# The Naked Scientists Forum

### Author Topic: Why are there twenty four hours in a day?  (Read 5699 times)

#### Ben Aldhouse

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##### Why are there twenty four hours in a day?
« on: 02/02/2007 17:41:20 »
Hello!

I would like to know why there are twenty four hours in the day and what other time-keeping systems there are and/or have been.
« Last Edit: 18/02/2007 13:23:01 by chris »

#### neilep

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##### Re: Why are there twenty four hours in a day?
« Reply #1 on: 02/02/2007 18:02:38 »
Hello!

I would like to know why there are twenty four hours in the day and what other time-keeping systems there are and/or have been.

Hi Ben,

Welcome here.

Actually, the length of the day is 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4 seconds (I think)...

Hopefully an expert will now explain to you why this is so.

#### neilep

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##### Re: Why are there twenty four hours in a day?
« Reply #2 on: 03/02/2007 14:06:36 »
Come on peeps,

Ben wants an answer to this hourly day thingy that he's asked !!

Ben..in the mean time here's a link to wikipedias entry about the ' day ' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day

#### eric l

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##### Re: Why are there twenty four hours in a day?
« Reply #3 on: 03/02/2007 15:32:23 »
The main problem is that I actually do not know for sure, and do not find a convincing answer either.
I know that at the origin they counted with 12 hours for the day and 12 hours for the night - which meant that in summer the hours in the day were longer than the hours in the night and vice versa in winter.  But why twelve ?  If it was by analogy with the 12 mooncycles in a year (an answer I have found), why not 6 hours for the day and 6 for the night, making 12 hours for the complete cycle ?
Of course, 12 is one of those sacred numbers - I remember the days when the British had 12 pence in a shilling.  But again, why is that, why not 6.  After all, 6 is a "perfect" number, being equal to the sum of its dividers.
The fact that you can perfectly divide a circle into 6, or 12, or 24 equal parts may have played a role.
Maybe 24 was just too large a number, and 6 would have made the hours too long.  Just guessing !

#### neilep

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##### Re: Why are there twenty four hours in a day?
« Reply #4 on: 03/02/2007 16:09:15 »
RESPECT to the eric l !

THANK YOU Eric, Hugs the eric l

#### Ben Aldhouse

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##### Re: Why are there twenty four hours in a day?
« Reply #5 on: 03/02/2007 16:22:48 »
Thanks for your replies and the wikipedia link. I wondered how much the number of hours reflects the timing of various typical activities such as eating, working, praying or whatever or whether the reason is more specific or arbitrary than this. Eric's explanation of the way the number divides up usefully is a good one. Thanks.

#### Karen W.

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##### Re: Why are there twenty four hours in a day?
« Reply #6 on: 03/02/2007 17:27:32 »
Welcome Ben, Perhaps it had something to do with the human body clock and its capacity to function..along with it's need to rest as well! Just just as you were just listing activities etc.

#### neilep

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##### Re: Why are there twenty four hours in a day?
« Reply #7 on: 03/02/2007 20:01:03 »
One thing I will add...is that there never seems to be enough hours in the day !!
« Last Edit: 03/02/2007 20:04:33 by neilep »

#### WylieE

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##### Re: Why are there twenty four hours in a day?
« Reply #8 on: 03/02/2007 20:13:18 »
One thong I will add...is that there never seems to be enough hours in the day !!
Yes, and there are never enough thongs in a day either. . .
(Or maybe there are too many)
Ah, you fixed it before I could post my reply
Colleen

#### neilep

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##### Re: Why are there twenty four hours in a day?
« Reply #9 on: 03/02/2007 22:10:26 »
One thong I will add...is that there never seems to be enough hours in the day !!
Yes, and there are never enough thongs in a day either. . .
(Or maybe there are too many)
Ah, you fixed it before I could post my reply
Colleen

LOL...Gotcha !!! !!

Hee hee !!   nyahh nyahh nyahh nyahh nyahh !!!

*sticks tongue out...blows raspberry then runs away*

Hugs the Wylie !!

#### Karen W.

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##### Re: Why are there twenty four hours in a day?
« Reply #10 on: 04/02/2007 03:01:52 »
Yes I agree with that perhaps part of my sleep problem, want more time to do things.. LOL

#### daveshorts

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##### Re: Why are there twenty four hours in a day?
« Reply #11 on: 04/02/2007 11:08:16 »
12 hours sounds babylonian to me, they were keen on base 12 as yuo can divide it by 2,3 and 4 eassily. 60mins in the hour is definitely them. you can divide it by 2,3,4, and 5

#### The Naked Scientists Forum

##### Re: Why are there twenty four hours in a day?
« Reply #11 on: 04/02/2007 11:08:16 »