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Fun Facts - TIME



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  • As far as we know, time began with the formation of the universe in the instant of the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago.


  • Our Sun is about five billion years old.┬áThe Earth is estimated to be 4,540,000,000 years old.


  • Earth was created on the evening of Saturday, October 22, 4004BC, according to James Usher the 17th Century Archbishop of Armagh who came to this conclusion by adding up the family histories mentioned in the Bible - such as Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel.


  • The oldest rocks yet discovered on Earth are crystals of zircon from Western Australia, which are more than 4.4 billion years old.


  • Between 1929 and 1940 the Soviet Union changed the length of the week three times. In 1930 Stalin abolished weekends to fulfil work quotas. In 1931 it went to a six-day week and back to a seven-day week in 1940.


  • In the International Fixed Calendar, invented by Englishman Moses Bruine Cotworth in 1859, there are 13 months - with the extra month called Sol.


  • In 1836 John Belville began to sell time. He set his pocket watch at the Greenwich Observatory where he worked every morning and would sell the precise time to clients in the City. The family business went on until 1940.


  • Mice normally live to a maximum of three years of age, chickens to 10, cats to 21, horses to 40, goldfish to 49, elephants to 70, giant tortoises to 150 and whales to 200.


  • A nanosecond is one billionth of a second... a long time compared to the femtosecond, the attosecond and the shortest possible unit of time - known as Planck time.


  • The Julian calendar assumed a year is exactly 365.25 days - about 10 and three quarter minutes too long. By 1582, it was 10 days out of sync, so Pope Gregory XIII decreed that 10 days should be lost to put things right.


  • Rock beneath Niagara Falls is worn away at a rate of about a metre a year by the flow of water from Lake Erie 165ft above.


  • When the railways first reached Bristol trains seemed to leave 11 minutes early. The problem was the drivers had come from London, 200 miles west, where sunrise is 11 minutes earlier. The only sensible solution, applied in 1940, was for all UK trains to use London time or "railway time".


  • Beans, peas and tomatoes are said to grow best if planted in the second week after the new moon.


  • Count the seconds between seeing a flash and hearing thunder. Three seconds' delay means the lightning strike is 0.6 miles away.


  • Hummingbirds beat their wings 90 times a second when they are hovering. Flies can beat theirs more than 1,000 times a second.


  • Legend says the first Roman calendar came from Romulus, who was raised by wolves with twin brother Remus and founded Rome in 735BC. He was keen on the number 10, so his years had only 10 months.


  • At Julius Caesar's command in 46BC two new months were introduced - July named after him and August after his successor Augustus. This Julian calendar also had leap years.


  • Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox


  • If Earth were compressed into 24 hours then the first humans would appear just 40 seconds before midnight.


  • Bristlecone pines are the oldest single organisms on Earth. Some have lived more than 5,000 years.