How does the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) work?

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How does the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) work?

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In what sense?

It’s a way to standardize time around the world. Originally, it was maintained by the Royal Observatory in London, but now it’s maintained by several different atomic clocks around the world that keep eachother in sync.

The important thing about it is that it’s how we define time zones. I live in Texas, so I use Central Standard Time, which is defined as UTC-5, meaning that my clocks are set 5 hours behind UTC. So if it’s 12:07 according to UTC, I will set my clocks go 7:07.

Step 1: Timezones. It’s not day for everyone at the same time, and different areas call the same moment different times. Get a list of every time zone used and how they relate to each other (pacific time zone is an hour behind mountain time zone, etc)

Step 2: Decide upon one of those time zones to be the “official” time, and write out each time zone relative to it (Pacific is UTC -8:00, Mountain is UTC -7:00). You now have an easy, relatively neutral way to describe a particular time, and nobody has to worry about “7pm” being 7pm in New York or 7pm in London.

UTC includes the British Isles, Iceland, the Prime Meridian, and a few countries in Africa.

I’m just going to add to the explanations already given that an important feature of UTC is that it doesn’t daylight savings time.

UTC remains unchanged throughout the year. This helps other timezones which do observe daylight savings time (and might not all start at the same time) to relate to each other.

For example, CET (Central European Time) is UTC+1. But when sprig comes around, you go into summer time (if you live in a place which observes it) and your timezone becomes CEST (Central European Summer Time) which is UTC+2.