Are you ready for a long weekend? Thanks to a leap second, this weekend will be extended by an entire second.
On Saturday night, time will freeze for an extra second at midnight to allow the earth and the atomic clocks to realign.
According to Cnews, a “leap second” is added every once in a while just like a “leap day” in order to make sure planetary time and atomic time continue to line up.
“If no adjustments were made, the clocks would move further ahead and after many years the sun would set at midday. Leap seconds perform a similar function to the extra day in each leap year which keeps the calendar in sync with the seasons.”
Space.com reports that International Atomic Time is based on 200 atomic clocks around the world. The atomic clocks can keep time within a tenth of a billionth of a second per day. But occasionally, the earth steps out of time and a leap second must be added to the clocks.
According to space.com, the earth’s rotation is slowing down very slightly, due to earthquakes, melted ice caps, etc… and the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS) based in Paris, has decided that it is necessary to add a leap second.
Daniel Gambis, head of the Earth Orientation Centre of the IERS, said: “We want to have both times close together and it’s not possible to adjust the earth’s rotation.”
Space.com reports that the earth has been falling behind the atomic space clocks at about two milliseconds per day. Currently, the earth is off by about six tenths of a second. That means when the leap second is added, the earth will be 4 tenths of a second ahead of the Atomic clocks.
What are you going to do with your extra second this weekend?
Want to know more about leap seconds? Here are a few videos about how our clocks stay in rhythm with the world.