Saturday, March 31, 2018

Centennial: U.S. Daylight Saving Time Commences

Robert Garland
In this 1935 July 8 photograph, the "Father of Daylight Saving" in America,
Robert Garland, is sworn-in as a member of Pittsburgh City Council. Robert
Garland is pictured on the right, being sworn-in by Pittsburgh Mayor William
McNair on the left; an unidentified man, perhaps the President of City Council,
is shown in the middle.
(Image Source: Historic Pittsburgh Internet web-site, Pittsburgh City Photographer
Collection, hosted by the University of Pittsburgh Library System)                                        

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

Today (March 31) marks the centennial of the first day Daylight Saving Time was observed in the United States. In 1918, Daylight Saving Time began on the last Sunday of March, March 31 at 2:00 a.m. Standard Time and concluded on the last Sunday in October, October 27 at 2:00 a.m. Daylight Saving Time. Of course this year, 2018, Daylight Saving Time began on the second Sunday of March, March 11 and ends on the first Sunday in November, November 4.

Due to the need to save energy in order to increase production as the United States entered World War I, the U.S. Standard Time Act of 1918 included a provision for Daylight Saving Time (note that there is no letter “s” at the end of the word “Saving”) during the warmer-weather months of the year. This was the first time the United States had instituted Daylight Saving Time since something similar was first suggested by American Envoy to France, Benjamin Franklin (publisher of the old English proverb "Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise").

Changing daily habits to take advantage of more daylight during the Summer months was first proposed by Benjamin Franklin in 1784, while he was a diplomat in Paris. In an anonymous letter that was published, he used satire to suggest that it would be better to use the sunlight of the morning rather than to waste candles in the evening. His essay, “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light,” written to the editor of The Journal of Paris, was actually penned partially in-jest; hence, nothing came of the idea. Although, it should be noted that he did not actually propose a plan similar to the Daylight Saving Time we know today.

A New Zealand entomologist, George Hudson, first proposed the type of Daylight Saving Time we know today. Although, in an 1895 paper presented before the Wellington Philosophical Society, he proposed a two-hour time shift during the Summer months. However, New Zealand did not establish Daylight Saving Time until 1927.

Independently, British builder and outdoors-man William Willett conceived Daylight Saving Time in 1905, an idea he published in 1907. British Liberal Party Member of Parliament (MP) Robert Pearce submitted legislation in the House of Commons regarding Mr. Willett's idea in 1908. Although a Select Committee was set-up to study the idea, and Mr. Willett continued lobbying in favor of the proposal, none of the proposed laws passed before Mr. Willett died in 1915.

From 1911 to 1912, Daylight Saving Time was introduced in the municipality of Orillia, Ontario, Canada, by the town's mayor, William Sword Frost.

The German and the Austria-Hungary empires were the first countries to establish Daylight Saving Time for the Summer (May through October), as a way to save coal during World War I, on 1916 April 30 at 11:00 p.m. Standard Time. The countries of Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Turkey, and Tasmania did the same, at the same time, as well as the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and Manitoba. Great Britain did like-wise three weeks later on 1916 May 21, followed by Russia, Australia, and Newfoundland (then a Dominion of the British Empire, separate from Canada) in 1917.

Robert Garland, a Pittsburgh industrialist (who ran a Pittsburgh factory, Garland Nuts and Rivets) and a member of the Pittsburgh City Council for 28 years (1911 to 1939), is considered the “Father of Daylight Saving” in America. He was also President of the Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, as well chairing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's national “Special Committee on Daylight Saving.” He fought hard for the establishment of Summer Daylight Saving Time.

U.S. President Woodrow Wilson signed-into law, on 1918 March 19, the Standard Time Act of 1918, also known as the Calder Act, which established official time zones in the United States, including a provision for Daylight Saving Time. Although time zones had been unofficially observed for a few decades.

The American and Canadian railroads had established five unofficial time zones for the North American continent on 1883 November 18, precisely at 12:00 Noon from a time signal issued by telegraph from Pittsburgh's Allegheny Observatory. This was possible after Allegheny Observatory, under the supervision of the Western University of Pennsylvania Astronomy Professor Samuel Pierpont Langley, started determining and disseminating precise time in 1869. The Allegheny Observatory's time service is considered the first regular and systematic system of time distribution to railroads and cities, as well as the origin of the modern Standard Time system.

