Fun Facts about Time
The fun that you can have with time is endless: spending it, thinking about it, dedicating it to something important. Time belongs to everyone to experience in whatever ways they choose. This website entitled “A Matter of Time”, covers a wide variety of subjects on time and presents a wealth of interesting information. This page presents a listing of fun-facts found while researching the myriad of topics we have compiled on this topic. Here you can get a perspective on time from every end of the spectrum. These fun facts are in no particular order; they are listed here to tickle brains, encourage imaginations, educate, and most importantly, to spark interest. See how many new things you can learn about time—time history, time science, time culture, and more.
- One of the best methods for determining something's age, especially for archeologists, is carbon dating. Carbon-14 is a substance that decays approximately 50 percent every 5570 years. Since Carbon-14 appears in almost every substance, archeologists use it to tell how old certain ancient artifacts or other buried treasures are.
- The gnomon was actually an earlier version of the sundial and probably the first device used to tell time. This “device” was essentially a stick in the earth which cast a shadow on markings in the dirt. The Berlin Museum houses a fragment of one of the oldest gnomons known to man.
- The Romans constructed their first sundial in 164 B.C.
- It is said that Galileo discovered the properties of a pendulum while watching a lamp swing back and forth in the Cathedral of Pisa.
- The Martinot family of clockmakers provided service to French rulers such as the famous and powerful Sun King, Louis XIV.
- According to a man named Paul Couderc, only one one-thousandth of a second is gained in sixty years of traveling at the speed of sound.
- The ancient Greeks believed that the sun itself was actually a god named Helios. According to Greek mythology, Helios rode across the sky each day in a fiery chariot.
- The Inuit people of North America used to light lamps to celebrate the return of the sun after a long and dark winter.
- The Jewish New Year is called Rosh Hashanah. The New Year is ushered in by the blowing of a ram’s horn.
- What makes a difference in seasons is not how close or far away from the sun the earth is in its orbit. What makes the difference between summer and winter is whether or not the earth is leaning towards the sun. If the North Pole leans away from the sun, the northern half of the globe is experiencing winter and the southern half is experiencing summer. If the North Pole leans toward the sun, the opposite is true.
- Some places in the world have time zones that are offset in quarter-hour increments like Nepal (with UTC +5:45) and New Zealand's Chatham Island (with UTC +12:45).
- Some Aztec stone calendars could be as large as 13 feet in diameter.
- In Ecuador, every New Year’s Eve is celebrated by burning the old year in effigy on top of a bonfire.
- The Hindu New Year is called Diwali, and falls in October or November.
- The ancient Greeks lived by a ten-day week.
- Early clocks only showed hours. How do you think you would feel if you only could tell time by hours and could not count the minutes?
- A.M. stands for the Latin words ante meridiem. Antemeridian means that the sun has not yet passed the meridian and it is before noon. P.M. stands for the Latin words post meridiem. Postmeridian means that the sun has passed the meridian and it is afternoon.
- The ancient Mayans lived by four different calendars: one that was lunar, one that was solar, one was based on festivals, and the last was based on the movements of Venus.
- In one second, a photon of light travels about 300,000,000 meters. Would you challenge a photon of light to a race?
- The age of the universe is believed to be about 12 to 13 billion years old.
- According to an English system of time units, a “moment” is equal to one minute and thirty seconds. Take a moment and think about that.
- A jiffy is a brief period of time lasting approximately 1/100 of a second.
- A quinquennium is a period of time lasting 5 years.
- A galactic year is a period of time lasting approximately 230 earth-years. It is the time it takes our sun to orbit the Milky Way galaxy.
- If a person counted at the rate of 100 numbers per minute and kept counting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and never stopped, it would take him nearly 7 days to count to a million, just over 19 years to count to a billion, and over190 centuries to count to a trillion.
- “Einstein’s Relativity – Interesting Facts.” Relativity Facts page. 17 Feb. 2007
- “Fun Science Facts You Didn’t Know.” High Tech Productions. 17 Feb.2007
- Walpole, Brenda. I Wonder Why the Sun Rises and Other Questions About Time and Seasons. New York: Southwestern, 1997.
Hutchinson, William H. A Maxton Book About Time. New York: Maxton, 1959.
- Le Lionnais, François. The Orion Book of Time. English translation ed. New York, NY: Orion, 1960.