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Time provides us with a measure of change by putting dates on moments, fixing the durations of events, and specifying which events happen before which other events. In order to do that, some method of time measurement is needed. The science or art of the accurate measurement of time is known as chronometry (or, less formally, timekeeping). A similar concept, horology, usually refers to mechanical timekeeping devices or timepieces. Time can be measured both in terms of the absolute moment when a particular event occurs, or in terms of a time interval, i.e. the duration of a continued event.
The history of time measurement is the story of the search for more consistent and accurate ways to measure time. Early human groups recorded the phases of the Moon some 30,000 years ago, but the first minutes were counted accurately only 400 years ago. The atomic clocks that allowed mankind to track the approach of the third millennium (in the year 2001) by a billionth of a second are less than 50 years old. Thus, the practice and accuracy of time measurement has progressed greatly through humanity’s history.
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