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It refers to "mean noon," as opposed to "solar noon." True solar noon is when the sun crosses the imaginary meridian in the sky between east and west, i.e., when the sun is exactly in the south. The time this occurs varies slightly every day due to a number of factors; the variation is known as the "equation of time." (See here for an excellent explanation ...


The Shulchan Aruch Harav (1:8 in the Mahadura Basra) says that Chatzos is calculated by finding chatzos hayom and adding 12 (civil) hours to it.

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