Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)
Below is a quote from the sci.astro newsgroup FAQ. You can read the full text of the page this quote was taken from at http://www.cis.ohio-state.edu/hypertext/faq/usenet/astronomy/faq/part3/faq-doc-5.html.
UTC is a time defined not by the movement of the earth, but by a large collection of atomic clocks located all over the world, the atomic time scale TAI. When UTC and UT1 are about to drift apart more than 0.9 s, a leap second will be inserted (or deleted, but this never has happened) into UTC to correct this. When necessary, leap seconds are inserted as the 61th second of the last UTC minute of June or December. During a leap second, a UTC clock (e.g., a GPS receiver) shows: 1995-12-31 23:59:59 1995-12-31 23:59:60 1996-01-01 00:00:00 Today, practically all national civil times are defined relative to UTC and differ from UTC by an integral number of hours (sometimes also half- or quarter-hours). UTC is defined in ITU-R Recommendation TF.460-4 and was introduced in 1972. The acronym UTC stands for Coordinated Universal Time. In 1970 when this system was being developed by the International Telecommunication Union, it felt it was best to designate a single abbreviation for use in all languages in order to minimize confusion. Unanimous agreement could not be achieved on using either the English word order, CUT, or the French word order, TUC, so a compromise using neither, UTC, was adopted.
If you want to find out the current time in UTC check out http://tycho.usno.navy.mil/cgi-bin/timer.pl.
-- RobertFitzsimons - 12 July 1999