Greenwich Time Ball


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USA, Canada clocks on Daylight Saving Time until Sunday 2 November 2014 at 2am local time
Europe: Clocks on Summer Time until Sunday 26 October 2014 at 01:00 (1am) GMT
UK Clocks on British Summer Time (BST) until Sunday 26 October 2014 at 01:00 (1am) GMT


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Time Ball

What time does the time-ball drop at Greenwich?

In 1833 a red "Time Ball" was installed on the roof of the Royal Observatory Greenwich

  • Daily at 1pm a red time ball drops on the Old Observatory to set World Time

  • It drops at 1pm because the astronomers were busy with their telescopes with the midday sun.

At Greenwich the bright orange time-ball on the observatory roof drops at 1pm every day. It has done this every day since 1833. 1pm was originally chosen to enable the astronomers to undertake telescopic observations at noon. The tradition is maintained today for the benefit of tourists.  NB In summer it drops at 13:00 (1pm) BST or 12:00 (Noon) GMT.

In Washington DC, USA the time-ball was installed in 1845 and dropped every day at noon.  It was discontinued and has been reinstated for the millennium.

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Greenwich Time Ball