America's first experiment with Daylight Saving Time did not last long. Farmers (whose farm animals, of course, paid no attention to Daylight Saving Time) and other agricultural interests were vehemently opposed to the new Summer time system.

With the end of World War I (the original rationale for Daylight Saving Time), and strong lobbying against “Summer time” or “fast time,” the U.S. Congress repealed the plan seven months later in 1919, over a veto by President Wilson. However, several cities including Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston, and New York City continued using Daylight Saving Time during the Summer months. Daylight Saving Time was resurrected as “War Time” during World War II (in effect 1942 February 9 through 1945 September 30), also to save energy during the War.

After the Second World War, some cities and states continued using Daylight Saving Time, but often the beginning and ending of Daylight Saving Time was not consistent from one state or town to another. In the early 1960s, a transportation industry Committee for Time Uniformity found that, over a 35-mile stretch of highway (West Virginia Route 2) between Moundsville, West Virginia and Steubenville, Ohio, seven time-zone changes had to be endured by each bus driver and bus passenger!

The Federal Uniform Time Act of 1966 (enacted 1966 April 13) solved this problem by prescribing the start and end times of Daylight Saving Time, for those states which chose to participate. The law established that Daylight Saving Time would begin each year at 2:00 a.m. Standard Time on the last Sunday in April through 2:00 a.m. Daylight Saving Time on the last Sunday in October. The law first took effect in 1967, except in the states of Arizona (not including some tribal nations in the state which did observe Daylight Saving Time) and Michigan, which chose not to participate.

In 1972, Congress amended the law to allow states, which include two or more time zones, to exempt one (or more) of the state's time zones from Daylight Saving Time. Previously, the state legislature could only exempt the entire state from Daylight Saving Time. From then on, most counties in the Eastern Time Zone section of the state of Indiana did not observe Daylight Saving Time, while most counties in the Central Time Zone did shift their clocks twice a year. However, beginning in April of 2006, all counties in Indiana now observe Daylight Saving Time.

To reduce energy consumption during the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973, year-round Daylight Saving Time was established by the U.S. Congress in the United States from 1974 January 6 to 1975 October 26. However, many mothers were quite upset that this meant that their children had to travel to school during the dark, early-morning hours in the Winter months. Thousands of these mothers (including the author's mother, Eleanor A. Walsh) wrote letters to their representatives in Congress complaining about this.

After receiving thousands of letters from angry mothers, in October of 1974 Congress amended the law to return to Standard Time from 1974 October 27 until 1975 February 23 when Daylight Saving Time resumed. And, when the trial period ended on 1975 October 26, year-round Daylight Saving Time ended, and the normal Summer Daylight Saving Time resumed.

In 1986, Daylight Saving Time was extended to include most of the month of April, by starting on the first Sunday in April beginning in 1987. The end-date remained the last Sunday in October.

Congressional passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 extended Daylight Saving Time again, starting in 2007. Now, Daylight Saving Time begins on the second Sunday of March and reverts to Standard Time on the first Sunday in November.

One of the major reasons to extend Daylight Saving Time an extra week in the Autumn, to the first Sunday in November, was to allow greater daylight in the evening on October 31, to improve safety for children trick-or-treating on Halloween. However, had they extended Daylight Saving Time two extra weeks in the Autumn, to the second Sunday in November, this would have allowed more daylight in the evening on General Election Day (statutorily set as "the Tuesday next after the first Monday in the month of November" or "the first Tuesday after November 1"), which could improve safety that evening, and potentially boost voter participation. Gee, I wonder why the politicians did not think of that ? !

Daylight Saving Time is now observed in all U.S. states except Arizona (as the Navajo Indian Reservation extends into Utah and New Mexico, Daylight Saving Time is observed; the Hopi Indian Reservation, completely within Arizona, does not observe Daylight Saving Time) and Hawaii. All U.S. insular territories with civilian government (American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands), which lie in the tropics (and hence, have more daylight year-round and less variation in daylight throughout the year) do not observe Daylight Saving Time. The District of Columbia does observe Daylight Saving Time.

In Canada, all provinces observe Daylight Saving Time except Saskatchewan (there are certain towns and / or limited areas in Saskatchewan which do observe Daylight Saving Time). In the provinces of British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec, and the territory of Nunavut, most of the jurisdiction observes Daylight Saving Time, except for certain towns and / or limited areas.

