5. 4. 3. 2. 1. 1… An additional second to see out 2016

As if 2016 has not been prolonged enough, a year’s failing notation will final an additional second to make adult for time mislaid to Earth’s negligence rotation, timekeepers say.


Countries that use Coordinated Universal Time — several West African nations, Britain, Ireland and Iceland — will supplement a jump second during a midnight countdown to 2017 — creation a year’s final notation 61 seconds long.

For others, a timing will be dynamic by a time section they live in, relations to UTC.

“This additional second, or jump second, creates it probable to align astronomical time, that is strange and dynamic by Earth’s rotation, with UTC that is intensely fast and has been dynamic by atomic clocks given 1967,” a Paris Observatory pronounced in a statement.

The look-out houses a International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS), obliged for synchronising time.

“The method of dates of a UTC second markers will be: 2016 Dec 31 23h 59m 59s, 2016 Dec 31 23h 59m 60s, 2017 Jan 1, 0h 0m 0s,” a IERS website states.

The composition is required since Earth’s revolution is not unchanging — it infrequently speeds up, infrequently slows down, though is gradually negligence overall.

This is caused by factors including a Moon’s gravitational Earth-braking forces, that give arise to a sea tides.

The outcome is that astronomical time — formed on a length of an Earth day — gradually falls out of sync with atomic time — that is totalled by scarcely 400 super-accurate atomic clocks dotted around a world.

– Leap year, too –

Atomic time or TAI, in turn, is used to establish UTC, used for polite timekeeping globally.

TAI is accurately 36 seconds forward of UTC, a disproportion that keeps flourishing as jump seconds are added, and will strech 37 seconds on Jan 1.

When jump seconds were introduced in 1972, 10 seconds had to be combined to UTC, followed by another roughly any 18 months thereafter, according to a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of a US Department of Commerce.

The final was combined on Jun 30, 2015.

“Leap seconds are combined in sequence to keep a disproportion between UTC and astronomical time (UT1) to reduction than 0.9 seconds,” a NIST website explains.

“Usually jump seconds are combined when UTC is forward of UT1 by 0.4 seconds or more.”

The process, it added, can emanate problems for information logging applications and telecommunications systems.

“Special courtesy contingency be given to these systems any time there is a jump second.”

2016 — annus horribilis for many with a unreasonable of luminary deaths and domestic upsets — has also had a jump day — Feb 29 — a four-yearly occurrence to keep a calendar synchronised with Earth’s transformation around a Sun.


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