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Accurate time using Atomic Clock accuracy is available across North America using the WWVB Atomic Clock time signal transmitted from Colorado, it provides the ability to synchronize the time on computers and other electrical equipment. To see Galleons full range of Time Servers click here
Atomic clocks achieve accurate time because they are controlled
by radio transmitters which themselves receive their time
signals from amazingly accurate timepieces, Cesium Atomic
Clocks. These Cesium Atomic Clocks that have an accuracy of
one second in one million years!
Atomic clocks are time standards for counting the passing seconds. In addition, there are internationally agreed time scales which set the calendar and the beginning of each new day. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) was established as the first global time scale in 1884, and its 'atomic' equivalent, UTC, was adopted as the official time for the world in January 1972. The International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) acts as the official keeper of atomic time for the world. NPL uses its atomic clocks to contribute to the determination of UTC, along with approximately 230 other clocks from 65 laboratories world wide.
First accurate cesium atomic clock
The National Physics Laboratory developed the first accurate cesium atomic clock in 1955, which led to the internationally agreed definition of the second being based on atomic time.
NPL realized the atomic frequency standard for time with the construction of the first long beam apparatus based on the transition of the cesium-133 atom. Successive developments of this have remained the fundamental standard up to the present day.
The second is defined as 9,192,631,770 periods of the cesium-133 atom, and is currently realized at NPL to an accuracy of one second in 15 million years.
Scientists are currently working on technology to increase this accuracy to 1 second in 10 billion years.
WWVB atomic clock receiver
A radio system is available in North America set up and operated by NIST - the National Institute of Standards and Technology, located in Fort Collins, Colorado. NIST operates radio station WWVB, which is the station that transmits the time codes. WWVB has high transmitter power (50,000 watts), a very efficient antenna and an extremely low frequency (60,000 Hz). For comparison, a typical AM radio station broadcasts at a frequency of 1,000,000 Hz. The combination of high power and low frequency gives the radio waves from WWVB a lot of bounce, and this single station can therefore cover the entire continental United States plus much of Canada and Central America. The time codes are sent from WWVB using one of the simplest systems possible, and at a very low data rate of one bit per second. The 60,000 Hz signal is always transmitted, but every second it is significantly reduced in power for a period of 0.2, 0.5 or 0.8 seconds: • 0.2 seconds of reduced power means a binary zero • 0.5 seconds of reduced power is a binary one. • 0.8 seconds of reduced power is a separator. The time code is sent in BCD (Binary Coded Decimal) and indicates minutes, hours, day of the year and year, along with information about daylight savings time and leap years. The time is transmitted using 53 bits and 7 separators, and therefore takes 60 seconds to transmit. A clock or watch can contain an extremely small and relatively simple antenna and receiver to decode the information in the signal and set the clock's time accurately. All that you have to do is set the time zone, and the atomic clock will display the correct time.
MSF atomic clock receiver
The controlling radio signal for the National Physical Laboratory's
clock is transmitted on the MSF 60kHz signal via the transmitter
at Rugby, operated by British Telecom International. This
should have a range of some 1,500 km or 937.5 miles. All of
the British Isles are of course within this radius.
DCF atomic clock receiver
The controlling radio signal for the German clock is transmitted
via long wave from the DCF 77kHz transmitter at Mainflinger,
near Dieburg, some 25 km south east of Frankfurt - the transmitter
of German National Time Standards. It is similar in operation
to the Rugby transmitter, however there are two antennas (radio
masts) so the signal can be maintained at all times.
For more information contact Galleon