This blog-post is posted on 2018 March 31 at 3:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT), exactly one hundred years from the commencement of Daylight Saving Time in the Eastern Time Zone (the first U.S. time zone to initiate Daylight Saving Time), on 1918 March 31 at 2:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) / 7:00 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), which, for the first time, became 3:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time.

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

U.S. Daylight Saving Time:
Link 1 >>> http://www.webexhibits.org/daylightsaving/e.html
Link 2 (USA) >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daylight_saving_time_in_the_United_States
Link 3 (U.S. law) >>> http://www.webexhibits.org/daylightsaving/usstat.html
Link 4 (Canada) >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daylight_saving_time_in_Canada
Link 5 (World-Wide) >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daylight_saving_time

Uniform Time Act of 1966: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniform_Time_Act 

Map - North American Time Zones:
Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2018/03/astronomical-calendar-2018-march.html

Map of the time zones in the Eastern United States, when the State of Ohio was in 2 time zones (this map is posted on the bulletin board of the Allegheny Observatory Library):
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/allegobserv/time_zones_AO.jpg
(Image Source: Francis G. Graham, Professor Emeritus of Physics, Kent State University & former Planetarium & Observatory Lecturer at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science)

Standard Time Act of 1918: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_Time_Act

Allegheny Observatory, Pittsburgh ---
Link 1 >>> http://www.pitt.edu/%7Eaobsvtry/
Link 2 >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegheny_Observatory

Samuel Pierpont Langley: Link >>> http://johnbrashear.tripod.com/bio/LangleySP.htm
Photo of S.P. Langley:
Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2016/03/some-states-to-abandon-daylight-saving.html

Robert Garland: Link >>> http://www.pittsburghmagazine.com/Pittsburgh-Magazine/March-2009/Curse-You-or-Bless-You-Robert-Garland/

Related Blog Posts ---

"Centennial: Official Enactment of U.S. Time Zones & Daylight Saving Time."

2018 March 19.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2018/03/centennial-official-enactment-of-us.html


"Some States to Abandon Daylight Saving Time ?" 2016 March 13.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2016/03/some-states-to-abandon-daylight-saving.html

 

"Centennial: New Allegheny Observatory Dedication." 2012 Aug. 28.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2012/08/centennial-new-allegheny-observatory.html

 

Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
             2018 March 31.

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Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
& SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Astronomy Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#astrolinks >
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SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
LibraryWatchtower Blog: < http://librarywatchtower.blogspot.com >
TransportWatchtower Blog: < http://transportwatchtower.blogspot.com  >
South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
Barnestormin Blog: Writing, Essays, Pgh. News, etc.: < http://www.barnestormin.blogspot.com/ >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Despite Winter-Type Storms, Spring Begins Today!

http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/pix/graphics/solsticeimage008.png
This diagram shows the position of the Earth, in relation to the Sun, at the time of the Vernal Equinox at the official beginning of the season of Spring in the Earth's Northern Hemisphere (Autumn in Earth's Southern Henmisphere), as well as the other solstices and equinox of the year.
(Graphic Source: ©1999, Eric G. Canali, former Floor Manager of Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science and Founder of the South Hills Backyard Astronomers amateur astronomy club; permission granted for only non-profit use with credit to author.)

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

Despite snow storms threatening the American Northeast, including the fourth Nor-Easter in a month about to hit the East Coast, Spring begins today at the moment of the Vernal Equinox in Earth's Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, this marks the astronomical beginning of the season of Autumn.

The posting of this blog-post comes at the moment of the Vernal Equinox: 12:15 p.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT) / 16:15 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) on Tuesday Afternoon, 2018 March 20.

As the diagram at the beginning of this blog-post demonstrates, on the day of Equinox the Sun appears directly overhead at local Noon on the Equator. At the moment of Equinox, the Northern and Southern Hemispheres of Earth are illuminated equally. And, the time of Equinox is the only time when the Earth Terminator (dividing line on Earth between daylight and darkness) is perpendicular to the Equator.

This, and the reason for seasons on Earth in the first place, is due to the fact that Earth rotates on its axis, which is tilted at a 23.439281-degree angle from the plane of the Earth's orbit around the Sun. As the Earth revolves around the Sun, this axial tilt causes one hemisphere of the planet to receive more direct solar radiation during that hemisphere's season of Summer and much less direct solar radiation a half-year later during that hemisphere's season of Winter. As mentioned, during an Equinox (about half-way between Summer and Winter, and about half-way between Winter and Summer) both planetary hemispheres receive an equal amount of solar radiation.

