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New US Atomic Clock Goes Live

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the in-real-time dept.

Science 127

PaisteUser (810863) writes with news about a new, hyper-accurate atomic clock unveiled by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. "A new atomic clock, so accurate it will lose or gain only one second every 300 million years, was unveiled Thursday by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a branch of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The NIST-F2 had been in development for about a decade and is three times more accurate than the F1, which has been in use since 1999. The institute will continue operating both clocks for now at its campus in Boulder, Colorado."

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Ah another seemingly benign NIST approved standard (3, Funny)

bazmail (764941) | about 5 months ago | (#46655211)

I wonder what backdoor the NSA has built into this.

Re:Ah another seemingly benign NIST approved stand (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 5 months ago | (#46655419)

Ahhh...Slashdot...where the first post for literally any submission is likely to reference NSA backdoors.

Re:Ah another seemingly benign NIST approved stand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46655497)

Exactly. It is odd to blame the NSA for what the Republicans are doing. They are the ones that are anti-science and trying to kill tech companies in the US. They're going a good job of shutting down innovation at cisco. They haven't done anything noteworthy in over a decade.

Re:Ah another seemingly benign NIST approved stand (4, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 5 months ago | (#46655595)

Is the new clock metric, or the old English units of measure?

Re:Ah another seemingly benign NIST approved stand (1)

schneidafunk (795759) | about 5 months ago | (#46655709)

I think you mean old Sumerians unit of measure.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S... [wikipedia.org]
  It originated with the ancient Sumerians in the 3rd millennium BC,

Re:Ah another seemingly benign NIST approved stand (1)

Cryacin (657549) | about 5 months ago | (#46656733)

I've always wondered at what point in time do atomic clocks become more accurate than time dilation differences as we move through the universe from one place on Earth to the other.

Re:Ah another seemingly benign NIST approved stand (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46657779)

Atomic clocks in the 70s could show dilation effects from travel on airplanes or in satellites. GPS satellites regularly have to deal with this. The most precise clocks these days (more precise than the ones in the story here) can measure time dilation effects from just stacking the clocks on top of each other due to change in altitude of less than a meter. But for the most part these effects don't matter in the big picture, as you can define time relative to a frame not moving with respect to Earth at a specific elevation.

Re:Ah another seemingly benign NIST approved stand (0)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 5 months ago | (#46657097)

Oh, how you DO babble-on!

Re:Ah another seemingly benign NIST approved stand (1)

k8to (9046) | about 5 months ago | (#46658301)

The Sumerians gave us the number "base-like" system that is used in time, but the actual units of hours and seconds that we use didn't come until much later. The Babylonians for example divided the day into 6 top-level units and then down from there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Ah another seemingly benign NIST approved stand (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 5 months ago | (#46655713)

It's in the US. What do you think? Of course it's using that old "60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour" bullcrap!

Re:Ah another seemingly benign NIST approved stand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46656471)

At least north of the border [fly.ws] we are making the transition to the much simpler metric time.

Re:Ah another seemingly benign NIST approved stand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46657849)

None of that matters, all that matters is that it is "hyper-accurate". Eventually it will be followed by the "ridiculous-accurate" and then .. yes .. "ludicrous-accurate". After that one must go to plaid.

Re:Ah another seemingly benign NIST approved stand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46656695)

Exactly, where else would you instigate political incitement, where none existed before because, well, slashdot.

Re:Ah another seemingly benign NIST approved stand (1)

schneidafunk (795759) | about 5 months ago | (#46655535)

And second is "first post" :)

Re:Ah another seemingly benign NIST approved stand (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 5 months ago | (#46656299)

this is a clock, with uncertainty at both the front and back. therefore, it could be a front-door for the NSA.

and if its a quantum clock, it could be both (or neither) at the same time!

Re:Ah another seemingly benign NIST approved stand (-1, Flamebait)

InsultsByThePound (3603437) | about 5 months ago | (#46655463)

Not as big as I made the backdoor on your mom.

