Leap Second


This New Year’s Eve, Will it be 1 Second Longer?

This year, time will give us all a second more to bid a final goodbye to 2016.

Located in Paris, International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS) scientists have added an extra second on December 31, for compensating the slowing of the Earth’s rotation. This would mean that all the clocks of the world will go from 11:59:59 to 11:59:60 before hitting 00:00:00, according to timekeepers. This kind of event in astrophysics is called leap second.

Earth Rotation

Picture Courtesy: www.livescience.com

Head of Dubai Astronomy Group Hassan Al-Hariri says that these changes in time are the results of natural catastrophes, because of which the earth’s motion gets slowed down.

Take for instance the year 2004, Indonesia was hit by a tsunami and because of that natural disaster, the earth’s rotation was slowed down by 0.26 seconds in the year 2015. This also results because of large hurricanes which occur and affects the momentum of the earth’s motion.


Picture Courtesy: media2.s-nbcnews.com

This occurring of event is not new and from a common person’s view, an extra second is as equal as the click of a mouse. It sure will have quite minute effects, the advanced computer systems will take care and take that extra second into consideration, says Al-Hariri.

Leap second can be a threat to computer systems, the IERS group is responsible for administering the international time which is generally a six months of notice time regarding time changes and places them at the end of June or December.

According to a UK-based New Scientist journal, however, there have been appeals not to add leap seconds and let the earth’s rotation slowly diverge from the actual time.


Picture Courtesy: d.ibtimes.co.uk

Rather than adding leap seconds every few years, we can make modifications in the long run. So, in every 100 years, an additional three minutes can be added. This idea or proposal is still under discussion by the international scientist’s communities, as explained by Al-Hariri.

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