Leap Second Time Adjustment Day:
Observed either on the 30th of June or on the 31st of December, the leap second time adjustment day is when a second is added to the UTC (Coordinated Universal Time).
Why Leap Second Time Adjustment Day?
As you would be aware, our time is calculated on a 24-hour basis every day with every hour having 60 minutes and every minute comprising of 60 seconds. While this is the general practice, this does not correlate to the actual and precise time in relation to the Earth’s rotation.
The Leap seconds are added on the midnight of either 30th of June or 31st of December and it is announced only six months prior on whether there will be an adjustment. Not many of us know that the earth’s speed of rotation is not regular as we expect it to be. Sometimes it is slower than other days and at times it is faster. While the speed is very negligible, the same can impact over a longer period of time into the future, especially for our timekeepers. This is why there is a need to adjust to the time of the day based on the difference between the atomic clock and the solar timing at regular intervals. Leap seconds are therefore of imminence in keeping the right time and that is also the reason why we have the Leap Second Time Adjustment Day observed.
How Can We Observe Leap Second Time Adjustment Day:
If you are looking for ways to make the leap second adjustment day a memorable day, then you can do some of the following things on this day.
- Given the amount of physics and mathematics involved, especially with time, you can watch movies that are related to time like Quantum Leap.
- And as we speak of the leap, you can play games that involve actually leaping like a leap frog game with your friends and family.
- There are many different leap quotes and leap-related poems that you will find online. You can discuss them with your friends and enjoy what the leaps bring to your life.
- If you are looking for a serious mode of celebration you can also learn more about the leap second, the earth rotation, how the same is calculated, and more.
No matter how or what you want to do on the Leap Second time adjustment day, do share your experiences online with a tag of #LeapSecondTimeAdjustmentDay.
Interesting Facts About Leap Second Time Adjustment Day:
On this Leap Second Time Adjustment day, let us get to know more about time as we know it.
- Sun has been the core in calculating time from time immemorial.
- The gravitational tug of war between Earth with sun and moon drags down the earth rotational time which results in a stretch of the solar day by 2 milliseconds every day.
- It was in the year 1967 when the second became a constant presence in the calculation of time.
- From the year 1972, scientists have added 26 seconds to our time so far to improve the precision of the timekeeping.
- Even seismic shocks, in other words, earthquakes can delay or lengthen the solar day by milliseconds when they occur.
- Leap seconds have so far only been added and never subtracted to adjust the precision of time.
- Leap seconds while scientifically correct can have a huge impact on technological applications. Reddit and Yelp were a few popular websites that suffered consequences owing to leap second.
History of Leap Second Time Adjustment Day:
While there is no specific celebration hosted on the Leap second time adjustment Day we do have some information about the history of leap seconds. It was in the year 1972 when the practice of adding a leap second to the UTC came into force. However, the historical records point out to mankind being aware of the difference in the imprecise solar time and precise atomic clock timings. There are records of Ptolemy in 140 CE who had made divisions of time based on the actual and mean solar day. There have been several definitions and derivations arrived since then and yet the official correction of UTC happened for the first time in 1972. While this adjustment is not done every year, there is also a current discussion on whether this process should be continued going forward.