[time-nuts] Leap Second decision postponed

Tom Van Baak tvb at LeapSecond.com
Thu Jan 19 15:10:37 EST 2012


Some of you have been following the ten+ year debate about
leap seconds and UTC. Since 1972 leap seconds have been
used to keep civil or atomic time (UTC) close to astronomical
time (e.g., UT1). Adding an extra second to the UTC timescale
every couple of years allows the two to remain in close sync.
There have been a total of 24 leap seconds in the past 40 years.

The next leap second is scheduled for June 30 (for those of
you left of Greenwich, July 1 for those of you to the right).

Anyway, a proposal to eliminate leap seconds from UTC was
to be voted on at the ITU meeting in Geneva today. Some of
us were on the edge of our chairs waiting for the result. As
it turns out, instead of a decision, it has been postponed for
a few more years. So leap seconds are safe for now.

For newcomers to the list note that leap seconds, those rare
one second jumps in atomic time, are a poster child for the
world of precision timekeeping. You can blame them for why
both leapsecond.com and time-nuts exist.

And now back to our FEI rubidium's...

/tvb





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