Re:Ah another seemingly benign NIST approved stand (1)

Christopher McGinnis (2906511) | about 5 months ago | (#46655561)

"Mister potatah head. Mister potatah head! Back doors are not secrets!" - Jim (War Games)

Re:Ah another seemingly benign NIST approved stand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46656717)

See it by pointing your NTP client to time.nist.gov. Your clock is staying in sync!!! For now.

Re:Ah another seemingly benign NIST approved stand (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about 5 months ago | (#46658871)

I just wonder what the Prompt Zone (Blast Radius) will be when the alarm goes off

How, exactly, do we know? (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 5 months ago | (#46655353)

What do we have to reference it against, and isn't it arbitrarily exactly correct?

How the hell would we know if it was wrong?

Re:How, exactly, do we know? (1)

Kenja (541830) | about 5 months ago | (#46655391)

It is the reference. Time is relative, we use these atomic clocks to set standards for comparison.

Mod parent up (1)

schneidafunk (795759) | about 5 months ago | (#46655501)

Exactly, this will be the standard for all other time standards. Just like they have their standard kilogram stored in a vault in france for reference: http://www.wired.com/2013/01/k... [wired.com]

Re:Mod parent up (3, Informative)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 5 months ago | (#46655581)

No, the weight of a kilogram is completely arbitrary. They are trying to fix it to something but right now it is just a weight.

A atomic clock works by counting the vibrations in an atom. The atomic clock fails when it miscounts the vibration of an atom, causing the error. The new clock is so good at counting that errors rarely occur.

Re:Mod parent up (1)

schneidafunk (795759) | about 5 months ago | (#46655645)

They are trying to fix it to something but right now it is just a weight.

Kilograms are a weight.

Kilograms are a weight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46655715)

Kilograms are a MASS

Re:Kilograms are a weight (1)

schneidafunk (795759) | about 5 months ago | (#46655739)

You're right, my apologies.

Re:Kilograms are a weight (2)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 5 months ago | (#46656315)

Kilograms are a MASS

No, they are pretty neat actually.

Re:Kilograms are a weight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46656931)

Kilograms are a MASS

Wow, you learn something new every day. When does the Pope celebrate kilograms? I'd really like to see that.

Re:Mod parent up (1)

msauve (701917) | about 5 months ago | (#46655773)

Kilograms are not weight, they are mass.

Re:Mod parent up (1)

msauve (701917) | about 5 months ago | (#46655757)

Kilograms are units of mass, not weight ( that would be Newtons, which is a force).

Errors are not caused by "miscounting," but due to the fact that no physical realization can be perfect. The second is defined under the conditions of zero acceleration (i.e. no gravity) and at a temperature of absolute zero, neither of which are attainable in practice.

Re:Mod parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46658883)

"The second is defined under the conditions of zero acceleration (i.e. no gravity) and at a temperature of absolute zero, neither of which are attainable in practice."

Well then, that would make that there definition a piss-poor one then, wouldn't it?

Re:Mod parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46657253)

No, the weight of a kilogram is completely arbitrary.

And the length of a second/minute/hour isn't?

Re:Mod parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46658907)

> An atomic clock works by counting the vibrations in an atom.

Well, what counts it?

Re:Mod parent up (2)

msauve (701917) | about 5 months ago | (#46655847)

The internationally agreed time standard (TAI or UTC, which are the same, only different) is based on an ensemble of clocks throughout the world. The contribution from NIST (and USNO) is only a part of the realization.

Because of this, actual time can only be known after the fact, because post-processing is needed.

Re:How, exactly, do we know? (2)

bazmail (764941) | about 5 months ago | (#46655625)

If it is the reference then making claims about its accuracy is surly redundant?

Re:How, exactly, do we know? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46655723)

I dunno, it rather seemed politely redundant to me. Not threatening at all.