Although "Equinox" in Latin means equal-night, the day of the Equinox does not actually have an equal amount of daylight and nightfall, as it appears on the Earth's surface. If the Sun was just a pin-point of light in our sky, as all other stars appear, day and night would be equal.

But, because the Sun is a disk, part of the Sun has risen above the horizon before the center of the Sun (which would be the pin-point of light); so there are extra moments of light on the Equinox. Likewise, part of the Sun is still visible, after the center of the Sun has set.

Additionally, the refraction of sunlight by our atmosphere causes sunlight to appear above the horizon, before sunrise and after sunset.

March 16 marked the Equilux ("equal-light"), the actual day with equal hours and minutes of the Sun above the horizon, and equal hours and minutes of the Sun below the horizon. The Equilux occurs twice each year, approximately 3-to-4 days before the Vernal Equinox and 3-to-4 days after the Autumnal Equinox (September 25).

An urban legend that has been making the rounds for decades, now exacerbated by the Internet and Social Media, has it that eggs can be stood on their ends only during an Equinox, whether the Vernal Equinox in the Spring or the Autumnal Equinox in the Fall. This is completely false!

Depending greatly on the size and shape of the particular egg, eggs can be stood on their ends any day of the year! Astronomy has nothing to do with whether an egg can stand on its end. If an egg can stand on its end on the Equinox (and, due to the shape and size of some eggs, this is not even possible), it can stand the same way any other day of the year.

In the last few years, with the help of the Internet and Social Media, another urban legend has become prevalent. Now it is claimed that brooms can stand, on their own, on their bristles, only on an Equinox day. This is also false! Again, as with eggs, if a broom can stand on its bristles by itself (this usually only works with newer brooms, with more even bristles) on an Equinox, it can do so any day of the year!

In ancient times, the Vernal Equinox was considered the beginning of the new calendar year. This was when most of Western Civilization used the Julian Calendar, and the Vernal Equinox occurred on March 25, later observed by Christians as the Feast of the Annunciation (observed nine full months before Christmas Day). As part of the Gregorian Calendar reform, in October of 1582, Pope Gregory XIII chose the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ (January 1) as the beginning of the New Year in the Roman Catholic Church's Liturgical Year.

The Vernal Equinox continues to be considered the beginning of the New Year, or an important holy day, in several other places on Earth ---

Beginning of New Year (using the Solar Calendar) - Nowruz: Afghanistan and Iran / Persia
Also a Holy Day for adherents to the Zoroastrian Religion and Baha'i Naw-Ruz, one of nine holy days of the Bahá'í Faith.

NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) observe Sun-Earth Day on or near the Vernal Equinox. This is a joint educational program started in 2000, to popularize the knowledge about the Sun, and the way it influences life on Earth, among students and the public. This is part of Solar Week, which is the calendar week that includes the Vernal Equinox.

The first week of Spring, beginning with the Vernal Equinox, has been declared by physicians as Medicine Cabinet Clean-Up Week. To avoid prescription drug abuse, particularly important at this time of the opioid crisis, physicians encourage everyone to get rid of unused and no-longer-needed medications and other drugs, which may have lingered in the household, as part of an annual Spring cleaning. Several states have prescription drug take-back locations, where these drugs can be dropped-off.

The week of the Vernal Equinox is the also the beginning of the National Cherry Blossom Festival held each year in Washington, DC, which began on March 17. This festival commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from the Mayor of Tokyo to the City of Washington. The festival runs through April 15 this year. More information on the festival:

Link >>> http://www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/?id=404

More on the Vernal Equinox: Link >>> http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/astronomy/VernalEquinox.html

More on the Season of Spring: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spring_%28season%29

More on an Equinox: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equinox

More on Earth's Seasons: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Season

More on the tilt of a planet's axis: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axial_tilt

Special Thanks: Eric G. Canali, former Floor Manager of Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science and Founder of the South Hills Backyard Astronomers amateur astronomy club.

Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
             2018 March 20.

                             Like This Post? - Please Share!

