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Scientists to Hold Back Time for "Leap Second" This Weekend

Science & Tech  (tags: science, astronomy, space, time, leap second, Earth, solar year, news )

- 2153 days ago -
June 30, 2012 will be exactly one second longer than any other day this year, according to the world's timekeepers.

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Michael O (176)
Saturday June 30, 2012, 7:39 am
Horologists will be adding one "leap second" to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) this weekend to compensate for the very gradual and unpredictable slowing down of our planet.

Basically, there are two main standards for measuring time on earth: solar time, based on the rotation of the earth, and International Atomic Time, which relies on the pulsation of atoms to measure time with near-perfect accuracy.

The earth takes just over 86,400 seconds for a full 360-degree revolution, but the gravitational pull of ocean tides, the sun and the moon all affect its rotation ever so slightly.

This has led to a creeping discrepancy between the two times, which the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS) decided to start fixing in 1971 with the introduction of leap seconds. A total of 24 leap seconds have been added to the clock since.

These leap seconds must be inserted every 1 to 2 years to avoid solar time and atomic time from spreading too far apart, according to the IERS.

However, due to an unusual temporary acceleration of the Earth, no leap seconds were needed between 1998 and 2005. The last leap second occurred at the end of December in 2008.

This weekend's leap second will effectively make the last minute of June 61 seconds, instead of the standard 60 - meaning that you have one extra second to enjoy this Canada Day long weekend.

Teresa W (782)
Saturday June 30, 2012, 9:55 am

Bob hardly here P (394)
Sunday July 1, 2012, 3:06 am
interesting thanks

Bechi C (120)
Monday July 2, 2012, 4:08 am
Make that second last!

Kerrie G (116)
Monday July 2, 2012, 7:50 am
Noted, thanks.

John B (185)
Monday July 2, 2012, 9:57 am
Thanks Michael for posting the CBC news article.I thought the adding of thew leap second had been going on for much longer and that it was added every fourth year. Read and noted.

Robert O (12)
Monday July 2, 2012, 12:18 pm
Thanks Michael.

Kate K (215)
Monday July 2, 2012, 12:59 pm
Well, great, I can sleep longer-get up at around 5;01 instead of 5:00.

Christeen A (368)
Monday July 2, 2012, 1:04 pm
Very interesting article. Thank you.

Shan D (49)
Monday July 2, 2012, 6:50 pm
Hey, a second is very important when you need it and don't have it. How many times has the Federation (or at least the ship) been saved on Star Trek because they did it in the Very Last Second? ;-)

marie C (163)
Tuesday July 3, 2012, 1:59 pm
Thanks Michael

Sue Matheson (79)
Tuesday July 3, 2012, 5:26 pm

Talya H (10)
Tuesday July 3, 2012, 7:31 pm
Thanks for the article!

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Wednesday July 4, 2012, 12:47 pm
The above posts by Sjo D., Xiao B., Bei W., Xin X., and Jian Shi, are OBVIOUSLY
Please, whenever you see such STINKING, DISGUSTING ADS
take just a MOMENT to Click on "flag as inappropriate".
A Care2 staff member ought to then take care of it.

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Please BE A GOOD CARE2 CITIZEN -- if we ALL flag, things might get done faster!
And the words, "amazing surprise", suggest to ME, a VIRUS to really mess up your computer.....

M B (62)
Wednesday July 4, 2012, 2:35 pm
Please, whenever you see such STINKING, DISGUSTING ADS
take just a MOMENT to Click on "flag as inappropriate".
A Care2 staff member ought to then take care of it.

Debra Van Way (12)
Thursday July 5, 2012, 2:21 pm
Huh! Learn something new every day. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Azaima A (207)
Friday July 6, 2012, 11:46 am
hope I can deal with the change

Thomas Rose (46)
Friday July 6, 2012, 6:40 pm
Fascinating. Thanks for the information.

Lucie G (39)
Monday July 9, 2012, 12:25 am
Interesting . i

Past Member (0)
Monday July 9, 2012, 4:44 am

David C (131)
Tuesday July 10, 2012, 4:16 pm
very interesting headline, I'll read the article in a second....please everyone report the spam!

Rin S (10)
Wednesday July 11, 2012, 11:38 pm
Wow, that's crazy. Noted.

Lindsay K (6)
Friday July 13, 2012, 4:14 pm
I remember this extra second - we had an extra 'pip' on the time check! Great fun

Gloria p (304)
Sunday July 15, 2012, 4:37 pm
A second either way does not matter.
Spam flagged.

Robert Hardy (68)
Tuesday July 17, 2012, 9:30 pm giant leap for mankind......

Fennie Yap (0)
Wednesday July 18, 2012, 7:53 am

Angel Campbell (0)
Wednesday July 18, 2012, 3:25 pm
Hehe this is cool.

Julia R (296)
Thursday July 19, 2012, 2:50 am
Interesting article! I guess you can learn something important every second! As the saying goes, "every second counts."
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