Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Zero Date set by Multi-Conjunction

Astro-Harmonic Synchronisation
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Finding standards is tricky. Sometimes we figure out a nice set of logical standards, pour hours of time into getting them just so, such as for the specification for HTLM, others we just do whatever most people have decided to do, like the actual implementation of HTML.

Choosing a calendar is equally arbitrary, UTC starts in 1884 to commemorate the date when (as everyone knows) unix was invented. Meanwhile, the western world marks the imaginary date when someone who got nailed to a tree for suggesting people be nice to one another was born, with various adjustments, because Romans. The Chinese calendar starts again every 60 years, with nobody remembering why they started it off the first time round. The Mayans worked on a 7885-long reset cycle, measuring the time from when gods Quetzalcoatl and Tepeu first made a man from a cob of corn, but never got round to properly describing what to do when the reset happened. Luckily for them, all the Mayans were killed by Conquistadors long before this turn of events could come to fruition, thus saving a great deal of embarrassment all round. The Islamic calendar has years lasting 355 or 354 days, with a starting date based on this one occasion when Mohammed moved-house.

So, lots of arbitrary reasons for marking a point in time from whence to count time, many of which are shrouded in mystery, nonsense and random happenings.

Instead, I suggest we do some maths, find out when the last conjunction of say Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune (inclusion/exclusion might be determined based on conformity to the orbital plane) and carry on from there. That way at least, there's an actual thing that (most) of us can agree on.

Picking alternative events ought to be limited to within the Solar-System as at this locality, we can be relatively sure of relativistic effects, though some thought ought to be given to the exact moment when conjunction actually takes place, based on the difference in time between observing such a conjunction from Earth, the Sun, or some other vantage point, and it actually happening.

zen_tom, May 25 2016

Halfbakery: Square date birthday celebration Square date birthday celebration
Triggered by hippo's and 8th's thoughts from the linked idea [zen_tom, May 25 2016]

Wikipedia: 561 BC - one possible starting point https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/561_BC
Here 'alignment' is probably defined quite loosely as in within 30° of one another. [zen_tom, May 25 2016]

James Ussher https://en.wikipedi...g/wiki/James_Ussher
Spookily accurate, give or take 5 billion years ... [8th of 7, May 25 2016]


       We did consider that, yes.   

       It would be useful to choose a suitable long-period count such that elapsed time since Event One could be expressed in smaller quantities, and the current date is expressed as (N + Offset) (siderial years) where the values of N and Offset are a consensus figure not normally represented.
8th of 7, May 25 2016

       That sort of conjunction is probably better and more understandable than anything else, so can I be the first to wish you a happy 2577?
hippo, May 25 2016

       Which one? Which conjunction? They do repeat. Too much room for future miscalculation...   

       We should pick a point in space that we will pass through (relative to some massive and far away thing) and then count down to that point, once passed it we should then count up. In sidereal days.   

       We may have to adjust for the Andromeda/Milky Way collision at some point in the, not too far distant, future
4whom, May 25 2016

       //Which conjunction?// Good question. We might start with (a best estimate of ) the Earth/Theia impact, but it's probably just as misty a starting point as picking a prophet's birthday.   

       Alternately, it might be shown that there is some long-count rotation between the elliptic plane and the centre of the Milky-Way or some other conveniently celestial object - If we allow observations from Earth to be "fundamental" we might pick some super-nova or other as marking a point in time, though that feels somewhat parochial.   

       What is neat however, is that by adopting a (roughly) 3000 (sidereal) year cycle, we get to adopt a practical, human-graspable scale, while linking it back (as per 8th's suggestion) to some Event One. If we use some historically observed event, that means placing Event One at some point in the last 5000 years.
zen_tom, May 25 2016

       // Event One //   

       "Event One" is the Big Bang, the beginning of your Unverse and start of time as you know it.   

       // placing Event One at some point in the last 5000 years. //   

       1800Hrs, 22 October 4004 BC (allegedly).   

8th of 7, May 25 2016

       //Which conjunction?// - obviously you'd reset to zero at every conjunction
hippo, May 25 2016

       I agree with [8th of 7], because I prefer a date that has Universe-wide significance for the zero-mark. Why should dates relevant to our average star in an only modestly bigger-than-average galaxy be of interest to aliens living a couple billion light-years away?
Vernon, May 25 2016

       //I prefer a date that has Universe-wide significance//   

       Yes, but only people standing in the same room will agree on the time since the big bang. Thing called relativity.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 25 2016

       //obviously you'd reset to zero at every conjunction// No time, like the present!   

       Don't use time, there isn't any. Use a point in space (relative to something very heavy and very far away) and use your idea of time to measure how long it takes to get there or away from there.
4whom, May 25 2016

       If they're Physicists, Astronomers or Mathematicians, they still won't agree with one another. They like as not won't even agree with themselves.
8th of 7, May 25 2016


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