Re:How, exactly, do we know? (1)

rgbatduke (1231380) | about 5 months ago | (#46657479)

Sadly, AC or not, I would have modded this up if only my mod points hadn't disappeared today.

rgb (and don't call me Surly...)

Re:How, exactly, do we know? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46656605)

The accuracy referred to is the measurement uncertainty of the instrument. Imagine you built ten of these clocks, and put them in adjacent rooms. The accuracy can be considered to be the mean drift between the clocks over time.

This is an over-simplification, because it is infact measured by comparing the clock to other atomic clocks distributed across the world, each of which is adjusted by taking known relativistic effects and other biases into consideration, and they are non-linearly averaged to create UTC (coordinated universal time), and the deviation from UTC is considered the accuracy of the clock in question.

In practice the accuracy of these clocks is calculated before they are even built, reasoning from known physical laws and taking into consideration the uncertainty principle.

What is important about atomic clocks is that they do not have intrinsic aging. With a mechanical clock (including quartz and silicon resonators), the frequency standard is based on a mechanical artifact which degrades over time. With an atomic clock, even the off-the-shelf rubidium oscillators, you are instead measuring an atomic physical phenomenon (the H=0 hyperfine ground state transition of Rubidium and Caesium respectively), so while the clocks count may deviate due to uncertainty and noise and wrong-mode operation (strong magnetic fields will cause this), the frequency will remain constant until the Rb flash tube fails, or in the case of a fountain clock, the clock runs out of Rb/Cs.

Hydrogen masers actually have a smaller linewidth (spread of frequency output) than atomic clocks, and are thus used in astronomy and physics for distributed coherency and synthetic aperture applications, but the inferior noise floor of them means they have worse long-term accuracy.

Re:How, exactly, do we know? (2)

aaron4801 (3007881) | about 5 months ago | (#46656237)

And what, exactly, is the point if they have to reset it every year or two anyway due to leap seconds?

Re:How, exactly, do we know? (1)

fizzer06 (1500649) | about 5 months ago | (#46655583)

I guess it's "good enough for government work".

Re:How, exactly, do we know? (3, Funny)

grub (11606) | about 5 months ago | (#46655591)

Every day at noon they compare it to the sundial out back.

Re:How, exactly, do we know? (3, Interesting)

schneidafunk (795759) | about 5 months ago | (#46655607)

Even if it is arbitrary, we can use it for synchronization as long as every relies on it as the standard.

FTA:
  "If we've learned anything in the last 60 years of building atomic clocks, we've learned that every time we build a better clock, somebody comes up with a use for it that you couldn't have foreseen," says physicist Steven Jefferts, lead designer of NIST-F2.

Re:How, exactly, do we know? (1)

Tony Isaac (1301187) | about 5 months ago | (#46657817)

It is, actually, possible to measure such things.

Consider GPS, which relies on the accuracy of atomic clocks in orbit. Each GPS satellite has its own independent clock, which must be accurate to within about 40 billionths of a second, over the life of the satellite. http://gpsinformation.net/main... [gpsinformation.net] If the accuracy of one of the satellites' clocks is greater than that threshold, your GPS unit will incorrectly report your location. The accuracy of GPS coordinates is one way to calculate the accuracy of the atomic clocks in orbit. Multiply the error rate (in billionths of a second) times the life of the clock, and you can arrive at a number of years it will take for the clock to be 1 second off.

Similar types of calculations can be done with these new, faster clocks. No, it's not necessary to wait 300 million years to see if the clock is one second off. That number is simply an extrapolation.

The sky is the ultimate clock, I think? (1)

mmell (832646) | about 5 months ago | (#46658505)

At least, every timekeeping instrument I've ever heard of is designed to measure fractions of the interval defined as a day/year/trip around the galactic center (at this point, I'm considering the calendar to be an extension of the clock).

Software upgrade (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46655401)

I suppose this means I will have to upgrade my ntpd.

