'Leap Second' Explained; How Will This Affect People In 2017?

By Maria Follet - 03 Jan '17 05:20AM
  • Brave Bathers Take Icy Plunge on New Year's Day in New York
  • (Photo : Yana Paskova / Getty Images) There's a "leap second" in year 2016; Did everyone notice it?

People around the world are already used to countdowns before New Year. Even at homes, families gather and started to count from ten, slowly and loudly, as excitement rises before reaching to one. However, to some who are unaware, there was an extra second of time this year.

Perhaps most of the people were wrong with counting during that time. Many will surely wonder why there is a need to add just a second if time felt by everyone seems to be normal. But, unknown to many, a second needs to be added in order to maintain a smooth flow and to ensure the accuracy of time shared by people around the world.

Such activity is known as leap second. For people, it may be just one second so no big deal. However, that leap second plays a very crucial role. The reason a leap second is added sometimes is to be sure that the people's time (or sometimes called as civil time) will still be in level with the Earth time (our planet's rotation on its axis).

So this year, instead of reaching exactly at 12 M.N., the time was recorded and turned out to be 11:59:60. It may sound weird but there's a valid reason for the addition of a leap second in this New Year's countdown.

There are now two types of time people use in their everyday lives - Astronomical Time and the Atomic Time. The Astronomical time (Earth time) is the time when the Earth's moves through its axis. The Atomic time is time used in atomic clocks, which is said to be one of the most accurate time in the world.

When the international time community detects a 0.9-second difference between the said times, they usually add one second. Most people don't understand how important it is for them. They didn't even know that people from the computer network industry will have a big deal on it. Like Google and other search engines available, they really become stressed as a leap second will be added because it will affect their system like updating the time over and over again.

 

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