Is noon 12 am or 12 pm?

To avoid confusion, the correct way to express 12 o'clock is 12 noon or 12 midnight.

Alternatively, the 24-hour clock system may be used - 12:00 and 24:00 (or 00:00) respectively.

The abbreviation am stands for ante-meridiem (before the Sun has crossed the line) and pm for post-meridiem (after the Sun has crossed the line).

At 12 noon, the Sun is at its highest point in the sky and directly over the meridian. It is therefore neither 'ante' (am) nor 'post' (pm).

Ever wondered why there's 12 months in a year, seven days in a week or 60 minutes in an hour?

More about time 

Find out why Greenwich became the home of time

Which years have leap years and can you have leap seconds

See all Measuring Time articles

The Royal Observatory is open daily from 10am