So... (3, Insightful)

minipulator (821212) | about 5 months ago | (#46655437)

How do I point ntpdate to it?

Re:So... (1)

HunterZ (20035) | about 5 months ago | (#46655775)

I want to know that same thing, but for the cluster of ntpd servers running on my LAN.

Re:So... (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 5 months ago | (#46655857)

I want to know that same thing, but for the cluster of ntpd servers running on my LAN.

I'd help you but you didn't specify you were running a Beowulf cluster.

Re:So... (1)

msauve (701917) | about 5 months ago | (#46655789)

Indirectly, via a GPS refclock.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46656659)

This.

I can't believe people are still relying on the internet to synchronise their toplevel timeserver. A dedicated GPS NTP server is a couple of hundred dollars, and you can get a $60 navigation receiver (RS232, not USB) with PPS that will provide superior accuracy than any internet NTP server (because of jitter caused by queuing in intermediate switches and routers).

The only way to get better accuracy than GPS is bidirectional handshaking with a time standard over VSAT or fiber, and if you need that kind of accuracy, you're probably already aware of and/or doing this.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46657087)

Define accuracy.
It's trivial to get better overall stability than GPS.
GPS disciplined Rb or Cs.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46657145)

This.

I can't believe people are still relying on the internet to synchronise their toplevel timeserver. A dedicated GPS NTP server is a couple of hundred dollars, and you can get a $60 navigation receiver (RS232, not USB) with PPS that will provide superior accuracy than any internet NTP server (because of jitter caused by queuing in intermediate switches and routers).

The only way to get better accuracy than GPS is bidirectional handshaking with a time standard over VSAT or fiber, and if you need that kind of accuracy, you're probably already aware of and/or doing this.

OR... You could save that money and get a time reference for free over the Internet.

Not everyone has systems that need time accurate to microseconds.

Re:So... (1)

devman (1163205) | about 5 months ago | (#46656153)

List of NIST time servers here: http://tf.nist.gov/tf-cgi/serv... [nist.gov] If you want to be a good NTP citizen you probably shouldn't use these servers directly though, unless your running a very large network and syncing your own ntp servers. Some ISPs run time servers on their gateways or DNS servers, it is a decent way to get an NTP sync that is "network close" to you.

Re:So... (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 5 months ago | (#46657437)

It's dark outside.

It's night.

This wouldn't help me get to bed earlier anyway so why bother. (~04:42 local time as if it matters.)

Re:So... (1)

chuckinator (2409512) | about 5 months ago | (#46657485)

ntpdate wwv.nist.gov

Tier II. (1)

mmell (832646) | about 5 months ago | (#46658515)

That is all.

so the new clock is 3x as accurate as the old one? (4, Funny)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 5 months ago | (#46655445)

Well, it's important to me to be accurate within one second every three hundred million years!

Not sure how I'd manage if my time was only accurate to one second in ONE hundred million years....

Re:so the new clock is 3x as accurate as the old o (3, Informative)

mythosaz (572040) | about 5 months ago | (#46655505)

NIST has vastly more accurate clocks - so I don't see what the big deal is.

http://www.nist.gov/pml/div688... [nist.gov]

Re:so the new clock is 3x as accurate as the old o (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46655719)

The higher-accuracy clocks are not based on Cesium, which is a necessary basis for Standards Compliance. As I understand it, the F3 clock (from the article) is a "Cesium-fountain" atomic clock and is therefore suitable for use in standards-based calculations. The clock(s) referenced in that article, on the other hand, are Mercury and Aluminum based and therefore cannot be referenced according to SI standards.. The SI governing body would have to change their standard for the other clocks to be considered, but given how many things are based on the Standard, modifying it is a non-trivial exercise...