            More Astronomy & Science News - SpaceWatchtower Twitter Feed:
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gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
& SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Astronomy Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#astrolinks >
Science Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks >
SpaceWatchtower Twitter News Feed: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
LibraryWatchtower Blog: < http://librarywatchtower.blogspot.com >
TransportWatchtower Blog: < http://transportwatchtower.blogspot.com  >
South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
Barnestormin Blog: Writing, Essays, Pgh. News, etc.: < http://www.barnestormin.blogspot.com/ >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Monday, March 19, 2018

Centennial: Official Enactment of U.S. Time Zones & Daylight Saving Time



Telegraph equipment used to transmit Standard Time from
the Allegheny Observatory in Pittsburgh, starting in 1869.
The Allegheny Time service established the first Standard
Time used by railroads and cities, leading to the first 
time zones in 1883, which became official Federal Government
policy a hundred years ago today (March 19).
(Image Sources: Allegheny Observatory, Wikipedia.org,
By Shane Simmons - Allegheny Observatory, CC BY-SA 2.0,
https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28211988 )

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

A century ago today (March 19), U.S. President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the Standard Time Act of 1918, which officially established time zones in the United States as well as Daylight Saving Time. Although time zones had been unofficially observed for a few decades.

The Standard Time Act of 1918, also known as the Calder Act, was a way of making official and consistent a practice that had started with the railroads in 1883. In fact, it was with the rapid growth of the railroads, in North America, that led to the desperate need for time zones.

With the establishment of many railroads in North America in the middle of the 19th century, it was very difficult to schedule trains. Each railroad and each city went by their own time. In the case of cities, their official clocks were often set to local solar time, with Noon being when the Sun was highest in the sky. People traveling by railroad had to continually convert the time from the city they were leaving to their destination city, to understand the railroad schedules.

This confusion also led to railroad accidents. Sometimes trains collided because it was completely unclear which train should be on a certain track at a certain time. Something had to be done.

However, before they even thought about setting-up time zones, they had to find a good way of determining and disseminating the correct time. This problem was resolved by a young scientist, who was trying to find a way to pay the operational costs of his university's astronomical observatory.

In 1867, Samuel Pierpont Langley (who in 1887 became the third Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, then considered the nation's greatest scientific appointment) accepted the position as Director of the Allegheny Observatory, which had just been donated to the Western University of Pennsylvania (now known as the University of Pittsburgh) by the Allegheny Telescope Association. Now known as the North Side of Pittsburgh, at that time the Allegheny Observatory was located in Pittsburgh's “twin city” of Allegheny City.

The Allegheny Telescope Association, a private club of astronomy enthusiasts, had originally opened the Allegheny Observatory in 1861 with the third largest telescope in the world, a 13-inch Fitz Refractor (the two larger telescopes, both 15-inch refractors, were located at Harvard College Observatory and in Russia). However, the cost of operating such a large observatory became unsustainable, resulting in the donation to the University.

When Professor Langley arrived in Allegheny City, he found that he had a large observatory, but with no money to operate the facility. Through the financial assistance of Pittsburgh businessman and philanthropist William Thaw, Sr. (who was also the University Trustee who had invited Professor Langley to the University), Professor Langley was able to acquire the equipment needed to start a professional research program.

One of the pieces of new equipment purchased was a transit telescope, used to determine the precise time by observing certain stars. Professor Langley decided that he could obtain the funds to operate the Observatory by determining the precise time each day, and at Noon sending the time (via the telegraph) to railroads and cities which would subscribe to the service for a set cost. As William Thaw was also a Vice President of the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Pennsylvania Railroad became the first customer for the Allegheny Time service, soon followed by the cities of Pittsburgh and Allegheny City.

Time service subscriptions brought-in nearly $3000 annually for operation of the Allegheny Observatory, starting in 1869. By 1870 the Allegheny Time service extended over 2,500 miles with 300 telegraph offices receiving time signals. The Allegheny Observatory's time service is considered the first regular and systematic system of time distribution to railroads and cities, as well as the origin of the modern Standard Time system.

Following the successful establishment of Allegheny Time, several proposals were made to set-up time zones throughout the country, for the benefit of the railroads. College professor Charles F. Dowd made the first detailed proposal in 1870, where four time zones were proposed. Canadian engineer Sir Sandford Fleming proposed local time zones throughout the world, but also suggested that all railroads should adopt one single time scale, which he called “Cosmic Time,” so that there would be no confusion in railroad timetables.

