be of interest:

Physics of Time—Exactly What Is Time?


For the braver among us, try giving this a read:

A Debate over the Physics of Time

or this, which thankfully includes some video clips:

"There Is No Such Thing as Time"

And last, but not least, we come to the perennially popular "time travel." A favorite topic of sci-fi books, movies and TV shows, the most classic being H. G. WellsThe Time Machine. Real science also has opinions on this subject. Below are websites and library materials which cover both the fact and fiction of time travel.

Is Time Travel Possible?

The Physics of Time Travel

Time Travel: A History by James Gleick
—Gary C.

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