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December 29, 2005

2006 to arrive late

From the London Times...

This year’s countdown on December 31 should go: “3-2-1-1 . . . Happy New Year!” The world’s timekeepers have decreed that we should add a “leap second” on the stroke of midnight to resynchronise our clocks with astronomical time.

The extra second before the New Year starts will be shown on the most accurate clocks as 23:59:60.

The time change has been decreed by the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service, based at the Paris Observatory, which regulates Co-ordinated Universal Time (UTC).

The goal is to keep “clock time”, as recorded by unvarying atomic clocks, within 0.9 seconds of astronomical time, or “Sun time”, which is tied to the slowing rotation of the Earth.

UTC, like Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), is based on when the Sun arrives due south at the Greenwich Meridian, the zero line of longitude. But super-accurate caesium atomic clocks get out of sync with the rotation of the Earth.

Man, a whole extra second. What're you gonna do with your extra second? Me, I think I may take the extra time to read a book or two, maybe get in some extra sleep and visit some relatives.

Posted by Danny Carlton at December 29, 2005 08:45 AM

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I thought they were adding it to Jan 1, so that people would have longer to recover from their hangovers.

Posted by: Don Singleton at December 29, 2005 10:10 AM

That's an interesting idea, Don.

Posted by: Danny Carlton at December 29, 2005 11:04 AM

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