The world’s official timekeepers have added a “leap second” to the last day of the year, to help match clocks to the Earth’s slowing spin on its axis.
The US Naval Observatory, keeper of the Pentagon’s master clock, said it would add the extra second on Wednesday at 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds Coordinated Universal Time, or UTC (23:59:59 GMT). UTC is the time scale kept by highly precise atomic clocks around the world, accurate to about a billionth of a second per day.
The extra second will be the 24th to be added to UTC since 1972, when the practice began.
The decision to add or remove a second is the responsibility of the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service, based on its monitoring of the Earth’s rotation.
The goal is to make sure clocks vary from the Earth’s rotational time by no more than 0.9 seconds before an adjustment. That keeps UTC in sync with the position of the sun above the Earth.
The first leap second was introduced into UTC on June 30, 1972. The last was added on December 31, 2005.
They have been added at intervals ranging from six months to seven years.
Among the reasons for Earth’s slowing whirl on its axis are the braking action of tides, snow or the lack of it at the polar ice caps, solar wind, space dust and magnetic storms.
Big Ben in London with have an extra “bong” and the BBC will give us an extra “pip”! 🙂
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!! Especially to TOOHIE!!! 🙂