A Few Facts Concerning GMT [and] UT…

(original document by Richard B. Langley
Geodetic Research Laboratory
Dept. of Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering
University of New Brunswick
Fredericton, N.B., Canada E3B 5A3
original version: 3 February 1990; this version: 20 January 1999)

Here are a few facts concerning Greenwich Mean Time [and] Universal Time. Various versions of this document have been posted to Usenet newsgroups and made available on Web sites over the years under the original title “A Few Facts Concerning RGO, GMT, and UT”. The current title has been in use since the 23 December 1995 version.

Greenwich Mean Time

Universal Time

The Origin of UTC

LRod’s Interpretation

Nowhere in the foregoing is there a direct correlation by order between the initials “UTC” and the French words which make it up, nor have I been able to find anything substantive on the interweb which supports this opinion. However, I believe that since the term “UT” predates the establishment of “UTC” by more than 30 years, and possibly before France became the center of time (and the highly parochial guardian of the French language) it may be that Universel Temps might have been the acceptable French version of “UT”. Adding “coordinné” when UTC was officially introduced in 1960 might have been the step that gave us UTC, despite that pure French doesn’t support that arrangement of the initials. If any Francophone has a better (and supportable) opinion, I’d love to hear about it.

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