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PAGASA Installs P50.30 Million Atomic Clock - "Currently The Most Precise and Stable Timekeeping Device"

MANILA, Philippines — A division of the state weather agency just bought a P50-million clock from a US supplier that tells time more accurately than the earth does when it spins on its axis.

A year after the project was bid out, the atomic clock arrived a month ago and was installed on Wednesday following the arrival of two engineers from the US contractor Microsemi Corp.

The unit, which is about the size of a large refrigerator, has three rows of atomic caesium clocks for holdover redundancy and is plugged into the network time protocol (NTP) of the Philippine Standard Time. The atomic clock tells the time by measuring the oscillation of energized atoms in an electromagnetic field.

The atomic clock, which can tell time up to the nanosecond, is currently the most precise and stable timekeeping device so much so that it will take 30 million years for it go off by a second. The atomic clock is even more stable than solar time, as the earth’s speed spinning on its axis is affected by the moon’s gravitational pull and large-scale disasters such as earthquakes. The instability of the earth’s rotation actually gives rise to the so-called “leap second,” a one-second adjustment to the Coordinated Universal Time to keep it in line with solar time.

“Typically, most people would use it for navigation systems, metrology, and calibration. In this case, it’s also going to be used as an authoritative time server for the Philippines,” said Kirk Montgomery, one of the two Microsemi systems engineer who installed the system in PAGASA.

Nanosecond precision has huge implications in high-level applications such as GPS, where a slight millisecond variance can set off positioning data by a million feet due to the speed of light. Telecom circuits also rely on precise clocking mechanisms to coordinate data packets with clock speeds.

Raymundo said they will coordinate with interested stakeholders in the private and public sector on how they could connect to the atomic clock through their NTP server. The country will now also be capable of being recognized as a contributor to the International Bureau of Weight and Measures in France.


How to Synchronize Your Computer  Router and Modem with the Philippine Standard Time Directly from PAG-ASA

Sync PC Time
1. Go to Control Panel
2.click clock, Language, and Region
3.Click Set the Time and Date
4. Click Internet Time
5.input dost server and update

Sync Router/Modem Time
1.Login via admin user on your modem or router
2.Find SNTP
3.Input DOST server
4.Choose +GMT8:00
5.Click Apply

History of PAGASA Time Service

The Time Service Division was established as one of the major units in the then Weather Bureau sometime in 1949. Its master clock was a U. Nardin Marine Chronometer, with pendulum regulator, which was utilized as a dispatch clock. A short synchrome ensemble replaced the marine chronometer in 1951 and a quartz crystal clock improved the system in 1965.

Since then, there was no major improvement that had been done with the system, except for the acquisition of a Digitizing Oscilloscope.  In 1988, the Time Service Division was downgraded to the Time Service Unit (TSU), together with the reorganization of the PAGASA.  In 1996, the TSU acquired a Luminous Digital Clock and a Global Positioning System (GPS), which were installed in 1997, as its primary reference timing system.

In 2003, TSU was transferred to the newly renovated Transit Building of the PAGASA Astronomical Observatory, equipped with the new timing equipment, known as the Rubidium/Global Positioning System Common View (Rb/GPSCV) Time Transfer System.  The detailed characteristics, components and utilization of the Rb/GPSCV are given in a succeeding section.

Functions of the Time Service Unit

Maintains the national standard of time and frequency.
Disseminates the precise time and frequency via Internet, radio broadcast and other means.
Extends time and frequency calibration and standardization services to industrial and scientific institutions.
Exchanges data on time and frequency with overseas institutions.

Services offered by the Unit

Time-of-day information disseminated to the general public through the telephone.
Time synchronization of all TV and radio broadcasting stations, using the Network Time Protocol (NTP) server system.
Transmission of time tone signal, using a Single Side Band (SSB) transceiver.
Checking through telephone or any other means, the accuracy of the clocks being displayed by TV stations and the time-of-day information being broadcast by radio stations.
Calibration/Synchronization of all working displayed clocks, chronometers, quartz clocks and other timepieces.
Assistance in disseminating astronomical information/data and other services related to astronomy and time information of foreign countries.
Assistance in astronomical observation and delivery of lectures to observatory visitors on the astronomical aspects of PAGASA services.
Assistance in disseminating official severe weather bulletins, issued by the Weather and Flood Forecasting Center, in cases where callers/inquirers cannot contact the Center during busy hours.


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