Leap second: June 30 to be longer than other days

June 30 gets to run long.

(Credit: Amanda Kooser/CNET)

Oh good, I can get one second more sleep the night of June 30. In an effort to keep our extremely accurate atomic clocks in line with the more arbitrary nature of the way the world wobbles, we’re getting a leap second this weekend.

Sure, it’s not as dramatic as what happens during a leap year, but it’s still exciting for clock aficionados, science geeks, and time lords. The leap second will be added to Coordinated Universal Time at the end of the day on June 30.

Our adorable little leap second comes at the command of the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service, an organization responsible for monitoring the Earth’s orientation and issuing leap seconds.

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The last leap second we got was way back at the end of 2008. To get a little bit more into the science of why our atomic clocks aren’t keeping perfect time with the Earth, we have to look at the tides.

Tides are causing a braking action on the Earth to the tune of 1.4 milliseconds per day per century, according to the Time Service Department of the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington D.C. That’s why we need to add a leap second on occasion to keep out atomic clocks in line.

For one brief, shining moment on June 30, the time will be 23:59:60. Savor it while you can.

(Via Laughing Squid)

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