International Atomic Time

International Atomic Time (TAI, from the French name Temps atomique international) is a high-precision atomic coordinate time standard based on the notional passage of proper time on Earth's geoid. It is the basis for Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), which is used for civil timekeeping all over the Earth's surface, and for Terrestrial Time, which is used for astronomical calculations. Since 30 June 2012 when the last leap second was added, TAI has been exactly 35 seconds ahead of UTC. The 35 seconds results from the initial difference of 10 seconds at the start of 1972, plus 25 leap seconds in UTC since 1972.

Time coordinates on the TAI scales are conventionally specified using traditional means of specifying days, carried over from non-uniform time standards based on the rotation of the Earth. Specifically, both Julian Dates and the Gregorian calendar are used. TAI in this form was synchronised with Universal Time at the beginning of 1958, and the two have drifted apart ever since, due to the changing motion of the Earth.

Read more about International Atomic Time:  Operation, History

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