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"Leap second" to be added to world's clocks on December 31.

Byline: ANI

Washington, Dec 9 (ANI): The U.S. Naval Observatory is going to add a "leap second" to the world's clocks at 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds Coordinated Universal Time See UTC.

(time, standard) Coordinated Universal Time - (UTC, World Time) The standard time common to every place in the world. UTC is derived from International Atomic Time (TAI) by the addition of a whole number of "leap seconds" to synchronise it with Universal Time 1
 (UTC (Coordinated Universal Time, Temps Universel Coordonné) The international time standard (formerly Greenwich Mean Time, or GMT). Zero hours UTC is midnight in Greenwich, England, which is located at 0 degrees longitude. ) on December 31, 2008.

This corresponds to 6:59:59 pm Eastern Standard Time, when the extra second will be inserted at the U.S. Naval Observatory's Master Clock Facility in Washington, DC.

This marks the 24th leap second to be added to UTC, a uniform time-scale kept by atomic clocks around the world, since 1972.

Historically, time was based on the mean rotation of the earth relative to celestial bodies and the second was defined in this reference frame.

However, the invention of atomic clocks defined a much more precise "atomic time" scale and a second that is independent of the earth's rotation.

In 1970, an international agreement established two timescales: one based on the rotation of the earth and one based on atomic time.

The problem is that the earth's rotation is very gradually slowing down, which necessitates the periodic insertion of a "leap second" into the atomic timescale to keep the two within 1 second of each other.

The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service
"IERS" redirects here: for other uses, see IERS (disambiguation)


The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service is the body responsible for maintaining global time and reference frame standards, notably through its Earth
 (IERS IERS International Earth Rotation Service (now International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service)
IERS International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (formerly International Earth Rotation Service) 
) is the organization that monitors the difference in the two timescales and calls for leap seconds to be inserted or removed when necessary.

Since 1972, leap seconds have been added at intervals varying from six months to seven years, with the last being inserted on December 31, 2005.

The U.S. Naval Observatory is charged with the responsibility for the precise determination and dissemination of time for the Department of Defense and maintains its Master Clock.

The U.S. Naval Observatory, together with the National Institute of Standards and Technology National Institute of Standards and Technology, governmental agency within the U.S. Dept. of Commerce with the mission of "working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements, and standards" in the national interest.  (NIST (National Institute of Standards & Technology, Washington, DC, www.nist.gov) The standards-defining agency of the U.S. government, formerly the National Bureau of Standards. It is one of three agencies that fall under the Technology Administration (www.technology. ), determines time for the United States. (ANI)

Copyright 2008 Asian News International The Asian News International (ANI) agency provides multimedia news to China and 50 bureaus in India. It covers virtually all of South Asia since its foundation and presently claims, on its official website, to be the leading South Asia-wide news agency.  (ANI) - All Rights Reserved.

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Publication:Asian News International
Date:Dec 9, 2008
Words:319
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