Anyone got the right time?

May 2, 2006

Scientists are preparing to enter a new era of mega-accurate timekeeping, in a significant move away from the traditional atomic clock. Very accurate clocks are vital in telecommunications, GPS, and other modern technological applications. The new technology will actually redefine time.

What's a second?Strontium resonates 429,228,004,229,952 times each second, that being one of the reasons it enables more accurate time measurement.

Traditional Caesium-based atomic clocks have been around since the mid-50s, but things are about to be shaken up a bit.

Atomic clocks get their “ticks” from the natural oscillations of atoms, a physical property caused by electrons jumping between orbits of various shapes and distances from the nucleus.

According to NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) an atomic clock based on strontium could be as much as 100 times more accurate than caesium clocks.

NIST’s caesium-based F1 atomic clock is already so accurate it would have to run for 50 million years before it would be off by one second.


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