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Everyone has heard about time zones, but not many people know exactly why they were created and why they are important. A time zone is basically a region of the globe where the same standard time is used. In other words, all the countries in a time zone keep the same time. It is very important to note that times zones are very useful for commerce because they help countries that are close to each other to keep the same time. Communication becomes much easier when both parties are in the same time zone. In addition, time zones are important for military operations. However, keep in mind that the military has different names for the various times zones. For example, Z (or Zulu) Time is Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) in military jargon. Now that we have explained what a time zone is and why it is important, let’s talk about what UTC and UTC offset are. Then we will discuss the PST (also known as Pacific Standard Time) time zone specifically.
Let’s Talk About UTC and Its Importance
Did you notice how many people say that they are in the UTC time zone? This is not correct though. UTC, short for Coordinated Universal Time, is a time standard. In fact, it is the time standard that coordinates all time across all time zones. What people mean to say when they are saying that they are in the UTC time zone is that they are in the GMT time zone. GMT is basically UTC+00:00. In other words, GMT uses the time of UTC. There is no UTC offset. Other countries in other time zones have various UTC offsets. For example, PST is UTC-08:00. Pacific Standard Time is 8 hours behind UTC. This is the offset. In general, offsets are whole hours. However, some countries use fractions of an hour in their offset. India is UTC+05:30. Nepal goes one step further, using a standard time that is UTC+05:45.
What Is PST?
PST (also known as Pacific Standard Time or simply Pacific Time) is 8 hours before Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). As stated previously, UTC is the primary time standard on Earth, which means it regulates all of the other time standards. In other words, all of the different time zones are an offset of the Coordinated Universal Time. It is important to note that PST has two names: Pacific Standard Time and Pacific Daylight Time. Pacific Standard Time, as we mentioned earlier, is UTC-8 (8 hours before UTC). On the other hand Pacific Daylight Time is UTC-7 and is used only during daylight saving time. Daylight Saving Time is observed during the summer months and is designed to increase the time humans can be active during daylight. Daylight Saving Time starts on the second Sunday of March and end on the first Sunday of November. It starts and ends at 2 in the morning (AM).
Countries That Are in Pacific Standard Time
PST covers United States, Canada and Mexico but not in their entirety. In the United States, the Washington and California states are entirely in Pacific Standard Time. Most of the Oregon and Nevada states are also in PST, while just portions of Idaho are included in this time zone. These three states are split between PST and Mountain Time Zone. Alaska is also split between PST and the Alaska Time Zone.
In Canada, only one territory is entirely in PST: Yukon. British Columbia and the Northwest Territories are split between PST and the Mountain Time Zone.
In Mexico, Pacific Standard Time encompasses just Baja California and Colima (Clarion Island more specifically). It is important to note that in Mexico, the Pacific Time Zone is called Zona Noroeste.
Important Cities in PST
According to estimates, more than 52 million people live inside the PST time zone. California is by far the biggest area in PST, with three major cities: San Diego, Los Angeles and San Jose. San Francisco is also in PST, with more than 700,000 residents. Las Vegas, Portland and Seattle are the three other major American cities that are in the Pacific Time Zone. In Mexico, Baja California and Tijuana are in PST, while in Canada Vancouver is the major city that contributes around 400,000 residents to the total number of people residing in the PST time zone. If you think 52 million people are a lot for a time zone, think about China. China has a single time zone, and the country has a population of 1.38 billion people as of 2016. India has a single time zone as well. Russia on the other hand is split between 9 time zones. It should have been split between 12 time zones, but president Putin decided 3 of the time zones must go to bring some areas of Russia closer to the Moscow time.
Interesting Time Zone Facts
Now that you know that UTC and the UTC offset are, and how PST fits into the picture, it’s time to take a look at some of the most interesting facts about time zones: