The date is most likely generated in some obscure timezone you’ve never heard of, so it’s quite nice to be able to find out what the time was when the article was sent.
Display the date in UT (aka. GMT, aka ZULU)
Display the date in international format, aka. ISO 8601
Display the date in the local timezone (
Display the date in a format that’s easily pronounceable in English
Display the date using a user-defined format
gnus-article-date-user). The format is specified by the
gnus-article-time-format variable, and is a string that’s passed
format-time-string. See the documentation of that variable
for a list of possible format specs.
Say how much time has elapsed between the article was posted and now
gnus-article-date-lapsed). It looks something like:
Date: 6 weeks, 4 days, 1 hour, 3 minutes, 8 seconds ago
To make this line updated continually, set the
gnus-article-update-date-headers variable to the frequency in
seconds (the default is
Display the original date (
gnus-article-date-original). This can
be useful if you normally use some other conversion function and are
worried that it might be doing something totally wrong. Say, claiming
that the article was posted in 1854. Although something like that is
totally impossible. Don’t you trust me? *titter*
See Customizing Articles, for how to display the date in your preferred format automatically.