A day is a unit of time. In common usage, it is an interval equal to 24 hours. It also can mean the consecutive period of time during which the Sun is above the horizon of a location, also known as daytime. The period of time measured from local noon to the following local noon is called a solar day.
Several definitions of this universal human concept are used according to context, need and convenience. In 1967, the second was redefined in terms of the wavelength of light, and it became the SI base unit of time. The unit of measurement for time called "day", redefined in 1967 as 86,400 SI seconds and symbolized d, is not an SI unit, but it is accepted for use with SI. A civil day is usually also 86,400 seconds, plus or minus a possible leap second in Coordinated Universal Time UTC, and, in some locations, occasionally plus or minus an hour when changing from or to daylight saving time. The word day may also refer to a day of the week or to a calendar date, as in answer to the question "On which day?" Day also refers to the part of the day that is not night — also known as 'daytime'. The life patterns of humans and many other species are related to Earth's solar day and the cycle of day and night (see circadian rhythms).
The average length of a solar day on Earth is about 86,400 seconds (24 hours) and there are about 365.2422 solar days in one mean tropical year. Because celestial orbits are not perfectly circular, and thus objects travel at different speeds at various positions in their orbit, a solar day is not the same length of time throughout the orbital year. A day, understood as the span of time it takes for the Earth to make one entire rotation with respect to the celestial background or a distant star (assumed to be fixed), is called stellar day. This period of rotation is about 4 minutes less than 24 hours and there are about 366.2422 in one mean tropical year (one more stellar day than the number of solar days). Mainly due to tidal effects, the Earth's rotational period is not constant, resulting in further minor variations for both solar days and stellar 'days'. Other planets and moons also have stellar and solar days.
Famous quotes containing the word day:
“I shun father and mother and wife and brother when my genius calls me. I would write on the lintels of the door-post, Whim. I hope that it is somewhat better than whim at last, but we cannot spend the day in explanation.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)