Time is precious. In today’s rapidly changing world, one has to keep track of several things each day in between juggling work, school, personal relationships, passions, hobbies and obligations. So any time we can get a little bit of extra time, even if it is just one (1) second, we’re grateful for the opportunity to do more things.
This is why June 30, 2015 might just be a good day for all of us. NASA scientists inform that Tuesday will have one extra second that you can use however you like. Scientists call it a “leap” second.
Daniel MacMillan, an expert at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (Greenbelt, Maryland), gave a statement informing that the “Earth’s rotation is gradually slowing down a bit, so leap seconds are a way to account for that”.
The scientific community informs that the phenomenon came to their attention after they noticed that the days were getting ti be longer than usual because of all the changes in our planet’s atmosphere.
According to the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), day normally has 86.400 seconds. The number of seconds in these days is calculated by looking at the ever reliable electromagnetic transitions found inside atoms of cesium.
But the number of seconds in a solar day, which June 30 is, is calculated by looking at how much time the Earth takes to rotate. These days generally last roughly 86.400.002 seconds. The reason is that the planet’s rotation is slowing down gradually, bit by bit.
The working theory is that this happens because of some kind of gravitational tug that goes on between the Earth, the Sun and the Moon, and experts stress that the lead seconds are not exactly easy to predict.
The leap second is essentially all the discrepancies that the Earth has in its rotation all thought a few years, or all throughout a single year. The first ever leap second was added back 1972. From 1972 to 1999, leap seconds used to be yearly events, however they’ve gotten to be less frequent since then.
Scientists can choose which day they’d like to add it to, however their options are limited – it has to be either June 30 or December 31. This year they went with June 30.
On a normal day, the time on our clocks moves from 23:59:59 to 00:00:00 and a new day begins. But on June 30, 2015, the time will first move from 23:59:59 to 23:59:60, before moving on to 00:00:00 and allowing July 1, 2015 to begin.
On this day, computer clocks will either count the extra second by actually displaying the time as 23:59:60, or they will simply count the 23:59:59 second twice in order synchronize all systems on the planet.
The scientists working at the International Earth Rotation Service (France) are the ones responsible for adjusting the time, and they inform that this will be the 26th time in recorded history that a leap second will be added. The decision to add it was made right at the beginning of the year, in January.
In 2012, when the 25th leap second was added, software applications such as Mozilla, LinkedIn, Reddit, Foursquare, StumbleUpon and Yelp have crashed, so be on the look out for that.
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