About time too

Do you ever wonder what time is? Do you think of it as related to the regular ticking of a clock, as the coming up and going down of the sun, as the routines associated with the days of the week or as past, present and future? Maybe you view time as a fourth dimension or perhaps you don’t give it a thought and live for the moment.

Living the moment just about explains what current time is; it is the current interpretations by our brain of the data it gets from our body sensors. As such it is different for everyone and ever changing. We cannot hold onto or live again an experience. Precisely the same set of circumstances cannot be repeated. As time waits for nobody enjoy life experiences while you can.

Previous energy experiences are our past. Our brains store data in respect of our experiences. Some of that is seen as short term memory whilst more significant, useful and repetitively used data is held as longer term memories. Our brain store is not like an old shopkeeper store where everything had a place and it is certainly not like a modern supermarket where nothing has its place. In fact our brains don’t store memories in a single location at all.

An experience is made up of a multitude of fragments of information and a memory is a reassembly of such fragments of information brought from many different parts of the brain. We don’t understand this gathering process that creates the memory. We can in our dreams assemble highly detailed pictures of places we have never been, of people we have not met and of events that we have never experienced. They are the at rest work of the hundred or so billion neurons in our bodies and brains, each one having storage capacity in a multiplicity of synapses. assembling memory fragments.

Our future is the photon energy experiences our changing environment will deliver to us as an individual.They are not shared with anyone because the photons arriving at our body sensors and how we interpret them is unique to us. The person standing next to you may have similar but not the same experience and will interpret that experience different to you. Next time a football referee makes a decision you don’t agree with perhaps you will be a little more understanding.

Our eye retina sensors may at an instant in time be receiving visible light photons from both close by and distant objects. Light speed is fast but finite and so the photons we see left the distant object a tiny fraction of a second before they left the close object. Neither of those objects will truly be as we see them. This is particularly so with moving objects and with objects that are vast distances apart.

Although light travels at the phenomenal speed of 186,000 miles per second we are viewing our moon as it was a second and a half ago and any event on our sun we see 8 minutes after it happened. The planet Saturn we see as it was about 40 minutes ago and the light from Sirius the apparently brightest star in our night sky takes 8.6 years to reach us.

The Orion constellation dominates the night sky of the northern hemisphere in the winter months. The illustration shows the main stars of Orion and their distance in light years (ly) away. Whilst the light year is a distance it also tells us how long the light has been travelling to reach us. It should be clear that when we see Orion it is not as it is and not even as it was. Our image is of made up of many different points in time.

Light travelling from Betelgeuse (beetle-juice) takes 642.5 years to reach us. The distance the light has travelled to reach us is 642.5 light years and as the light has travelled at 186,000 miles in every second of that period the distance equates to about 3.8 quadrillion miles. Most people don’t realise they can see such distances.

With telescopes we can see even greater distances. The hubble telescope has seen a faint in appearance yet in reality really bright blue individual star called Icarus in a distant spiral galaxy. The light coming to it set off from Icarus 9 billion years ago, some 4.5 billion years before the earth existed. The furthest we can see with the aid of telescopes is about 13.3 billion light years.

We see the passage of time on earth as involving years, seasons, months,weeks, days, hours minutes and seconds. There has always been an historical interests in time. The Babylonians much used multiples and fractions of 60 and divided the year of 360 days into 12 divisions. To observe the passage of time some used sun dials, others burnt candles with marks on them whilst yet others used water pourings to measure the passage of times less than a day. It wasn’t until the fourteenth century that we had a weight driven mechanical clock which later developed into a pendulum clock.

Modern clocks are highly accurate and the most accurate among them use repetitive atomic energy exchanges. However no timer can ever be perfectly accurate because particles behave slightly differently in different environments. Atomic clocks use the element caesium and seek to maximise the numbers of electrons making energy jumps between two close energy levels. An adjustable quartz oscillator when at 9,192,631,770 cycles a second delivers that maximum and is used to count out seconds.

Atomic clocks maintain high levels of accuracy on earth as long as the external influences on their atomic particle motions remain unchanging. We can do our best to eliminate or minimise the effects of any local changes on the clock particle behaviours but we cannot avoid earth’s gravity influences or control earth’s motions in space. We rely on their consistency of influence.

However move an atomic clock to a changed height and therefore gravity situation or subject the clock to changed accelerations and decelerations as might be needed to maintain a “different than earth surface” speed and we mildly interfere with the inter particle energy arrangements within the clock. The clock speeds up or slows down. This may not be important in most circumstances but in global positioning systems satellite data has to be synchronised to provide accuracy. Satelite times have to be adjusted to give us accurate global positions.

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