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How many seconds till my next spa treatment or before the microwave pings? How many seconds to wait before I’m off on my next vacation? Most of us spend the better part of our days counting to seconds to the next best thing we’re waiting to happen.

If you’re planning your next weekend getaway right now, it only makes sense to be counting the seconds till then. But even if you’re not, we all, fortunately, have active and logical minds that love to calculate, learn and gain knowledge.

With the help of math, most of us have figured by now that every year comprises of 525,000 minutes. But what about the seconds? How many are there in a year, a week or a day? If your mind too has been quizzing you about it like ours, welcome to the club.

Together, we will solve this mystery below and hopefully return as enlightened minds to our lives after reading this article!

A Second- What is it?

We’re all eager to get to the calculation part right away but it helps to do things thoroughly, doesn’t it? And so, we’ll first learn a little about what seconds are. A second is the base unit of time but we cannot call it the smallest unit.

A defined or base unit is the one on which rely the other units for their calculation. Hence, all the other units that make up time, including hours, minutes, nanoseconds etc. rely on seconds. Every hour depends on the minutes and the minutes depend on the second, which brings it all down to the base unit.

Surely all of us have learnt back in school that each second depends on the rotation cycle of our Earth. Every second of an average solar day amounts to 86,400.

Hence, our most accurate estimation of the number of seconds in a day comes from the earth’s rotation cycle and the speed at which it rotates.

The atomic clock is usually the tool upon which we base our one second radiation cycle. There’s another interesting theory too. Have you heard about leap seconds? If we dig a little deeper into the concept of seconds we’d learn about the addition of leap seconds, due to the variations in astronomical years.

Number of Seconds in a Day

We all know our day comprises of twenty hours, which is an estimation of the time it takes the earth to revolve on its axis. This revolving motion relates to the sun and makes the SI, the unit we use for time in the metric system.

Now let’s take a look at the step by step calculation of the seconds in a day.

Per Minute

The calculation of time, especially seconds take us back to Babylonian times. Science experts say that a minute makes the largest second of a unit, amount to sixty seconds for a minute. But surprisingly, there has been no explanation as to why this specific unit exits.

But moving away from history, we know that we have sixty minutes in an hour and to understand the number of seconds a day comprises of, let’s do some math.

Look at a simple calculation below:

One minute = 60 seconds

One hour-= 60 seconds

Hence, 60 x 60 = 3600 seconds

Our day comprises of 24 hours and when we first measure the number of seconds for an hour, we find the total value of 3600. Hence, to find out the total number of seconds of all twenty-four hours of a day, we only have to multiply 3600 but 24.

When you multiply the two values, you will find the total amounting to 86, 400. In case there’s still any confusion remaining in your mind, let’s list this down for you step-wise.

  • You must begin by finding the number of seconds in an hour first
  • To do that, you have to 60 seconds by 60 minutes and multiply the two.
  • Follow this formula: number of seconds in an hour = to number of seconds in a minute. Multiply their total with the number of minutes in an hour.
  • It will look like this simply- 60 x 60 = 3600
  • 3600 are the total seconds in an hour
  • The remaining calculation is simple from here: simply multiply the total seconds of an hour with the total hours in a day.
  • Like this- 3600 x 24 = 86,400
  • Here you go; the total number of seconds in a day is 86,400.

Final Thoughts

The standard unit of time we all use is a second. Second, originates from a Latin word meaning division of the second hour. The International System of Units also uses second as the standard unit for time. Additionally, we also refer to second as time’s precise units, including nanoseconds, microseconds, and milliseconds.


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