Tuesday, December 27, 2005

New Year's Eve will be a second longer

Enjoy New Year's eve a second longer! National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will insert a leap second into the time scale on December 31. A leap second is a second added to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) to make it agree with astronomical time to within 0.9 second. UTC is an atomic time scale, based on the performance of atomic clocks. Astronomical time is based on the rate of rotation of the earth. Since atomic clocks are more stable than the rate at which the earth rotates, leap seconds are needed to keep the two time scales in agreement. The first leap second was added on June 30, 1972. The last time a leap second was added was seven years ago. From NIST:
This year's leap second will be implemented by adding an extra second to atomic clocks at NIST in Boulder, Colo., and other sites around the world. Normally, the last second of the year would be 23:59:59 UTC on Dec. 31, 2005, while the first second of the new year would be 00:00:00 UTC on Jan. 1, 2006. The leap second will be added at 23:59:59 UTC (06:59:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time) on Dec. 31, so that atomic clocks will read 23:59:60 UTC before changing to all zeros.
Great! We can blow our horns an extra second before 2006 comes.

(Thanks Leon)

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3 comments:

xXx said...

Damn! Why would they even bother to make the year one second longer. Enough of 2005 already. I can't wait for 2006.

mr black said...

It is only one second. Not a long wait at all.

Karenz said...

Interesting. I know of leap years but did not know there is such thing as a leap second.

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