Polar time

How is time told at the South Pole? (For these questions, I’ll just pick the pole that has land beneath). I assume they deal with the paradox of being in every time zone at once by just pointing at a mark on the horizon and saying ‘When the sun’s over that, it’s noon. When the sun’s opposite that, it’s midnight.’

What about when you step ten meters away from the pole? At this point, you’re definitely on a distinct longitude line. While I’m sure in practice you’ll consider yourself on the same time as you would right at the south pole, this makes me wonder at which distance from the pole do separate time zones exist?

Seems to be you’d probably avoid the whole issue by using Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) or Zulu Time (Z) depending on whether you’re civilian or military.

And a quick check shows that I’m correct:


That’s about what I expected. But how far north does one go before there are separate time zones?

Well, the second part of that article said:

*Strictly speaking the South Pole operates GMT but you can walk through all 24 time zones in a few seconds! *

From Wikipedia:

The poles are sparesely enough populated that one doesn’t need to worry about things like exact boundaries of time zones. Some time between leaving their home countries and arriving at the research stations, expedition members reset their watches, and it doesn’t matter exactly where.

I don’t know about those other guys, but if I’m at the South Pole, it’s time to go home.

Time zones Scmime zones! How do they know what day it is? (International date line)