Have you ever wondered why a minute is divided into 60 seconds? Or perhaps why a circle has 360 degrees? Well, it all has to do with ancient Babylonians.
Today, we use the decimal base unit which has 10 as its base. It is believed that this system was originated because it made it easy for humans to count using their fingers. But this wasn’t always this case. Throughout history, civilizations have been using various numeral systems, such as the duodecimal (base 12) and sexagesimal (base 60).
Ancient Babylonias were using the sexagesimal (base 60) unit therefore, when they decided to break down time or when they were developing mathematics, it made more sense for them to have 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 360 degrees in a circle and so forth. Because many future civilizations borrowed from this number system, it prevailed and that’s why even today, we have 60 seconds in a minute. (the article continues after the ad)
But why 24 hours in a day?
Remember when we talked about how ancient Egyptians used sundials to tell time? Well, sundials weren’t very effective when the sun went down. So, to tell the time at night, the ancient Egyptians were using the stars as they were moving across the sky. They had a system of 36 star groups called ‘decans’. These decans divided night-time in 12 hours which, combined with the 12 hours of day-time, gave us the 24 hour day.
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Main Article Photo: monikawl999 / Pixabay, Creative Commons
Photoshop: I’m A Useless Info Junkie
Sources: Why is a minute divided into 60 seconds, an hour into 60 minutes, yet there are only 24 hours in a day? | Keeping Time: Why 60 Minutes? | Why are there 24 hours in a day?
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