Cap 20, 00 / Dec 21, 16 19:54 UTC

UAT - Universal Asgardian Time  

Hi there, I created this topic to discuss the UAT time standard, a possible new convention that could be used by Asgardia as presented in this facebook post: https://www.facebook.com/asgardia.space/posts/1803169369961628.

A lot of people said that we should stick to UTC, which is reasonable considering that where are not going to leave this planet for some decades at least, so using the time that everyone on Earth uses makes sense. However this will become a problem when we'll actually go into space, because UTC is based on Earth's rotation and revolution, and, while it could still be used while in orbit, it'll not be suited for various space operations, like mining expeditions and external outposts. Being an astronomer (to be precise I'm still studying to get the degree, so I'm not quite one hehe) time stardards are something that concern me directly, so thought that it would be a great idea to create, at least, a starting point to develop UAT. When creating a time standard there are various parameters to decide, I'll list them below with a description to explain what they are:

  1. A zero point (or starting point): This is the point in time to which is assigned the value 0 and from where we start counting time.
  2. A clock: The thing we use to measure how much time has passed from the zero point at any given instant.
  3. A frame of reference: The point in space where we place the clock.
  4. A calendar: How time is partitioned (seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years, etc.).

When it comes to UTC, which is a version of UT, it does not have a defined zero point (in astronomy we use the julian day, which has the zero point at noon of the 1st of January, 4713 BC, don't ask me about the year, astronomers like to complicate things lol), uses a modified version of the TAI standard, which has atomic clocks as, well, clock, and the center of the Earth as its frame of reference, modified because every now and then a second is added to keep it in line with Earth's rotation (the famous leap seconds), and the gregorian calendar is the most used one.

Now that I've explained what is needed for a time standard, I will explain my ideas and thoughts about UAT: it's clear that we should design it so that it can fit our activities outside planet Earth, so we should abandon a lot of things that are tied to Earth's motion to create a slim and functional time standard.
(1) My idea is to have as zero point midnight of a day important for Asgardia, like the October 12th 2016, the day when Asgardia started (I'm not 100% sure about this day, but according to the chronicles Asgardia reached 100k applications after 40 hours of being online, on the 14th), or the day when we will (hopefully) be recognized as nation by the UN or again when the first satellite will be launched, there are a lot of choices here.
(2) As clock an atomic one is the obvious choice, it's the most precise clock that we know of, however I think we should have a "back-up" clock in the event that a ship or outpost loses contact with the main station or Earth or in the case that it isn't fitted with an atomic clock; choosing this secondary clock is difficult to say the least: on Earth you can approximate the time of the day by using the Sun, but in space it's not that easy; maybe a specific pulsar can be chosen for this role, if we know its galactic coordinates we could use an interferometer to calculate time with good enough precision.
(3) As a frame of reference the barycenter of the solar system is good enough until we remain inside it; the problem arises when we get out of it, having an almost "inertial" frame of reference is needed if we want to have the exact time, and the center of rotation of the Milky Way is probably the best choice in my opinion.
(4) For what concerns the calendar, I think we should keep the division of minutes, hours and days, because we are used to it and can facilitate how we schedule work, sleep, etc. however I think that months and years are useless in space: here on Earth having months is useful because you can easily deduce what season you are in and where holidays are placed and years can be used to deduce when the Earth complete a revolution around the Sun; in space there are no seasons or revolutions to take into account, and events such as birthdays or holidays can be easily calculated without them.

That's all, feel free to post your ideas below, in particular I would like to hear what proper astronomers have to say about this (I hope to have made no errors while explaining this, if I have please correct me), lets make this a community effort, having a time standard is extremely important to regulate and coordinate the activities of a nation.

P.S.: I was undecided if opening this topic in Physical sciences or General discussion, I let this decision to the staff.

