Last weeks clock change highlights, in the words of Barbara Adam, that “time is of our own making”. Daylight savings time has been linked to increased heart attacks but there are social consequences as well, at least there are for me. My sister is in Sydney (who change their clocks next week), so this week the window that we have to talk is an hour smaller.
How do we make time in places where our current time zone distinctions don’t quite make sense? At the Antarctic all the lines of longitude, and hence time zones, converge. What time is breakfast? There are ten research stations on the Island and each operates under the time zone of the country that owns it resulting in eight time zones.
What about the International Space Station – by its very nature it travels through every time zone every 90 minutes as it circulates the earth. Its ground control bases are located in three time zones, Houstin in Texas and Korolyov in Moscow. The time zone roughly half way between these two is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) – so this is used to define what time it is in space.
This means that strangely it would be easier for me to Whatsapp with a astronaut than with my sister.