Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana. No matter if you’re a member of the human race, or a fruit fly (in which case, you may or may not be able to usher in 2018, depending on where you are in your life cycle), if you have been alive on planet Earth in the past 362 days and have reason to use the Gregorian calendar, you can expect another calendar year to begin in the next few days.
A New Year on earth
Now, for most of us mere mortals, the 1st of January is an event celebrated with merrymaking, and anticipated from the evening of the last day of the preceding year in the presence of family and friends. The climax of the celebration is the stroke of midnight, signifying the end of the previous year and the beginning of the next.
At Zapzapmath, we’re looking forward to celebrating the arrival of 2018 at one of the many New Year’s Eve countdown parties happening near us. And as is our custom, we also like to look at the mathematical side of things.
So today, we’d like to know: How many times can a New Year’s Eve reveler usher in 2018?
Can you say Happy New Year again?
Let’s start by looking at the geographical positions of each country in Earth. Nations that are situated eastward would be among the first to greet the new year. If you’d like to be the among the first worldwide to welcome 2018, make sure you’re in Tonga at the stroke of midnight come December 31. Conversely, the final few places where you can do so are American Samoa and Baker Island.
Assuming each time zone being an hour apart, there would be 24 opportunities to count down to the New Year. But with the variance in the number of time zones globally (accounting for the International Date Line, etc.), a New Year’s Eve reveler can theoretically expect to attend up to 39 countdown parties around the globe! That’s a lot of excitement for one evening, and a reveler that is really skilled in the art of time travel.
If you can’t teleport but would still like to be one of the first and last to say “Happy New Year”, you can start by celebrating in Tonga, and then catch a short westward flight to American Samoa to await the stroke of midnight the next day.
Looking forward to 2018
The close of one year can be a time for retrospection. But while it is important to look back upon the year that was, don’t forget to ensure that the things you’ve learned in 2017 contribute to your growth in 2018! Thanks for joining us of a year of looking at math from an acute angle. Stay tuned for more in 2018. Happy New Year from all of us in the Zapzapmath team!