  Last edited by:  Matteo Peron (Asgardian)  on Cap 20, 00 / Dec 21, 16 20:04 UTC, Total number of edits: 2 times

Cap 20, 00 / Dec 21, 16 20:58 UTC

I agree, for now, as I stated at the beginning, it's best if we stick with common time standards. This topic is mainly in preparation for what will come next, when we'll go into space, after all in space there are no time zones in space

Cap 20, 00 / Dec 21, 16 21:36 UTC

I'd still imagine, in space, it'd go by UTC. We have no colonies on other planets to warrant anything different. It'll be a fair while until anything does use a different planetary time.

Cap 21, 00 / Dec 22, 16 12:38 UTC

I generally agree with you, but would add a couple notes to your suggestions:

1) You say "months and years are useless in space: here on Earth having months is useful because you can easily deduce what season you are in and where holidays are placed and years can be used to deduce when the Earth complete a revolution around the Sun; in space there are no seasons or revolutions to take into account". But they are in your genes and your brain. Humans experience both monthly and annual biological rythms, which makes years and months make sense. Animals exposed to deviations in outer ryhtms, even annual ones, experience erratic behavior and age faster. We are already going to be subject to a lot of strange stimuli up there, so I would suggest to keep things traditional.

2) Other things are more political, like for example when do we start our calendar. In a society as multicultural and secular as Asgardia will likely become (already is?) it makes no sense to use a christian count. With those things, we can play, although I suggest we create another post somewhere else because this doesn't seem to be the most apropriate subforum.

Cap 22, 00 / Dec 23, 16 02:49 UTC

I don´t think this has to be a political issue. Using the GMT and the world most accepted calender is fine for now. Otherwise we´re going to complicate things too much. The idea is to be able to understand and communicate each other the best possible. So Using GMT or FORUM time is ok for we, as well as the standard calender using seconds, minutes, days, weeks, moths, years (Even if it´s attractive to point YEAR 0 to be the founding year of Asgardia).

Cap 22, 00 / Dec 23, 16 02:55 UTC

Comment deleted

  Updated  on Can 26, 01 / Jun 15, 17 16:58 UTC, Total number of edits: 3 times
Reason: "This user no longer wishes to be associated with a tin pot banana republic"

Cap 22, 00 / Dec 23, 16 04:33 UTC

In this matter the easier the best. AFT (understand: Asgardian Forum Time) fits perfectly

Cap 23, 00 / Dec 24, 16 10:14 UTC

Clive:

Asgardias location will affect the passage of time and the speed it moves in relation to a fixed point on Earth. Will it be in Orbit or at a LaGrange point, L1 was suggested in another tread. How would that affect the calculation of time.

That's why I suggested the solar system's barycenter as the frame of refernce, it's the "most inertial" frame of reference we can use for calculating time inside the solar system, and the best thing is that it already exists: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barycentric_Dynamical_Time

Onegin:

But they are in your genes and your brain. Humans experience both monthly and annual biological rythms, which makes years and months make sense. Animals exposed to deviations in outer ryhtms, even annual ones, experience erratic behavior and age faster. We are already going to be subject to a lot of strange stimuli up there, so I would suggest to keep things traditional.

If it really has that great of an impact then we can keep them, after all a time standard has to be designed according to our needs.

I suggest we create another post somewhere else because this doesn't seem to be the most apropriate subforum.

Yeah, I was already dubious where to start this topic as I stated in the post scriptum.

To any moderator/admin: can this topic be transferred to General discussion?

Cap 24, 00 / Dec 25, 16 16:00 UTC

"Universal Asgardian Time" is a very interesting idea for long term perspective. In short term perspective will very useful to have just AFT (Asgardian Forum Time).

I agree with Onegin about biological rythms, but for space, I think, will be more perspective to have some special unit of time that may be created, for example, after the opening of the first space city. And this special time unit can also exist along with the classic "month", "year" etc.

Cap 24, 00 / Dec 25, 16 16:16 UTC

Just an idea.

Time was set with the sun.

What if we would set time with the centre of the milky-way.

Grtz, Dirk.

