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Question: What Are Time Zones? And What Do The Abbreviations Mean?

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TIME ZONE ABBREVIATIONS:Go To Top

There are several abbreviations often used when referring to time, such as e.g. 11:00 ET which means 11:00 Eastern Time or New York time.

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS:Go To Top

Standard

UTC define the universal time zone, which all the other time zones are relative to. It observes no daylight saving time [summer time]. UTC is sometimes adjusted with "leap seconds" so that the difference between ITC time and the Earth's rotational time does not exceed 0.9 seconds. The offset between UTC and TAI is always an integral number of seconds. The last leap second added to UTC was on December 31st 1998 at 23:59:60 UTC [the last minute of 1998 had one extra second]. The next leap second is not yet decided, but there will be no leap second in 1999.

Following map courtesy of the U.S. Naval ObservatoryGo To Top

Following Map courtesy of "International Time Zones" web pageGo To Top

OTHER ABBREVIATIONS:Go To Top

European

US and Canada

AUSTRALIA

WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?Go To Top

Let's say you live in Tacoma, WA [how convenient :}] and you want to know what time it would be in Moscow, Russia.

Well… Tacoma is PST right now [UTC-7] and Moscow is MSK [UTC+3]. UTC = 0 or 0000/2400. UTC-7 is 7 hours earlier, making it 7 hours before midnight - 1700 hours/5:00 PM. Moscow is 3 hours after 0000/2400 making it 0300 there. 7+3=10. There's a 10 hour difference between the two cities. It's also the next day in Moscow as UTC=0 is the 'International dateline' and it changes days there. So it may be Friday night in Tacoma, but it's Saturday morning in Moscow.

For more information on time zone conversions, go to: "The Time Zone Convertor" or "World Time Zone" .

TIME ZONE LETTER ABBREVIATIONS:Go To Top

The basis for this is Z - Zulu time - Zero meridian time - the same as UTC It's a convention to assign letters to time zones, where Z= Zero meridian, and Zulu is the word that represents the letter Z, when it's used in communication. It is sometimes used in the US Military and NATO in conjunction with 24 hour clocks, and is also popular to use in movies to reference time.

Other letters/words are used for other time zones than UTC, most based on the right or reverse order of the Alphabet, although 'J' is skipped ('J' refers to current local time of the observer) (there are 25 time zones defined here, but 26 letters in the alphabet), Zulu is an exception to this, in the middle, here from the International Date Line, going west, until the International Date Line is reached again.

Letter Word Difference

Y

Yankee

UTC - 12 hours

X

Xray

UTC - 11 hour

W

Whiskey

UTC - 10 hour

V

Victor

UTC - 9 hour

U

Uniform

UTC - 8 hour

T

Tango

UTC - 7 hour

S

Sierra

UTC - 6 hour

R

Romeo

UTC - 5 hour

Q

Quebec

UTC - 4 hour

P

Papa

UTC - 3 hour

O

Oscar

UTC - 2 hour

N

November

UTC - 1 hour

Z

Zulu

same as UTC

A

Alpha

UTC + 1 hour

B

Bravo

UTC + 2 hours

C

Charlie

UTC + 3 hours

D

Delta

UTC + 4 hours

E

Echo

UTC + 5 hours

F

Foxtrot

UTC + 6 hours

G

Golf

UTC + 7 hours

H

Hotel

UTC + 8 hours

I

India

UTC + 9 hours

K

Kilo

UTC + 10 hours

L

Lima

UTC + 11 hours

M

Mike

UTC + 12 hours
International Date Line is between time zones M and Y (24 hours/one day differs) The letter 'J' for 'Juliet' is used to refer to local time of the observer.

[This table is courtesy of "Common Time Zone Abbreviations" as I saw no reason to re-invent the wheel.]

Rowan 12/27/99

[Jari L. James] rowan@oz.net

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