-AC

Re:so the new clock is 3x as accurate as the old o (2)

Knee Patch (2647703) | about 5 months ago | (#46655685)

Several of the sciences depend on extremely accurate timing. It's not a question of seconds lost over millions of years, but rather "how accurately can I time an event that is only a few nanoseconds long", or even better, "Exactly how far apart were these two events, even if the events are separated by hours, or days". It's misleading for the media to talk about timing in the way that they do, but apparently normal people's brains explode when someone says "nanosecond" or "parts per billion".

Re:so the new clock is 3x as accurate as the old o (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46656805)

It's especially misleading because we don't know how long a year will be in 300 million years to an accuracy of 10**-16 (0.1ppt) which is the design accuracy of NIST-F2.

We know precisely how long a second is, because we define it as such, but the length of a year is determined by the position of the earth in it's solar orbit and by the axial tilt, and both are affected by the positions of other planets and bodies in the solar system and by objects passing through the solar system which we don't yet know about, in some (perhaps most) cases that we can't yet know about because of Planck's constant*. As a physicist it seems odd to me to compare the uncertainty of some measurement in terms of another measurement that has even greater uncertainty.

* They are far enough away, cold enough and small enough that they have reflected or emitted less than one photon that is incident on the earth.

Re:so the new clock is 3x as accurate as the old o (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46656911)

Oops. 10**-16 is 0.1 parts per quadrillion, not parts per trillion. My bad.

Re:so the new clock is 3x as accurate as the old o (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46657819)

Or you could be like astronomers and use the Julian year which has an exact definition, then there is no difference in uncertainty expressed either way.

Re:so the new clock is 3x as accurate as the old o (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46657799)

Reminds me of the story of the guy trying to getting out of a speeding ticket by claiming he couldn't have been going 70 mph since he had not been driving for an hour...

Re:so the new clock is 3x as accurate as the old o (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 5 months ago | (#46655819)

I thought you were being funny, but it turns out you're totally serious. I didn't know the current clock was that accurate.

Re:so the new clock is 3x as accurate as the old o (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46655929)

Would someone tell me how this happened? We were the fucking vanguard of timekeeping industry in this country. The Naval Institute was the time to keep. Then the other guy came out with accuracy of 1 part per few billion. Were we scared? Hell, no. Because we hit back with a little thing called the Atomic fucking clock. That's A for both atomic and an aloe strip. For moisture. But you know what happened next? Shut up, I'm telling you what happened—the bastards went to went all nuclear on us. They've introduced accuracy of 1 second in 300 million years. Now we're standing around with our cocks in our hands, selling 1 part per few billion and a fucking strip. Accuracy or no, suddenly we're the chumps. Well, fuck it. We're going to 500 million.

Sure, we could go to 400 million next, like the competition. That seems like the logical thing to do. After all, three worked out pretty well, and four is the next number after three. So let's play it safe. Why innovate when we can follow? Oh, I know why: Because we're a business, that's why!

You think it's crazy? It is crazy. But I don't give a shit. From now on, we're the ones who have the edge in the time-keeping game. Are they the best a man can get? Fuck, no. Navy is the best a man can get.

What part of this don't you understand? If accuracy of one second in 100 million years is good, and one in three million is better, obviously one in five million would make us the best fucking time keeping machine that ever existed. Comprende? We didn't claw our way to the top of the clock making game by clinging to the pendulum industry standard. We got here by taking chances. Well, one in 500 million is the biggest chance of all.

Here's the report from Engineering. Someone put it in the bathroom: I want to wipe my ass with it. They don't tell me what to invent—I tell them. And I'm telling them to stick two hundred million years in there. I don't care how. Make the atoms so small they're invisible. Put some on the handle. I don't care if they have to cram the last 100 million years in perpendicular to the other four, just do it!

You're taking the "safety" part of "nuclear safety" too literally, grandma. Cut the strings and soar. Let's hit it. Let's roll. This is our chance to make time keeping history. Let's dream big. All you have to do is say that one second in five hundred million years can happen, and it will happen. If you aren't on board, then fuck you. And if you're on the board, then fuck you and your father. Hey, if I'm the only one who'll take risks, I'm sure as hell happy to hog all the glory when the one second in 500 million years becomes the standard in the U.S. of "this is how tell time from now on" A.

