As you look to the end 2016, you might think of New Years Eve celebrations, including the iconic Times Square Ball, "probably the greatest single moment of public timekeeping in the world." Digging in, you'll find that it's really just a glorified time ball, an antiquated tool for sea-farers to set their chronometers and discern their longitude by means of celestial navigation. The first time ball went into use 1829, pretty late in the time-keeping game, so let's re-fill the ol' water clock and take this way back. [more inside]
At 7 PM EST today, 80 cesium-based atomic clocks around the world will stop for precisely one second, to take into account the gradual slowing of the Earth's axial rotation.
24:39 NASA is running their Spirit Martian explorer program on Martian solar time. With the project day running 39 minutes longer than a real day, engineers found they faced difficulties adjusting to this virtual timezone. Their solution was nearly as old as timekeeping itself.