Understanding Time Zones

Often, our applications have to work in numerous countries with specific rules, languages, currency, number formats, etc. I imply each country might have its own regional settings so each point needs a particular treatment.

The earth spins round itself on the rate of 1 rotation per 24 hours, it signifies that each space on the earth has its noon at a different time primarily based on the longitude of its location.

In 1884, the Worldwide Meridian Convention chose a meridian to be employed as a common zero of longitude and customary of time reckoning throughout the world. It resulted within the recommendation of the Greenwich Meridian because the prime meridian. In addition, it has established to have 24 completely different time zones because the earth rotates 360 degrees in 24 hours, 15 degrees longitude every hour. It means each time zone is 15 degrees lengthyitude other than every other.

The following map can help us to make clear those criteria:

The Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is the primal meridian with zero degrees.

In East of Greenwich (Proper), every 15 degrees is a time zone +1 hour.

In West of Greenwich (Left), each 15 degrees is a time zone -1 hour.

In concept, to handle time zones wouldn’t be difficult following earlier criteria and it works properly for all cases. We’d always be able to calculate the native time in any place only primarily based on its location, however NOT. Time zones can change:

Nations and territories that cross these artificial lines (shown on the map) decided to draw these ones differently. e.g. China is the biggest country with only 1 time zone, however it ought to have 5 time zones.

Some nations set clocks forward by one hour in the spring and set clocks back by one hour in autumn (DST).

Time zones are set by Governments, but governments typically change their minds.

What is GMT?

The primal meridian/major time zone.

Greenwich Mean Time or GMT is the clock time on the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London.

GMT is no longer a time standard.

What is UTC?

A Normal, Not a Time Zone.

Coordinated Universal Time or UTC is the first time standard by which the world regulates clocks. It makes use of highly exact atomic clocks mixed with the Earth’s rotation.

This is the successor to GMT.

What’s a Time Zone?

A time zone is a geographic region where the same normal time is used (real place on the surface of the Earth). It signifies that it follows the same native clock, and abides the identical set of timekeeping rules.

A time zone is NOT an offset from GMT or UTC. The offset is simply one characteristic of a timezone. Additionally, more than one offset might apply, at totally different instances of the year. e.g Summertime and Commonplace Time.

What’s DST?

DST is the practice of advancing clocks throughout warmer months so that darkness falls later every day based on the clock. It means to set clocks forward by one hour in the spring and set clocks back by one hour in autumn as a way to return to standard time. It was first carried out for Germany in the course of the first world war with a view to save energy.

This observe continues to be utilized in North America and Western Europe, but Russia and most of Asia and Africa countries do not use DST.

e.g. MST and MDT

Mountain Normal Time = UTC -07:00

Mountain Daylight Time = UTC -06:00

or GMT and BST

Greenwich Imply Time = UTC +00:00

British Summer time Time = UTC +01:00

There are transitions, in the spring when DST takes effect, there may be an hour in native time that does not exist, and a day that’s only 23 hours long (transition starts). In the fall the opposite happens a complete hour happens twice on the same day and that day is 25 hours lengthy (transaction ends). It can be explained higher with this schema.

Daylight saving time shows us that we can’t decide local time primarily based only on location. Now we have to know if daylight saving time was in impact or particular cases that apply.

Time zones can change

Governments typically change their minds, this is the principle reason why time zones guidelines change. Time zones are set by Governments so it is anticipated surprises and oddities. It might happen for different reasons resembling commerce, religious observations, political posturing, rebellion, etc.

It implies that the time zone is set by law so it is able to switch DST Guidelines, transitions, offsets, and alignments.

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