Have you ever watched a movie and a character said, “If I could go back in time…?” Well, if you think about it, time travelling might be impossible but travelling back is possible. All thanks to the different time zones, daytime for you is nighttime for someone else.
The earth revolves around its axis, meaning only certain parts of the world receive sunshine at specific times. Having different time zones, therefore, makes perfect sense. Let’s look at some of the most fascinating time zone facts without wasting much time.
1. There Are 24 Time Zones
The time in America is different from China, Russia, Bangladesh or any other country because of the distance from the Greenwich Meridian. This is the universally agreed-upon longitude used to measure and determine the different time zones.
Given the hour difference for every region, it only makes sense that there are 24 time zones. Smaller countries usually have one time zones. On the other hand, the bigger states, such as Russia and the United States, have as many as 11 time zones.
2. Some Time Zones Defy Logic
Usually, bigger countries have more time zones because the possibility of having different regions lying on other parts of the time-determining longitudes is very high. This explains why the United States has 11 times (the states are scattered everywhere). However, this is not always the case.
For instance, France is a relatively smaller country than China, Russia, and the United States. However, guess who has the most time zones in the mentioned countries? France! Yes, that’s right, the French region has the most time zones in the world, with 12.
On the contrary, massive as it is, China has only one time zone. Initially, there were 5 time zones in the country. However, when President Mao Zedong was in charge, the country switched to one standard time (Beijing Standard Time) in 1949. Still, even with the original 5 time zones, France was still clear.
3. There Are 2 Neighboring Countries with a 24-Hour Time Difference.
Samoa and American Samoa are neighbors but have a 24-hour time difference, thanks to time zones. To put this into perspective, Tuesday at 11:30 P.M in Samoa is Monday at 11:30 P.M in American Samoa. American Samoa waits for a full day before celebrating the New Year after Samoa!
There is an imaginary date line used to separate two consecutive calendar days. This means a country on either side can be UTC+12 or UTC-12. For example, before the dateline was redrawn in 2012, Samoa operated on UTC-11. However, the new changes saw the country skip December 30 and fall into the UTC+13 time zone. Samoa has a closer time zone to Australia, which is literally a world apart, than American Samoa, its neighbor.
4. Time Zones are A Product of The Transcontinental Railroad
While there were many small local time zones before the transcontinental railroad’s construction, the completion of this infrastructure further catapulted the creation of the now globally-recognized time zones. The authorities had to develop four major time zones to keep and maintain accurate schedules.
5. Sir Sanford Fleming Invented Time Zones
When Canadian engineer Sir Sanford Fleming missed his train in 1876 because of time variations, he developed the idea of having standard time zones. A perfect scenario of necessity being the mother of invention.
6. Daylight Saving Time (DST) Affects Time Zones
Since its enactment as a rule, Daylight Saving Time, popularly known as DST, has helped guide people on the length of the days. It allows better and more efficient daytime use, even as the seasons change and the earth’s position in its orbit shifts.
During the summer, Daylight Saving Time pushes the clock by an hour when the daytime is longer. When the weather is colder and the nights are longer, DST shifts the clock an hour back. Note that DST is only popular in selected regions such as Europe, The United States, Canada, Cuba, Haiti, Paraguay, and Chile.