Atomic clock will keep precise time for 15 billion years | Science News

Real Science. Real News.

Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.

Science Ticker

A roundup of research
and breaking news

Science News Staff
Science Ticker

Atomic clock will keep precise time for 15 billion years

strontium atomic clock

RIGHT ON TIME  A new atomic clock contains two ultrasensitive thermometers (center) that enable scientists to account for heat-caused fluctuations that limit the clock’s precision.

Sponsor Message

The world’s best timepiece just got even better.

A new atomic clock described April 21 in Nature Communications is about three times as precise as its record-setting predecessor. The clock, which builds off of that earlier prototype, would not lose or gain a second in roughly 15 billion years. And raising it just 2 centimeters off its surface would perceptibly change its ticking rate due to the slightly weaker pull of Earth’s gravitational field.

Future generations of atomic clocks could precisely trace Earth’s shape and form the basis of a global timekeeping network

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content