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15 - Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 October 2018

Dennis D. McCarthy
Affiliation:
United States Naval Observatory
P. Kenneth Seidelmann
Affiliation:
University of Virginia
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Summary

In the 19th century, many local timescales and reference meridians were in practical use. The railroad companies pushed for time standardization and navigators wanted a standard meridian. In 1884, the Greenwich meridian was adopted as the international prime meridian for longitude and time zones. In 1928, Universal Time (UT) was recommended to replace Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and the BIH was to coordinate transmission of radio time signals. In 1960, the United Kingdom and the United States began to coordinate time transmissions by making the same adjustments to their clocks at the same times. In 1972, the International Radio Consultative Committee (CCIR), a predecessor organization of the International Telecommunications Union, introduced a new definition of UTC, which is based on TAI with leap seconds in order to keep UTC within 0.9s of UT1. UTC is now distributed and used worldwide. Since 2000 there has been discussion of redefining UTC without leap seconds. A number of meetings, proceedings, and papers have been devoted to this possibility. Arguments for and against are presented.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2018

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References

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