Cap 24, 00 / Dec 25, 16 18:51 UTC

I don't believe setting time to the center of the galaxy is a good idea. There is a black hole there....

Cap 26, 00 / Dec 27, 16 20:01 UTC

For now, the UTC is fine. As for long term:

Isn't referencing other object in space not as optimised as they are changing non-stop?

I think it's important to keep the definition of second, consider how many formula, equations, definition etc are based on it, changing it without a proper reason is just a waste of time and effort.

As for minute, hour and day, if there's not a major reason to change it, we should leave it as is, consider how is it easily divisible and how they are connected to us. (If you count the joint of your finger using your thumb, there are a total of 12 joints excluding the thumb).

However, for week, month and year, there's not really much reason to keep using the same.

There isn't really much reason to have 7 days a week in modern day other than it is just an old tradition that no one want to break.

As for months, although it is related to earth's season and such, I agree that once we leave earth, it is no longer important. As for Onegin stated that:

But they are in your genes and your brain. Humans experience both monthly and annual biological rythms, which makes years and months make sense. Animals exposed to deviations in outer ryhtms, even annual ones, experience erratic behavior and age faster. We are already going to be subject to a lot of strange stimuli up there, so I would suggest to keep things traditional.

I actually doubt that once space travel become a norm, this will still be a case, consider us human evolved on earth to suit ourselves on earth, I think once we no longer inhabited on earth, we may start to evolved away from those rhythms. Though I'm not an expert of the subject, so I can't say for sure.

Aqu 03, 01 / Jan 3, 17 12:54 UTC

I see no reason to migrate from GMT. Ultimately, there's only one time - now. And it's now everywhere. For those in requirement of a little more measuring accuracy, atomic clocks do indeed seem suitable - What doesn't is the concept of "time zones". Unless you're travelling immense speeds between places, or having a differential like the inner and outer of a galactic spiral, offset for velocity isn't likely to be much of a concern and sync to an Earth-orbit Atomic clock via quantum entanglement to me sounds the best way to "standardise time" across infrastructure.

I think there's a reason why people stopped counting fingers like that at or round about the end of the Roman empire - and it'd certainly not make any sense to anyone educated in the metric system.

Sure, week/month/year - even days, really - have pretty much no significance outside of Earth. Seasons even less so. Having no observable carcadian rhythm I would readily adapt to any given pattern. However, humans have evolved this over tens of thousands of years and as such might represent a particular issue with regards to dealing with. Any "evolution" to cope with this adjustment isn't likely to be a rapid thing. In order to minimise for impact this is sensible to maintain to "Earth format", I've noticed humans don't seem to work too well 72hrs into a day for example. Sticking to Earth format also establishes ties to heritige, something that may become important later.

  Updated  on Aqu 03, 01 / Jan 3, 17 12:55 UTC, Total number of edits: 1 time
Reason: typo

Leo 18, 01 / Jul 5, 17 11:24 UTC

If each country uses it's own time system it will be very hard for businesses to work with companies in other countries.  It's already a problem on Earth with some countries taking Sunday off and some Friday and with time zones.

Having Asgardian time will mean no other country will accept it.  UTC works because it doesn't have one country's name in it!  Unless we assume that Asgard will be the only nation in the future we should use UTC until we colonise the solar system.  At which point we should use SST - Solar System Time.  Then when the need arises swap again.  By giving Asgardia it's own calendar we just push people away.

  Last edited by:  Lawrence Grabowski (Asgardian)  on Leo 19, 01 / Jul 6, 17 09:39 UTC, Total number of edits: 1 time
Reason: spelling

Leo 20, 01 / Jul 7, 17 14:31 UTC

Well, why do you want to set up something complicated ? The easiest thing to do is to use the local clock. Our biological clock works on a 24-hour basis, since this is the usual day length on Earth. But studies have demonstrated we can adapt to longer or shorter day period.

By the way, the base unit for time is the second. A day on Earth lasts roughly 86400 seconds so this could be an acceptable basis for space basements.