30 December 2013

The Future of Time: A Singular Event at the AAS Meeting

Alice Monet

Alice Monet US Naval Obs. (retired); AAS Secretary

The Future of Time
A Workshop at the 223rd AAS Meeting
Sunday, 5 January 2014, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
National Harbor 6, Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center

Time is a very broad subject. This discussion of its future implementation draws on experts from distant corners of the AAS community, including history and EPO, observatory operations, software and systems, and various fields of research.

The topic is a proposal being vigorously pursued within the International Telecommunication Union, an agency of the United Nations, that would redefine Coordinated Universal TIme (UTC, the basis of time on your alarm clock, wristwatch, computer, and smartphone) to no longer be tied to the rotation of the Earth.

We will discuss the historical context for this unprecedented proposal, as well as its most significant implications for the practice of astronomy. More details are available on The Future of Time web page (also see links to the preprints from two previous meetings in 2011 and 2013).

The Future of Time agenda is split into two two-hour sessions (see below). Your participation will be welcome for either or both sessions.

Session 1: The Future of Time I – Historical Context (1:00 pm)

  • Introduction
  • A (Brief) History of Time in Astronomy (K. Seidelmann, UVA)
  • Time Scales and Concepts (A. Rots, SAO)
  • Time and Navigation: The Untold Story of Getting from Here to There (A. Johnston, NASM)
  • Time and the Earth: Long-Term Trends (for F. R. Stephenson, Durham University)

Session 2: The Future of Time II – Operational Timekeeping Issue (3:00 pm)

  • The Name of Time: Terminology Requirements for UTC (Kara Warburton, Chair, ISO TC 37)
  • Performing a UTC Software Inventory (R. Seaman, NOAO)
  • Software and Astronomical System Engineering for Time (TBA)
  • Network Time and Infrastructure (H. Stenn, Network Time Foundation)
  • Discussion: Operational Implications for Observatories (A. Peck, ALMA)

Rob Seaman, NOAO
Ken Seidelmann, U. Virginia
Arnold Rots, SAO
Alison Peck, NRAO