Cleveland Abbe, who was Director of the Cincinnati Observatory from 1868 to 1873, became the first Director of the United States Weather Bureau in 1871. In 1879, he recommended the establishment of Standard Time world-wide and four time zones across the country, to better coordinate weather observations.

William F. Allen, Secretary of the General Time Convention (known as the American Railway Association starting in 1891), proposed that North American railroads set-up five time zones for the continent, to avoid imposition of a government system. On 1883 October 11 at a meeting at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Chicago, the heads of the major railroads agreed to adopt the five-zone system.

Upon a telegraphic time signal from the Allegheny Observatory, at precisely 12:00 Noon (at the 90th meridian west longitude, in the mid-west) on Sunday, 1883 November 18, American and Canadian railroads instituted the five-zone system. From then on, other major observatories, including the Harvard College Observatory, U.S. Naval Observatory, and Yale University Observatory, joined the Allegheny Observatory in providing telegraphic time signals to the railroads every day at 12:00 Noon, Eastern Time.

A few railroads adopted the new system earlier in 1883, on October 7, while a few others adopted it late on December 2. And, while the Atlantic Time Zone was part of the new system, the Intercolonial Railway (the only rail line serving the Canadian Maritime Provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in the new Atlantic Time Zone) decided to adopt the time scale from the Eastern Time Zone.

As mentioned, the railroads set-up the five-time zone system to avoid the Federal Government setting-up their own system. This railroad system lasted until 1918, when the Federal Government decided to make the time zone system official. By this time, technology and the Industrial Revolution had advanced so much that railroads were not the only industry that needed a consistent time system.

Due to the need to save energy as the United States entered World War I, the Standard Time Act of 1918 included a provision for Daylight Saving Time (note that there is no letter “s” at the end of the word “Saving”) during the warmer-weather months of the year. This was the first time the United States had instituted Daylight Saving Time since something similar was first suggested by Benjamin Franklin.

March 31 marks the centennial for the commencement of Daylight Saving Time in the United States; time reverted to Standard Time on 1918 October 27. In 2018, Daylight Saving Time began on March 11; this year Daylight Saving Time ends on November 4.

Changing daily habits to take advantage of more daylight during the Summer months was first proposed by Benjamin Franklin in 1784, while he was a diplomat in Paris. In an anonymous letter that was published, he used satire to suggest that it would be better to use the sunlight of the morning rather than to waste candles in the evening. His essay, “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light,” written to the editor of The Journal of Paris, was actually penned partially in-jest; hence, nothing came of the idea. Although, it should be noted that he did not actually propose a plan similar to the Daylight Saving Time we know today.

Robert Garland, a Pittsburgh industrialist and a member of the Pittsburgh City Council for 28 years (1911 to 1939), is considered the “Father of Daylight Saving,” as he chaired the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's national “Special Committee on Daylight Saving.” He fought hard for the establishment of Summer Daylight Saving Time.

Although spurred by farmers and other agricultural interests who never liked Daylight Saving Time, the U.S. Congress repealed the plan seven months later over a veto by President Wilson. However, several cities including Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston, and New York City continued using Daylight Saving Time during the Summer months.

Daylight Saving Time was resurrected as “War Time” during World War II, also to save energy during the War. After the War, some cities and states continued using Daylight Saving Time, but often the beginning and ending of Daylight Saving Time was not consistent from one state to another. The Federal Uniform Time Act of 1966 solved this problem by prescribing the start and end times of Daylight Saving Time, for those states which chose to participate.

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

Map - North American Time Zones:
Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2018/03/astronomical-calendar-2018-march.html

Map of the time zones in the Eastern United States, when the State of Ohio was in 2 time zones (this map is posted on the bulletin board of the Allegheny Observatory Library):
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/allegobserv/time_zones_AO.jpg
(Image Source: Francis G. Graham, Professor Emeritus of Physics, Kent State University & former Planetarium & Observatory Lecturer at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science)

Standard Time Act of 1918: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_Time_Act

U.S. Daylight Saving Time: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daylight_saving_time_in_the_United_States

Uniform Time Act of 1966: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniform_Time_Act 

Allegheny Observatory, Pittsburgh ---
Link 1 >>> http://www.pitt.edu/%7Eaobsvtry/
Link 2 >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegheny_Observatory

Samuel Pierpont Langley: Link >>> http://johnbrashear.tripod.com/bio/LangleySP.htm
Photo of S.P. Langley:
Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2016/03/some-states-to-abandon-daylight-saving.html

