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Why are there different times on the earth?

Why are there different times on the earth?



3 Responses

  1. Good question Laura.

    One answer could be our language. We have certain times, midday and midnight, that are defined by the sun’s position in the sky. Midday is halfway between the sun rising and the sun setting. Because we live on a sphere the precise definition of that time changes for people living on different locations on the sphere(different longitudes). For the sake of social cohesion and not having to adjust your watch everytime we travel East or West, we arrange these differences into “time zones”. So strictly(in winter aoiding issues of British Summer Time), midday in Plymouth is slightly later than midday should be by the definiton of our language.

  2. Because the Earth “spins” on it’s axis (from side to side). It takes the Earth about 24 hours to do this.

    As the Earth rotates, the sun rises where I live (Alberta, Canada). Further to the East, the sun has already risen (because the sun “rises” in the East), and further west it is still dark out.

    This goes back to the times before electricity, when people worked and lived by the clock of the Sun. We couldn’t harvest our fields or sell our veggies in the market when it was dark out. Also, daytime feels “safer” for the caveman in all of us (especially back then). Even now, darkness is scary for a lot of people. People fear what they don’t know, and what they can’t see, they can’t know.

    So early on we settled into sleeping at night and waking during the day. As trade increased and so did our technology, it became important to know what a time was somewhere else in the world – if you’re in Vancouver and talking on the phone to someone in Toronto, the sun might already be down there and everyone’s gone home from work.

    Thus did time zones become necessary.

  3. apparently people wanted all to have their times. To put it simply, they wanted “midday” to be called the same time everywhere (12:00 pm) Since the earth rotates, different places experience “midday” or any other sun phase at different times. If it is Mid day in New York, then it is not mid day in Los angeles. It will be mid day in los angeles in around 3 hours, so they break the timezones up that way.

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