People said we couldn't go to three. It'll cost a fortune to manufacture, they said. Well, we did it. Now some egghead in a lab is screaming "Five's crazy?" Well, perhaps he'd be more comfortable in the labs at Casio, working on fucking electrics. Wrist watches, my white ass!

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe we should just ride in CERN's wake and make particle accelerators. Ha! Not on your fucking life! The day I shadow a penny-ante outfit like CERN is the day I leave the atomic clock game for good, and that won't happen until the day I die!

The market? Listen, we make the market. All we have to do is put her out there with a little jingle. It's as easy as, "Hey, telling time with anything less than 0.000000% accuracy is like trying to tell time from vcr display after a power outage" Or "Sure you'll still be late, but now you know exactly how late"
I know what you're thinking now: What'll people say? Mew mew mew. Oh, no, what will people say?! Grow the fuck up. When you're on top, people talk. That's the price you pay for being on top. Which we are, always have been, and forever shall be, Amen. 1 second / 500 million years - sweet Jesus in heaven.

Stop. I just had a stroke of genius. Are you ready? Open your mouth, baby birds, cause Mama's about to drop you one sweet, fat nightcrawler. Here she comes: Put another ntp stratum server on that fucker, too. That's right. One second Five Hundred million years, two strips, and a stratum server. You heard me—the second strip serves stratum. It's a whole new way to think about measuring time. Don't question it. Don't say a word. Just key the music, and call the chorus girls, because we're on the edge—the atomic edge—and I feel like dancing.

Re:so the new clock is 3x as accurate as the old o (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46656773)

This is post of the year. OBVIOUSLY the result of high-grade peyote. Ron fucking Howard should make a movie loosely based on its contents. Morgan fucking Freeman could star in it. That bastard will act in ANYTHING.

Re:so the new clock is 3x as accurate as the old o (1)

stox (131684) | about 5 months ago | (#46656881)

Re:so the new clock is 3x as accurate as the old o (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 5 months ago | (#46656915)

You wouldn't want your clock to be inaccurate. I mean what if you went into stasis for 18 months and came out 300 million years later?

link? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46655461)

The link to the "forthcoming article" at the bottom of the article doesn't work. I want to read the details, but can't seem to

cmod 3own (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46655473)

Still waiting for the rice grain sized Atom Clocks (1)

InsultsByThePound (3603437) | about 5 months ago | (#46655489)

You know, the ones that will enable gps devices to be accurate to a few centimeters. That will allow robotic lawnmowers without wiring up the borders on the property, drones to airdrop missiles or fast food on my front door. Stuff like that. So what will this be good for?

Re:Still waiting for the rice grain sized Atom Clo (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 5 months ago | (#46657159)

....drones to airdrop missiles or fast food on my front door.

Hence the term "gut bombs".

Re:Still waiting for the rice grain sized Atom Clo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46657835)

Centimeter scale GPS has been available since the start using carrier wave based positioning, although used to be really, really expensive. Atomic clocks on a chip were developed in 2004 by NIST, and have now been commercially available for a couple years.

300 million years (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 5 months ago | (#46655503)

" it will lose or gain only one second every 300 million years"

Will it keep going for that long?

Whats the point of time that accurate, when its going to be + or - an hoir every six months

Re:300 million years (3, Insightful)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about 5 months ago | (#46656481)

The point is not to get the actual date/time accurately, the point is to get the very accurate amount of time that elapsed between two events.

F1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46655541)

so the F1 only used to gain or lose a second every 100million years??

All that accuracy... (2)

grub (11606) | about 5 months ago | (#46655569)

... but they will still have to manually adjust for DST twice a year.

Re:All that accuracy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46656647)

No, DST happens on the local machines when they compute their offset from UTC.

Leap seconds are the phenomenon you are looking for.

YOU FAIL iT? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46655599)

has steadily Due to 7he troub7es teeth into when

Resolution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46655649)

Anyone know what is the smallest time measurable by the clock? That's a much more important metric than "accurate to 1 second in 300 million years". I mean, if it only loses 1 second in 1 billion years, but tells you the time in minutes, it's completely useless.

gravitational time dialation (4, Informative)

volvox_voxel (2752469) | about 5 months ago | (#46655695)

I met a guy that used to work at NIST that mentioned that their clocks are so sensitive, they can tell what floor the atomic clocks are on because of of the slightly different gravitational potential each clock experiences. I wonder what kind of resolution the can resolve. Can a very massive bolder throw off the clock a little? ..perhaps one day we will have to keep better track of the local gravitational potential well. It's possible to measure the gravitational constant with simple apparatus at home. Using two massive bodies in a torsion pendulum arrangement, you can estimate "big G" -- http://www.owlnet.rice.edu/~do... [rice.edu]

Here is an wikipedia article that mentions the phenomena with atomic clocks: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G... [wikipedia.org]

A man with one atomic clock knows what time it is. (5, Funny)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 5 months ago | (#46655727)

A man with two atomic clocks is never sure.

will XP still work with this New Clock? (1)

turkeydance (1266624) | about 5 months ago | (#46656017)

please make XP work. please.

Wise Man Says (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 5 months ago | (#46656161)

Man with one atomic clock knows what time it is, man with two isn't sure.

Re:Wise Man Says (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 5 months ago | (#46656351)

man with 2 atomic clocks is a foolish man; the same money could be spent on a gps receiver that disciplines the atomic clock.

(yes, I'm actually serious)

Where Time Comes From (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46656221)

The time that ends up on your smartphone—and that synchronizes GPS, military operations, financial transactions, and internet communications—originates in a set of atomic clocks on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory. Dr. Demetrios Matsakis, Chief Scientist for USNO's Time Services, gives a tour.

http://vimeo.com/87871443 [vimeo.com]

in development for about a decade? (1)

HtR (240250) | about 5 months ago | (#46656495)

It's accurate to 1 second in 300 million years, and the development time is "about a decade"?
I feel like my brain has whiplash reading about these differences in time precision.

Have to remember... (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about 5 months ago | (#46656511)

...to adjust the clock on 300002014/04/03 17:36:54

It will be long gone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46657007)

The clock and its building will be gone before it gets a chance to gain or lose a second. Entire civilizations will rise and fall...

Can't trust that clock. (1)

thatkid_2002 (1529917) | about 5 months ago | (#46657399)

Probably compromised by the NSA.

posterity (2)

loshwomp (468955) | about 5 months ago | (#46657795)

it will lose or gain only one second every 300 million years

Can't they just leave a note to the future people to click it forward/back at the right time?

If the clock in question supports 9-digit years, they could even set an alarm...

Heh (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 5 months ago | (#46658435)

Well, the 300 million years is just an estimate and it could go either forward or backward. I guess they could build a yet more accurate clock to use as a reference... :P

Well... (1)

quonsar (61695) | about 5 months ago | (#46658087)

...it's about time.

Three times more accurate (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 5 months ago | (#46658431)

This may seem redundant to you. But you'll change your tune in 100 million years when the old clock is already a second out of sync while the new one is still within 0.33s.

Finally... (1)

uncqual (836337) | about 5 months ago | (#46658599)

...I won't be late for meetings anymore.

Just great. (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 5 months ago | (#46658767)

The institute will continue operating both clocks for now at its campus in Boulder, Colorado.

A man with one atomic clock knows the time, a man with two is never sure - every 300 million years or so, sigh.

And how do you start it? (1)

allo (1728082) | about 5 months ago | (#46659025)

I guess its not easy to sync it with the existing ones. NTP will not do the job ;).

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