Saturday, June 30, 2012

Leap Second: Today is the Longest Day of the Year

Due to the gradual slowdown in Earth's rotation, a team at the Paris Observatory is adding a "leap second" just before midnight. Experts at the International Earth Rotation and Reference System Service make the adjustment when the planet's movement falls out of sync with atomic clocks used to measure time.

 "Today, time is constructed defined and measured with atomic clocks" said Noel Dimarcq, director of the SYRTE time-space reference system at the Paris Observatory. "This allows us to ensure that everyone on Earth is on the exact same time," Daily Mail quoted Dimarcq as saying. 

Today's final minute (Greenwich Time), with its added second, will compensate for the sloshing of oceanic tides on the continental shelves, which slows Earth's rotation ever so slightly. It's been four years since a leap second has been added.

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