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Time Keeping

With the day as long as it is, there has to be a way for them to keep time and it can’t be the same as ours because that’d bee a – too convenient and b – not a good fit.

12 doesn’t go into 28 an exact number of times after all, and nor does 6 which is the number our clocks are based around. But 7 does, handily enough.

The Alien Clock

28 hours in one day

1 day is split into four quarters each 7 hours long

1 day can also be split into seven periods each 4 hours long

1 hour equals 70 minutes

1 minute equals 70 seconds

Simple eh? But how does this all relate to our clock?

Time Conversion

The first task was to figure out how many seconds were in an alien day both according to their own seconds and to ours so that we can move on from there, and thus:

28(70×70) = 137,200 seconds/day

28(60×60) = 100,800 seconds/day

And so….

1 alien second = 0.735 earth seconds

1 earth second = 1.36 alien seconds

1 earth minutes = 81.67 alien seconds

1 alien minute = 51.43 earth seconds

1 alien hour = 1 earth hour

The hours being the same length makes sense when you think about it, given I worked that out from having 28 hours in a day, and that was 28 hours earth time. I could have gone with something very very different but it actually makes sense in terms of day length, if the day was I dunno, 30.5 hours long, I would have tried to do something very very different. But this makes sense.

I got to the idea of using seven for a few reasons, partly because it is part way between base five and base ten (I’ll talk about that more later) and partly because it mimics the number of cultures on earth who decided it was a grand idea to split the day into sixes once they started to formalise time keeping.

The various cultures in the world, whatever they end up being (and I’ve already ideas on that) probably had a few different ways of keeping time that worked for them but started to fall short once life became a bit more regulated and this system which plugs all the gaps came into affect spreading from the same group who used base ten.

On seconds and Questions on Time

My first problem was in trying to split things down in a neat and consistent manner whilst keeping earth seconds and ended up with odd things like 24 hours in an alien day but seventy minutes being in an hour and sixty seconds in that minute – earth seconds. Whilst this looked odd and was too similar to our own clocks it did make me wonder where our definition of a second came from.

A second, initially, came from a fixed proportion of the Earth’s turn and a few other factors that we realised, once our technology levels increased, were not in actual fact fixed. The technical definition now goes like this:

“The duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium 133 atom.”

Which basically means a specific caesium atom, of a certain number of neutrons, at rest, at absolute zero and compensating for gravitational-time dilation at zero magnetic field… and then a certain number of periods. I assume they were chosen because it corresponded closest with what we already saw as a second.

But the point is that it’s something extremely unlikely for an alien species to also chose and so I abandoned the idea of keeping even the second the same and went with the seven thing all the way down. And smiled when an hour ended up being the same anyway. I’m not sure what their official and technical definition of a second is but it too will probably be based on the radiation given off by atoms – as that seems like a handy, scientific, fixed and measurable thing to use. Which element and how many periods they chose I do not know.

I was going to put some of the stuff I came up with about how time used to be kept in a couple different regions and their base math but that seems like it’d go into a separate post. And so it shall.

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