As timepieces became more accurate, timekeepers became more aware of how inaccurate previous timepieces had been. By the 1950s, scientists had to confront the fact that the original timepiece—Earth itself—isn't as accurate as we all like to think. Continue reading →
¡SkyCaramba! Weekly astronomy blog for the week ending November 23, 2013
For thousands of years, telling the time was inextricably related to noting the positions of objects in the sky. When the sun was highest in the sky, people agreed it was noon. Some people needed more accurate scheduling than saying before noon, after noon, or night. They developed various methods of dividing the day into smaller pieces. Thousands of years ago, candle clocks marked time by how much wax had burned away. Water clocks did so by how much water dripped in or out of a container.
In the 1200s, as Europeans started thinking of ways to make machines to assist them in their work, a few engineering people developed clocks that worked by directing and redirecting energy stored in a pendulum. As the pendulum swung back and forth, it turned gears, pulled on bars and rods, and ultimately moved a pointer from which a person could read ...