Edition 05 of the Astronomy On-line Newspaper

Summer Time is over in Europe

A short while ago, during the night between Saturday, October 26 and Sunday, October 27, the Summer Time in most European countries came to an end. The watches were moved one hour back at 3 o'clock in the morning. Due to this change, the sky over Munich (Germany) was suddenly much brighter when I got up on early Sunday morning, than it had been during the past weeks! But the dusk fell one hour earlier that evening and you really had the feeling that it was autumn.

This means that from now on, most of the participants in Astronomy On-Line will use Central European Time (CET) which is equal to Universal Time + 1 hour (CET = UT + 1h). Please be sure to remember this when you make observations and you report them, for instance within one of the Collaborative Projects!

The use of Summer Time in Europe has been on and off several times. It came into use during the Second World War, in order to "save daylight". At some moment, even Double Summer Time, was introduced in some countries.

In 1996, Summer Time began in late March, when the watches were advanced by 1 hour. This means that during the summer months, all activities start 1 hour earlier, taking advantage of the bright morning hours. In the same sense, the there are more bright evening hours and as a net result, it is assumed that the energy consumption decreases.

There have been much opposition to the use of Summer Time, notably from persons angaged in agricultural activities (`the cows follow the Sun!'). Moreover, some doubt has recently been expressed about this concept in some countries by wider sections of society also. Nevertheless, the summer time will in any case continue through 1998.

The present time system will last for 5 months until the last weekend in March 1997. On Sunday, March 29, 02:00 a.m., the watches will again be advanced by 1 hour.

In some countries on the southern hemisphere, the period of Summer Time has recently begun.

Richard West
ESO Education and Public Relations Department

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Last update: Oct 29, 1996