Understanding Units of Time I

When it comes to units of time, there is much more than seconds, minutes and hours. Some unit of time is recognizable while some you most likely have never heard have before. In this article, you will encounter different measurements of seconds, weeks, and much longer.

The second is 1/60 of a minute, which is broken down into various units of measurement. A chronon is one-billionth or a trillionth of a second. This measurement is used to indicate the time a photon takes to cross the width of one electron at the speed of light. A femtosecond is 0.000000000000001 of a second. A picosecond is 0.00000000000001 (one-trillionth) of a second. A nanosecond is 0.0000000001 (one-billionth) of a second. A microsecond is 0.000001 (one-millionth) of a second. A millisecond is 0.0001 (one-thousandth) of a second. The blink of an eye takes 50 to 80 milliseconds. A centisecond is 0.01(one-hundredth) of a second.

To get an idea of what you can accomplish within a second of time , it takes 0.0001 seconds (or 1/1,000 second) for a fly to beat its wing once. One beat of a hummingbird’s wing happens 80 times per second or 0.0125 seconds. It takes 0.33 seconds for the human eye to blink. It takes a space shuttle 15 seconds to travel 62 miles (or 10 kilometers).

A minute equals 60 seconds. There are 60 minutes in one hour.

A day equals 24 hours and is measured from sunrise to sunrise (or sunset to sunset), or midnight to midnight. There are seven days in a week. Other references for a week were seven nights (or a sennight during William Shakespeare days). A fortnight is used to refer to two weeks. This term came from Old English language, which meant 14 nights. A solar day measures the time it takes for a place on the Earth directly facing the Sun to make one revolution and return to the same position (which is about 23 hours 56 minutes).

A month could range from 28 to 31 days , depending on the month. February has 28 days (or 29 on a leap year). A month measures 1/12 of a year or 4 weeks. Two months is expressed as a bimester. Three months is called a trimester. 12 months equals 1 year (or 52 weeks).  A leap year consists of 366 days , the extra day appears every four years in the month of February. A solar year (also called a tropical year or astronomical year) measures the time it takes for the Earth to make a complete revolution around the Sun.

To learn more about units of time measurement, check out the article titled, ” Understanding Units of Time,” which takes a look at the decade, century, and beyond , like the era, eon, and epoch.