The year 2015 will be longer by one second. Software companies are getting ready for glitches after the Paris Observatory announced that a second will be added in 2015.On June 30, dials will read 11:59:60 as clocks will hold back a second to allow the Earth’s rotation to catch up with the more accurate atomic clocks.
Atomic Time is constant but the Earth’s rotation is slowing down gradually by two thousandths of a second per day. It is the work of the scientists of the International Earth Rotation Service based in France to constantly monitor the Earth rotation and tweak time when required.
Software companies are getting ready for the problems which will crop up due to this adjustment. A similar situation had happened in 2012 when Mozilla, Reddit, Foursquare, Yelp, LinkedIn, and StumbleUpon had to deal with crashes. There were problems with the Linux operating system and programs written in Java.
A number of computing system use what is known as the Network Time Protocol, or NTP, to keep themselves in sync with the world’s atomic clocks. However most of computing systems have no provision to deal with the extra second. Google has developed its very own correctional technique which it terms as the leap smear. It gradually adds a few milli seconds to its system clocks before the official arrival of the leap second.
Nick Stamatakos, the chief of Earth Orientation Parameters at the US Naval Observatory said, “The Earth is slowing down a little bit. Atomic clocks keep very accurate time. The measurements are telling us ‘Oh, they’re slowing down'”
The first leap second was added in 1972 and it will be the 26th time that this correction has been added to clocks. In other words the rotation of the Earth will have slowed down by 26 seconds as compared to the Atomic clocks.
Stamatakos added, “They add an extra second to something called UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) in order to make sure the rate of UTC is the same as atomic time. For that day [June 30] there’ll be 86,401 seconds, instead of 86,400 seconds. The length of the day for you and I and everyone on the Earth will have an extra second.”