is the time scale that is used worlwide to coordinate technical and scientific
activities. It is a compromise between the highly stable atomic time and
the irregular Earth rotation.
Universal Time UT1
is the time of
the Earth clock, which performs one revolution in about 24h.It has short
term instabilities at the level of 10-8
and the duration of the
day is slowly decaying (almost 0.002 s/century). UT1 is one of the products
of IERS, based on VLBI observations.
The Temps Atomique International (TAI
) is the atomic time scale derived
by the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM
). Its unit
interval is exactly one second of the Systeme International d'Unites (SI)
at sea level. This one was taken as an integer number of Cesium transition period in order to fit the Time Epheremis second
within the interval of its uncertainty.
The origin of TAI is such that UT1-TAI was 0 on 1958 January
1. The instability of TAI is about 6 orders of magnitude smaller than that
Because of the secular deceleration of the Earth's rotation, TAI, presents a continuously increasing (parabolic) shift with respect to
UT1. According to contemporaneous analysis of astrometric records of the 19th century, the TAI
unit of time corresponds to the second of the mean solar day of the epoch 1830-1850.
If legal time was based upon TAI, even a one second synchronisation with solar day could
not be maintained after a few years (in a couple of years TAI - UT1 can increase by a few seconds).
Therefore the international community, for reckoning time, used the intermediate
time scale UTC.
is defined by CCIR Recommendation 460-4 (1986). It differs from
TAI by an integer number of seconds, in such a way that UT1-UTC stays smaller
than 0.9 s in absolute value. The decision to introduce a leap second in
UTC to meet this condition is the responsibility of IERS (Bulletin C
). According to the CCIR Recommendation, first preference is given
to the opportunities at the end of December and June, and second preference
to those at the end of March and September. Since the system was introduced
in 1972 only dates in June and December have been used.
The relationship of UTC with TAI
the corresponding offsets and step adjustments
are available. DUT1 is the difference UT1-UTC, expressed
with a precision of 0.1 s, which is broadcast with the time signals. The
changes in DUT1 are announced by IERS (Bulletin