Map: How Wrong Is Your Time Zone?

The World
How It Works
Feb. 21 2014 9:50 AM

Map: How Wrong Is Your Time Zone?

solartimevsstandardtime
Behind the times.

Stefano Maggiolo

This week my colleague Laura Anderson made the case for why other countries should adopt Spain’s eating schedule. The fact that people in Spain stay up so late is partially the result of a fluky Franco era-change to the country’s time zone that put the country an hour ahead of Portugal, Britain, and Ireland, which are on the same longitude.    

Joshua Keating Joshua Keating

Joshua Keating is a staff writer at Slate focusing on international affairs and writes the World blog. 

Spain may be the most widely cited example of nationwide temporal displacement, but it’s got nothing on Urumqi.

Advertisement

The map above, created by math blogger and Google engineer Stefano Maggiolo (click here for a full-size version), shows the difference between clock time and “solar time”a schedule in which the sun is at its highest point in the sky at exactly 12 noon.

For whatever reason, more of the world seems to be a little bit like Spainthe sun rises and sets later in the day than it shouldthan the other way around. The "late" places are shown in red, the "early" places in green. The deeper the shade, the more off the time is.

Not surprisingly, Western China is the deepest red. All of China’s clocks are set to Beijing time, meaning that solar noon happens at about 3 p.m. in the far-western Xinjiang province. In defiance of the government, many members of the region’s Uighur minority observe their own time.

On the opposite extreme is the eastern portion of India, which also has a single time zone. As you might expect, time is a controversial issue in the far-eastern state of Assam, where the sun rises at 4:30 a.m. in the summer.

Parts of Russia are also pretty dark, an issue that was likely exacerbated by Dmitry Medvedev’s decision to drop two of the country’s time zones.

Here in Washington, we seem to be pretty close to solar time, so, unfortunately, siestas and 10 p.m. dinners probably won’t be coming to our nation’s capital anytime soon. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Outward
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
  Technology
Technocracy
Oct. 20 2014 11:36 PM Forget Oculus Rift This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual-reality experience.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.