abbr. sec or s, fundamental unit of time
in all systems of measurement. In practical terms, the second is 1/60 of a minute, 1/3,600 of an hour, or 1/86,400 of a day. Since the length of the day
varies, however, the second must be defined in more precise terms. For many years it was defined as 1/86,400 of the mean solar day (see solar time
), thus eliminating seasonal variations. Because the rotation of the earth itself is not constant, the second was redefined (1956) in terms of ephemeris time (ET), which is calculated from the motions of celestial bodies in accordance with the laws of motion; 1 sec is 1/31,556,925.9747 of the length of the tropical year for 1900. In 1967 the second was redefined to be 9,192,631,770 periods of vibration of the radiation emitted at a specific wavelength by an atom of cesium-133.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.
a unit of measurement of plane angles. It is equal to 1/3600 of a degree or 1/60 of a minute and is denoted by the symbol”.
a unit of time. It is one of the seven base units of the International System of Units. The following definition was adopted by the 13th General Conference on Weights and Measures, held in 1967: the second is the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the cesium-133 atom. The second defined in this manner is known as the atomic second. It can be reproduced by means of cesium frequency and time standards, which permit the determination of the frequency of the radiation of cesium-133 atoms when transitions occur between two fixed energy levels (seeQUANTUM FREQUENCY STANDARDS).
Besides the atomic second, such sciences as astronomy and geodesy make use of the second whose definition is based on the period of revolution of the earth about the sun. This unit is called the ephemeris second, and it is determined from astronomical observations. The ephemeris second is taken as 1/31,556,925.9747 of the tropical year for 1900 January 0 at 12 hours ephemeris time—that is, the year beginning at noon on Dec. 31, 1899. The precise date is indicated in the definition of the ephemeris second because the tropical year is not a constant.
Before the introduction of the ephemeris second in 1956, the time standard was the second defined as 1/86,400 of the mean solar day. This unit, however, was insufficiently stable because of variations in the speed of rotation of the earth. The introduction of the ephemeris second and then of the atomic second permitted the precision of the time standard to be improved by several orders of magnitude. When the atomic second is reproduced by cesium standards, the error at the present time is approximately ± 1 × 10-12.
REFERENCEVremia i chastota. Collection of articles edited by J. L. Jespersen et al. Moscow, 1973. (Translated from English.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
A unit of plane angle, equal to 1/60 minute, or 1/3,600 degree, or π/648,000 radian.
The fundamental unit of time equal to 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of an atom of cesium-133. Abbreviated s: sec.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. coming directly after the first in numbering or counting order, position, time, etc.; being the ordinal number of two: often written 2nd
2. denoting the lowest but one forward ratio of a gearbox in a motor vehicle
a. relating to or denoting a musical part, voice, or instrument lower in pitch than another part, voice, or instrument (the first)
b. of or relating to a part, instrument, or instrumentalist regarded as subordinate to another (the first)
4. Brit education an honours degree of the second class, usually further divided into an upper and lower designation
5. the lowest but one forward ratio of a gearbox in a motor vehicle
6. (in boxing, duelling, etc.) an attendant who looks after a competitor
7. a speech seconding a motion or the person making it
a. the interval between one note and another lying next above or below it in the diatonic scale
b. one of two notes constituting such an interval in relation to the other
9. goods of inferior quality
a. 1/60 of a minute of time
b. the basic SI unit of time: the duration of 9 192 631 770 periods of radiation corresponding to the transition between two hyperfine levels of the ground state of caesium-133.
2. 1/60 of a minute of angle.
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005