[LEAPSECS] the big artillery

Michael Deckers michael.deckers at yahoo.com
Sun Nov 2 13:21:19 EST 2014

   On 2014-11-01 23:31, Steve Allen wrote:

> In the appropriate contexts there are days of Terrestrial Time,
> International Atomic Time, Barycentric Coordinate Time, Geocentric
> Coordinate time, GPS system time, BeiDou system time, etc.  Each of
> those days is 86400 SI seconds in its own reference frame.
> In other contexts there are days of Universal Time, Sidereal Time,
> Ephemeris Time.  Each of those days is 86400 of its own kind of
> seconds.

    I disagree. One wants to compare all these time scales with
    each other, and comparison requires expression in the
    /same/ unit, not in different units.

    For instance, the differential rate d(TAI - UT1)/d(UT1) is
    published as LOD by the IERS as a "dimensionless" number
    with unit ms/d. To compute this, one must be able to
    subtract the reading of UT1 from that of TAI, and to
    compute the difference numerically one has to convert to
    equal units. The rate is computed correctly /only/ if
    one assumes that a second of TAI equals a second of UT1.

    I agree that it can still make sense to use different
    symbols for the same unit (such as s{TAI} and s{UT1});
    it is similarly common practice to distinguish masses
    of carbon dioxide from masses of carbon by different
    unit symbols g{CO₂} and g{C} for the same unit gram.

    Nevertheless, the BIPM seem to advise against such use
    [SI brochure 2006, section 5.3.2, p 132]:
         Units are never qualified by further information
         about the nature of the quantity; any extra
         information on the nature of the quantity should
         be attached to the quantity symbol and not to the
         unit symbol.

      [SI brochure 2006]:

   Michael Deckers.

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