Robert Garland: Link >>> http://www.pittsburghmagazine.com/Pittsburgh-Magazine/March-2009/Curse-You-or-Bless-You-Robert-Garland/

Related Blog Posts ---

"Centennial: U.S. Daylight Saving Time Commences." 2018 March 31.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2018/03/centennial-us-daylight-saving-time.html


"Some States to Abandon Daylight Saving Time ?" 2016 March 13.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2016/03/some-states-to-abandon-daylight-saving.html

 

"Centennial: New Allegheny Observatory Dedication." 2012 Aug. 28.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2012/08/centennial-new-allegheny-observatory.html

 

Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
             2018 March 19.

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gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
& SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Astronomy Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#astrolinks >
Science Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks >
SpaceWatchtower Twitter News Feed: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
LibraryWatchtower Blog: < http://librarywatchtower.blogspot.com >
TransportWatchtower Blog: < http://transportwatchtower.blogspot.com  >
South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
Barnestormin Blog: Writing, Essays, Pgh. News, etc.: < http://www.barnestormin.blogspot.com/ >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Photo: Rare Phenomenon - Toronto Skyline Seen Across Lake Ontario in NY State!

http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/osc/Toronto-OlcottNY20170819_201213.jpg
Photograph of the skyline of the City of Toronto taken from across Lake Ontario in the small hamlet of Olcott, New York, one minute after sunset on 2017 August 19 (a distance of 42 miles / 68 kilometers). Internet links to two additional photographs near end of this blog-post.
© Copyright 2018 SpaceWatchtower; Images can be reproduced only with publication of the following credit notice:
 Image Source: SpaceWatchtower Blog;
Photographer: Pittsburgh-Area Free-Lance Photographer Lynne S. Walsh

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

At 2.5 million light-years from Earth, the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) is normally considered the furthest object that can be seen with the naked-eye (1-power magnification). But, what is the furthest object on Earth's surface-level that can be seen with the naked-eye? Last year, a free-lance photographer took a photograph of the Toronto skyline from New York State, across the width of Lake Ontario – a distance of 42 miles / 68 kilometers!

While vacationing in Western New York State, Pittsburgh-area free-lance photographer Lynne S. Walsh (the author's sister) took the photograph displayed at the beginning of this blog-post showing the Toronto skyline in silhouette, with light from one minute after sunset behind the skyline. The structure seen furthest on the left of this photograph is the iconic CN Tower, the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere, rising to a height of 1,815.3 feet / 553.3 meters.

This photograph was taken from the Lakeview Village Shoppes on Ontario Street, in the small hamlet of Olcott, New York, on Saturday Evening, 2017 August 19 at 8:12:13 p.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT) / August 20 at 0:12:13 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). According to the U.S. Naval Observatory, sunset that evening in Olcott, Niagara County, New York occurred at 8:11 p.m. EDT / August 20, 0:11 UTC. Since Ms. Walsh was on vacation, she did not use a special camera. This photograph was taken using her LG-brand Smart-Phone!

James McKee, a Pittsburgh-area resident who grew-up in this area of Western New York State, tells the author that, over the years, several people have seen the Toronto skyline across Lake Ontario—sometimes even in the daytime on a very clear day!

Due to the curvature of the Earth, normally, people cannot see across any of the Great Lakes. In fact, for a normal person approximately six-feet in height, they could not see much past the horizon, about 2.9 miles away (2.65 miles away for people around five-feet in height). So, how is it that the skyline of Toronto, 42 miles / 68 kilometers away, can be seen across Lake Ontario?

The author put this question to Francis G. Graham, Professor Emeritus of Physics at Kent State University. Professor Graham, who earlier in his career was a Planetarium and Observatory Lecturer at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, provided the following explanation:

Your question was asked of me in regards to Cleveland.

From the Key Bank top floor in Cleveland, one should not be able to see the shore of Canada across Lake Erie.  The straight-line distance to the horizon places the horizon in the middle of Lake Erie. 
But due to refraction from warm air, Canada is occasionally glimpsed from the Key Bank building.  I have not witnessed it, but it is reliably told.

The straight-line distance to the horizon is given by d in the Pythagorean Theorem,

d =  square root of  [  (R + h ) ^2  -  (R)^2 ]  

where h is the height of the structure and R is the radius of the Earth (which varies slightly).  

