Not all time is equal. What does this mean exactly? It is a confusing concept as we tend to think of time as an objective measurement that doesn’t deviate. But the idea of time is just that, an idea. It is a man made concept that doesn’t really exist. But I digress; this is supposed to be a fun fact, not a mind bending headache-causing fact.
What causes time not to be equal? It’s gravity. Scientists can see this demonstrated by the atomic clocks located in differing altitudes which, depending on the gravitational pull, reflect different times. To visualize how this works look at the lines below…
Imagine a beam of light traveling between points A and B. The shortest route is, of course, a straight line. But gravity has the ability to bend space time; which means in a place that has a stronger gravitational pull, the light would actually be traveling in a curve, as you see with C and D. The curve represents a longer distance and therefore a longer period of time for light to pass between the two points. This is a very simplified version of what is known as gravitational time dilation, something Albert Einstein talks about in his theory of relativity.
What this all means, is that time moves faster or slower depending upon the gravitational pull of a given location. So someone who lives close to Earth’s equator experiences a slightly stronger gravitational pull than someone in Alaska. The result is that those close to the equator are experiencing time slower than those in Alaska; and we are experiencing time slower than astronauts in space- but at an infinitesimally small margin.
To listen to someone far smarter than me elaborate on this, please listen to Neil deGrasse Tyson below.