Did you know that a second has been added to the official clocks so that it syncs with our calendar? It is called a leap second or leap second. However, this practice has its days numbered.
Why is there a leap second?
is similar to Leap year, leap seconds are there to compensate for the difference between sidereal time – based on the Earth’s rotation – and Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) – based on the atomic clock. When the difference exceeds 0.9 seconds, it is compensated for by this “extra” second.
In an interview with Live Science, Patricia Tavella, director of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM, in English), claims that the Earth’s rotation is slowing down. Thus, the planet accumulates a minute delay every century and an hour every 5,000 years. Therefore, the leap second was created.
However, this extra time has created some issues that could lead to technical difficulties. These failures can affect various sectors of society, including financial transactions, computer anomalies, and the performance of telescopes.
Tavella uses the aeronautical sector as an example, which relies heavily on the proper functioning of the watches. 🇧🇷Airlines They had problems with scheduled flights due to the time difference, ”he explains. According to her, there is a lack of synchronization, as computer companies use various techniques to add leap seconds.
For example, Google distributes the extra second over the 24 hours of the day around midnight (UTC). Meta, a company of Facebook and WhatsApp, uses another technology. However, the two are in favor of abolishing the second offset and agree that this could wreak havoc on the digital age.
When does the practice end?
The leap second is scheduled to close by 2035 and will not be used for at least a century. This was decided at the General Conference on Weights and Measures in France last Friday, November 18th. Governments around the world participated in this decision.
In this way, from the year 2035, sidereal time may differ from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). The prediction is that the two clocks will collide in at least one minute.
If you’re obsessed with always being on time (or you’re a Virgo) and you’re starting to worry about this information, don’t worry. Patricia Tavella stated that the average person probably won’t see any difference.
Furthermore, the proposal may not go forward. It will continue to be discussed with other international organizations. The final decision must be made by 2026.
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