How Many Seconds in a Day?

by Josh Hanagarne on November 21, 2011


Another reference question from library land. If this is your first visit, one of the things I do here on the blog is to answer questions that I get at work while on the reference desk.

Today the question was, casually put, “How many seconds in a day?”

Let’s do some math.

There are 60 seconds in one minute.

There are 60 minutes in one hour.

There are 24 hours in one day.

60 seconds x 60 minutes = 3600 seconds in one hour.

3600 seconds x 24 hours = 86,400 seconds in one day.

If, like me, math doesn’t come naturally to you and you’re trying to get better, I highly recommend the math videos at the Khan Academy.

Now that you know how many seconds in are in a day, use your powers for good!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Eric January 5, 2012 at 1:00 am

How many Seconds in a Day? The obvious answer would be 24 hours * 60 minutes in each hour * 60 seconds in each minute = 86,400 Seconds/Day. Is this however the Correct answer? To figure this out would we not first need to at least Define the terms Second and Day? Is a Day the time it takes to make exactly one rotation on it’s axis or the time elapsed from sunrise to sunrise? Is a second defined based upon the angular rotation of the earth, the wavelength of a certain variety of light, or the transitions of a cesium atom? Only with these defined can we begin to answer what at first seems to be such an easy answer to a deceptively not so simple question. All of this leads directly to the question… What is time? and to the equation of time itself.


Josh Hanagarne January 5, 2012 at 9:05 am

You should be a librarian. This kid would have fainted.


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