Astronomical Doubt

Whats an year? - The time taken by the earth to complete its orbit around the sun.
Whats a month? - The time sun spends in one constellation.
Whats a day? - Time taken for earth to revolve once on its own axis.
Whats a fortnight? - Time taken for the moon to go from new moon state to full moon (and vice versa)

Well, whats a week? I dont know! I have no clue as to how this time slice is arrived at. I have asked this question to lot of people and all I have got is sheepish smiles (and sometimes "dont-bother-me" stares) Some are creative enough to answer that 2 weeks make a fortnight. But I am not convinced. If you want to split up a fortnight, why 2 weeks and why not 7 "2-dayers"?

You have any idea as to whats the rationale for defining the time slice called "week"? Even if you dont know the exact answer, any thoughts on this are absolutely welcome. And wrong answers carry no negative marks!


  1. sandhya said...
    Does this help ?
    Krupa said...
    Everything you ever wanted to know about weeks:
    Soumia said...
    I can only give you sheepish smile or dont bother me stares.No penalties for this i hope.:)
    astrocrazy2005 said...
    I feel if one week can be related to some other astronomical object (like planet or satllite)we can come up with fancy definition.
    parijata said...
    From what I know, the 7-day week is not associated with any astronomical event, but with the Christian belief that God created this world in six days and rested on the seventh day.

    A very reliable source told me that there is no mention of the week in our traditional works (unlike this wikipedia article).
    Anonymous said...
    so nice of you!keep writing....
    Bit Hawk said...
    The formation of a 'week' was more of a convention, rather than any scientific reasoning. Anyways, the links were informative.

    I had read this on Wikipedia. But, somehow it did not convince me fully!

    No issues. I have just incremented the smile and stare count! :)

    I tried to link this to something, but failed.

    I wish God was more efficient to create the world in 5 days. We would have a weekend after 3 working days ;)
    I think even our ancient stories talk about the days of the week. Correct me if I am wrong!
    Rajiv Iyer said...
    great question .... I am afraid I just followed the links, read up briefly all the information on Wiki .... and I was left pretty satisfied .... its funny how so many such questions exist which we hardly wonder about .... I guess we take everything thats been established for granted .... nyways! continue being inquisitive & bring us more such small but important questions!
    rekha said...
    that is because according to bible God created earth and paraphranalia in 6days and took rest on the 7th day.since we follow the british thingythat might have come.did they follow this wk before they came?i dont think so
    Ankur said...
    i had even a more basic question... why divide a day into 24 hours?

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