Sunday, October 25, 2009

Official Time

The United States Naval Observatory (USNO) has been one of the premier scientific entities for the United States. Commissioned by President John Q. Adams, tracking the stars and setting the time have been the main priority for the USNO. The USNO has about forty atomic clocks that it averages to create one time and this is known as the reference standard for Precise Time and Time Interval (PTTI). Further, the USNO has aligned itself with the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) atomic clock to create the official time for the United States.

The USNO and NIST are just two of many clocks (see map for full picture) that contribute to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). UTC is considered the de facto international time. UTC is controlled by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) which also controls International System of Units (SI), the modern form of the metric system.

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