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What Is UTC?


What is UTC?

Did you know that UTC actually stands for Coordinated Universal Time? How about the fact that Universal Time was created in 1884?

Current UTC Time

 Coordinated Universal Time is named as such because it is the standard by which all time zones are based. Contrary to popular belief, UTC is a standard even though it is mistaken for a time zone, which it is not.

World timing centers across the globe have decided to keep their local clocks synchronized with the UTC standard. Other time zones are designated by the hourly difference between Coordinated Universal Time.

How Is UTC Determined?

There are actually two main components to the Universal Coordinated Time standard. Those are the International Atomic Time and Universal Time.

  • TAI or International Atomic Time is a scale that helps determine the speed at which clocks should tick. It is found by combining the time of more than 200 atomic clocks located worldwide. In other words, it's pretty accurate.

  • UT1 or Universal Time is determined by the Earth's rotation. Because of that fact, it is also sometimes called astronomical or solar time. It is what timekeepers use to measure the length of a single day on the planet.

Thanks to these two elements UTC is used to synchronize clocks in various countries all over the world, across 24 different time zones.

Universal Time was actually created during the Washington Meridian Conference held in 1884. This is when the idea of a 24-hour time zone -- a concept we currently use -- came into fruition and became adopted widely.

Before that time, Greenwich Mean Time or GMT was actually the world standard. However, it wasn't until 1960, that the International Radio Consultative Committee came up with the concept of Coordinated Universal Time. Just a year later, in 1967, it was officially adopted as the primary timekeeping standard.

Today, Greenwich Mean Time is not considered a standard anymore yet it is the label of one of the 24 total time zones on Earth, used by countries in Africa, Western Europe and the UK (during the winter season).

List of UTC Offsets

This list provides the UTC time offsets from the western to eastern-most time zones. You'll be able to see the time difference -- in hours and minutes -- between the different territories and Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

UTC -12:00

  • Baker Island
  • Howland Island

UTC -11:00

UTC -10:00

UTC -9:30

UTC -9:00

UTC -8:00

UTC -7:00

UTC -6:00

UTC -5:00

UTC -4:30

UTC -4:00

UTC -3:30

UTC -3:00

UTC -2:00

UTC -1:00

UTC +0:00

UTC +1:00

UTC +2:00

UTC +3:00

UTC +3:30

UTC + 4:00

UTC +4:30

UTC +5:00

UTC +5:30

UTC +5:45

UTC +6:00

UTC +6:30

UTC +7:00

UTC +8:00

UTC +8:30

UTC +8:45

  • Western Australia

UTC +9:00

UTC +9:30

UTC +10:00

UTC +10:30

UTC +11:00

UTC +11:30

UTC +12:00

UTC +12:45

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