Understanding Time Zones

Usually, our applications must work in different countries with particular guidelines, languages, currency, number formats, etc. I imply each country may need its own regional settings so every point needs a particular treatment.

The earth spins around itself on the rate of one rotation per 24 hours, it signifies that every space on the earth has its noon at a distinct time based on the longitude of its location.

In 1884, the Worldwide Meridian Conference selected a meridian to be employed as a typical zero of lengthyitude and standard of time reckoning all through the world. It resulted within the suggestion 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 each hour. It means every time zone is 15 degrees longitude apart from each other.

The following map will help us to make clear these criteria:

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

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

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

In principle, to deal with time zones would not be complicated following previous criteria and it works properly for all cases. We’d always be able to calculate the local time in anywhere only primarily based on its location, but 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 most important country with only 1 time zone, however it ought to have 5 time zones.

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

Time zones are set by Governments, however governments usually change their minds.

What’s GMT?

The primal meridian/main time zone.

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

GMT is no longer a time standard.

What’s UTC?

A Standard, Not a Time Zone.

Coordinated Common Time or UTC is the primary time customary by which the world regulates clocks. It makes use of highly precise atomic clocks mixed with the Earth’s rotation.

This is the successor to GMT.

What is a Time Zone?

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

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

What is DST?

DST is the observe of advancing clocks throughout warmer months so that darkness falls later each 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 so as to return to straightforward time. It was first implemented for Germany through the first world war in order to save energy.

This follow continues to be used in North America and Western Europe, but Russia and most of Asia and Africa nations don’t use DST.

e.g. MST and MDT

Mountain Customary Time = UTC -07:00

Mountain Daylight Time = UTC -06:00

or GMT and BST

Greenwich Mean Time = UTC +00:00

British Summer time Time = UTC +01:00

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

Daylight saving time shows us that we cannot decide local time primarily based only on location. We now have to know if daylight saving time was in impact or particular cases that apply.

Time zones can change

Governments often change their minds, this is the primary reason why time zones rules change. Time zones are set by Governments so it is expected surprises and oddities. It would happen for different reasons resembling commerce, non secular observations, political posturing, rise up, 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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