ΔT (timekeeping)

ΔT (timekeeping), Measure of variation of solar time from atomic time.

ΔT (timekeeping) image

In precise timekeeping, ΔT (Delta T, delta-T, deltaT, or DT) is a measure of the cumulative effect of the departure of the Earth's rotation period from the fixed-length day of atomic time. Formally it is the time difference obtained by subtracting Universal Time (UT, defined by the Earth's rotation) from Terrestrial Time (TT, independent of the Earth's rotation): ΔT TT − UT. The value of ΔT for the start of 1902 was approximately zero; for 2002 it was about 64 seconds. So the Earth's rotations over that century took about 64 seconds longer than would be required for days of atomic time. As well as this long-term drift in the length of the day there are short-term fluctuations in the length of day (Δτ) which are dealt with separately. Calculation The Earth's rotational speed is ν 1/2π dθ/dt, and a day corresponds to one period P 1/ν.
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