All about Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)

The Coordinated Universal Time system is known worldwide! It is simply described as the 24-hour time standard of the world. Now, you may be wondering how there can be such a universal time for the entire world when there are various time zones and of course the dreaded daylight savings time. Well, you have come to the right place!

What is Coordinated Universal Time?

Coordinated Universal Time or UTC, is the leading standard of time that the world uses to regulate the time and in turn, the clocks. The abbreviation for Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) was chosen as a compromise between English speakers and French speakers. UTC was ultimately seen as the proper abbreviation as it corresponded to the abbreviations for Universal Time.

As previously mentioned, Coordinated Universal Time is a 24-hour time standard for the world. It is unique in that it is not affected by daylight savings time and is thought to be similar to Greenwich Mean Time or GMT. However, Greenwich Mean Time is not recognized by the scientific community.

Brief History of Coordinated Universal Time

Coordinated Universal Time was first introduced on January 1, 1960. The Coordinated Universal Time unit is measured by the atomic second broadcasted by radio signals and became the core setting of all clocks. However, Coordinated Universal Time was eventually modified to allow leap seconds to occur when it was necessary. This modification was effective as of January 1, 1972.

When is Coordinated Universal Time used?

Coordinated Universal Time is primarily used as an international time scale for various outlets. These outlets include the military, Amateur Radio, NASA, Astronomical aviation publications and various other applications, organizations, and documents. This 24-hour time system is used as a primary reference around the world to a specific “point in time” of a location.

How to convert Coordinated Universal Time

In order to convert your time into Coordinated Universal Time, you must first know your time zone. The following is a chart to help you know what your Coordinated Universal Time is in your time zone.

United States Time Zones Coordinated Universal Time Conversion

Atlantic Daylight Time Add 3 hours to current time for UTC

Atlantic Standard Time Add 4 hours to current time for UTC

Eastern Daylight Time Add 4 hours to current time for UTC

Eastern Standard Time Add 5 hours to current time for UTC

Central Daylight Time Add 5 hours to current time for UTC

Central Standard Time Add 6 hours to current time for UTC

Mountain Daylight Time Add 6 hours to current time for UTC

Mountain Standard Time Add 7 hours to current time for UTC

Pacific Daylight Time Add 7 hours to current time for UTC

Pacific Standard Time Add 8 hours to current time for UTC

Alaska Daylight Time Add 8 hours to current time for UTC

Alaska Standard Time Add 9 hours to current time for UTC

Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time Add 10 hours to current time for UTC

Samoa Standard Time Add 11 hours to current time for UTC

Europe/Middle East Time Zones Coordinated Universal Time Conversion

Greenwich Mean Time Current time is the same as UTC

British Summer Time Subtract 1 hour from current time for UTC

Central European Time Subtract 1 hour from current time for UTC

Central European Summer Time Subtract 2 hours from current time for UTC

Eastern European Time Subtract 2 hours from current time for UTC

Eastern European Summer Time Subtract 3 hours from current time for UTC

Charlie Time (Middle East) Subtract 3 hours from current time for UTC

Delta time (Middle East) Subtract 4 hours from current time for UTC

Australian Time Zones Coordinated Universal Time Conversion

Western Standard Time Subtract 8 hours from current time for UTC

Western Summer Time Subtract 9 hours from current time for UTC

Central Standard Time Subtract 9 hours and 30 minutes from current time for UTC

Central Summer Time Subtract 10 hours and 30 minutes from current time for UTC

Eastern Time Subtract 10 hours from current time for UTC

Eastern Summer Time Subtract 11 hours from current time for UTC

To convert Coordinated Universal Time to your current time, you would simply do the opposite of the above directions.
How Coordinated Universal Time relates to time zones and Daylight Savings Time

 

As you may have gathered from the tables above, the time zone in which you are located is vital to knowing the Coordinated Universal Time. Time zones usually differ by quarter-hour, half-hours or full hours. Determining your Coordinated Universal Time may require you to add or subtract a specific number of half hours or full hours depending on where you are in the world.

This is where the charts above come in handy! It is simply impossible to know the Coordinated Universal Time of where you are located without knowing the time zone.

Daylight Savings Time is also listed amongst the time zones above. This is due to the varying local times throughout the year. For example, daylight savings time causes many of us to turn our clocks forward one hour when spring arrives, and then for us to turn our clocks back an hour with the arrival of autumn.

If our local time clocks are being changed due to Daylight Savings Time, then this will have an effect on the Coordinated Universal Time of your area.

However, it should be noted that it is the local time that is technically being changed, not the Universal Time. For example, if the east coast of the United States is experiencing winter then they are five hours behind Coordinated Universal Time.

On the other hand, if the east coast of the United States during Daylight Savings Time. This demonstrates how it is the local time that changes, not the Coordinated Universal Time.

 

Coordinated Universal Time is not necessarily the way we tell time on a daily basis in our everyday lives. This 24-hour clock, however, is useful to know for traveling purposes, for military personnel, NASA professionals, pilots, and for various other relevant documents, organizations, and international business meetings.