Refraction can extend this.  So it would be possible to see Toronto on some days across  (Lake) Ontario. 

Key (Bank) Tower, referred to by Professor Graham, is the tallest building in the state of Ohio, located on Public Square in the center of Downtown Cleveland. With 57 floors, the building rises 947 feet / 289 meters to the top of the spire (the top floor is at a height of 888 feet / 271 meters).

It should also be noted that while the Andromeda Galaxy is normally considered the furthest object that can be seen with the naked-eye, there are claims that two further galaxies may also be visible to the naked-eye, from time-to-time: Triangulum Spiral (M33) is the third largest member of the Local Group at a distance of 2.78 million light-years and Bode's Galaxy (M81) at a distance of 12 million light-years.

Today (2018 March 6) is the 184th anniversary of the incorporation of Toronto as a city (on 1834 March 6).

Special Thanks: Pittsburgh-Area Free-Lance Photographer Lynne S. Walsh, James McKee, and Francis G. Graham, Professor Emeritus of Physics, Kent State University.

Internet links to two additional photographs of the Toronto skyline from across Lake Ontario in Olcott, New York ---

2017 August 19, 7:40:26 p.m. EST / 23:40:26 UTC:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/osc/Toronto-Olcott20170819_194026.jpg

2017 August 19, 7:40:55 p.m. EST / 23:40:55 UTC:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/osc/Toronto-Olcott20170819_194055.jpg

These two photographs are
© Copyright 2018 SpaceWatchtower; Images can be reproduced only with publication of the following credit notice:
 Image Source: SpaceWatchtower Blog;
Photographer: Pittsburgh-Area Free-Lance Photographer Lynne S. Walsh

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

Lake Ontario: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Ontario

Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toronto

Olcott, Niagara County, New York: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olcott,_New_York

Lake Erie: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Erie

Key (Bank) Tower, Cleveland: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Key_Tower

Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
             2018 March 6.

                             Like This Post? - Please Share!

            More Astronomy & Science News - SpaceWatchtower Twitter Feed:
            Link >>> https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower

        Astronomy & Science Links: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks

                Want to receive SpaceWatchtower blog posts in your in-box ?
                Send request to < spacewatchtower@planetarium.cc >.

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
& SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Astronomy Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#astrolinks >
Science Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks >
SpaceWatchtower Twitter News Feed: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
LibraryWatchtower Blog: < http://librarywatchtower.blogspot.com >
TransportWatchtower Blog: < http://transportwatchtower.blogspot.com  >
South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
Barnestormin Blog: Writing, Essays, Pgh. News, etc.: < http://www.barnestormin.blogspot.com/ >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Astronomical Calendar: 2018 March


March 19 marks the centennial of the Standard Time Act, which officially set-up
the time zones for the United States. Previously, five North American time zones
had been established by the American and Canadian railroads at precisely
12:00 Noon on 1883 November 18, upon a time signal sent over the telegraph
from the Allegheny Observatory in Pittsburgh. The Standard Time Act of 1918
also established America's first Daylight Saving Time to conserve energy during
World War I, after being promoted by Pittsburgh business and civic leader
Robert Garland. March 31 marks the centennial of Daylight Saving Time (this year,
Daylight Saving Time begins on March 11).
(Image Source: Driverlayer.com)
More information: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2018.html#standardtimeact

Astronomical Calendar for 2018 March: 
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2018.html#mar

 Related Blog Post ---


"Astronomical Calendar: 2018 February." 2018 Feb. 1.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2018/02/astronomical-calendar-2018-february.html


Source: Friends of the Zeiss.
              2018 March 1.

                             Like This Post? - Please Share!

            More Astronomy & Science News - SpaceWatchtower Twitter Feed:
            Link >>> https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower

        Astronomy & Science Links: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks

                Want to receive SpaceWatchtower blog posts in your in-box ?
                Send request to < spacewatchtower@planetarium.cc >.

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
& SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Astronomy Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#astrolinks >
Science Links: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks >
SpaceWatchtower Twitter News Feed: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
LibraryWatchtower Blog: < http://librarywatchtower.blogspot.com >
TransportWatchtower Blog: < http://transportwatchtower.blogspot.com  >
South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < http://shbastronomers.blogspot.com/ >
Barnestormin Blog: Writing, Essays, Pgh. News, etc.: < http://www.barnestormin.blogspot.com/ >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >