While the local time and standard time denote the time of a specific place, there is a significant dissimilarity between the two terms. Notably, the earth makes a full rotation of three hundred and sixty degrees in twenty-four hours; hence, every time zone is fifteen degrees wide.
Time zones play a significant role in distinguishing between local time and standard time. The followings are the definitions and main differences between the local and standard times.
- Local time is determined by the sun’s position at a specific location, while standard time is a uniform time established for one particular time zone.
- Standard time simplifies timekeeping by setting a consistent time for a broad geographic area, eliminating the need to calculate local time for every location.
- The world is divided into 24 time zones, each representing an hour’s standard time apart from its neighboring zones, while local time varies continuously with longitude.
Local Time vs Standard Time
Local time is based on the sun’s position, while standard time is a standardized time zone. The difference can be minutes or hours. Standard time ensures consistency and ease of communication, while local time is used for local events.
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|Parameter of Comparison||Local Time||Standard Time|
|Meaning||Time is determined based on the sun’s apparent movement.||This refers to the fixed time of several places in a given region that fall under the same standard meridian.|
|Variations||Changes with the change in longitudinal position.||Changes with the change in time zones of regions.|
|Longitudinal Differences||Places within the exact longitude have the same local time.||Places within the exact longitude might have different standard times.|
|Computation of Time||Time is computed about the longitude of the place.||Time is computed about the time zone of the particular region.|
|Use||Used to handle time-bound events such as transportation schedules.||Used to eliminate the confusion that might occur when regions are in different time zones.|
What is Local Time?
Local time refers to the specific time of a particular place expressed concerning the longitudinal line that passes through the place. The difference in local time of different places is due to the location of the places in different longitudinal lines.
Additionally, every place has the sun overhead at its own specific time, thus the difference in local time from one region to another.
For example, New York and Pittsburgh are cities in the Eastern Time Zone with a different local times due to a six degrees longitudinal difference.
What is Standard Time?
On the other hand, standard time refers to the time of the standard meridian of a particular country.
The difference in the standard time of different regions is due to the location of the places in different time zones.
The distance, either east or west, from the Prime Greenwich Meridian of the longitudinal line within the subject region reckon the standard time.
For example, despite being on different longitudinal positions, New York and Pittsburgh have a similar standard time.
Main Differences Between Local Time and Standard Time
While looking at the local time and standard time of most places, there is a significant difference between them. However, that’s not the only difference between the two times.
The local time and standard time differ in several other factors, including their meaning, variations, longitudinal factors, measurement, and precision. The following discusses the main differences between local time and standard time.
While both the time refers to the time of a particular place, the local time and standard time remain different in terms of meaning.
The local time of a particular place refers to the time determined based on the sun’s apparent movement.
On the other hand, the standard time refers to the fixed time of several places in a given region that fall under the same standard meridian.
The local time of different places changes with the change in the longitudinal line where the places are located. On the other hand, the standard time remains the same for a particular region or country.
However, the standard time is also subject to change if the places don’t share a similar time zone. For example, the cities on the East Coast, America, share a similar standard time but different local times.
In New York and Pittsburgh, which share a similar standard time, there is a twenty-four minutes difference in their two cities’ local time. The difference is a result of a six degrees longitudinal difference between them.
However, despite being in the same country, cities on the East and West Coast of America share different local times and standard times.
Changes in the longitudinal positioning of cities yield a different local time between the two places. As a result, places located at the same longitudinal line have the same local time.
On the other hand, places that have shared the same longitudinal line might have different standard times.
Computation of the Time
Two approaches are used to come up with the local time and standard time of a particular place. The local time of a particular place is reckoned by the shadow cast by the sun and the meridian running through the place.
On the other hand, the standard time of a particular place is reckoned by the region’s time zone. The time zone of a particular region is determined by the distance, either east or west, from the Prime Greenwich Meridian to the region.
Taking two cities in the same time zone, say Pittsburgh and New York, there are significant differences between the local time of the two cities. Notably, the standard time generalizes the time of a given region; hence not a precise time measure while handling time-bound events such as exact transportation schedules.
While the standard time generalizes the time of a given region, the local time gives the exact time of a particular place. However, standard time helps eliminate the confusion that might occur when a region uses different time zones.
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Piyush Yadav has spent the past 25 years working as a physicist in the local community. He is a physicist passionate about making science more accessible to our readers. He holds a BSc in Natural Sciences and Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Science. You can read more about him on his bio page.