Measuring Time With Precision Clocks


Time can be relative and objective at the same time.  If you dive into Einstein’s Relativity Theory, you’ll fight tooth and nail to support that time is a relative dimension.   On the other hand, if you are a rocket scientist working at NASA, you would be a freak on measuring objective time or else, your mission could go haywire.

Measuring objective time requires extremely sensitive machines to measure time called “precision clocks”.  I just read an article at Yahoo! News that U.S. physicists have made a clock so accurate it will neither gain nor lose even a second in more than 200 million years.  Wow!

This clock outperforms the official atomic clock used by the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology, which promises to keep accurate time down to the second for 80 million years.  Such highly precise clocks are critical for deep space navigation, where even a slight error can make or break a space mission.

The secret to making an extremely accurate clock is speeding up how fast it ticks. “If you make a mistake, you can know about that mistake very fast,” said Jun Ye, who developed the atomic clock at JILA.   Ye’s clock has 430 trillion “ticks” per second.

“This is the time scale that was made by the universe. It is very stable”, Ye said in a telephone interview.

Next time you arrive five minutes late to visit your girlfriend, remember how accurate this “lateness” is measured in one of Ye’s precision clocks.

Source:  Yahoo! News 

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