2005 will be a bit longer this year
For the first time since 1998, the year will be about one second longer, as scientists agreed to add a leap second to the year.
Among other things, this means you start the 10-second countdown to midnight at 11:59:51 pm.
The once-common “leap second” is the first in seven years and reflects the unpredictable nature of the planet’s behavior.
The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service in Paris keeps track of time by measuring the Earth’s rotation, which varies, and by an atomic clock, which is unwavering. When a difference in the two clocks shows up, the IERS adds or subtracts a second to the year.
For the first time since 1998, the IERS will sneak in an extra second this year to get time back in synch, officials said in a statement Monday.
On Dec. 31, the clock will read like this as it leads into Jan. 1, 2006:
23h 59m 59s … 23h 59m 60s … 00h 00m 00s. Normally, the seconds would roll from 59 directly to 00. — Live Science
Since 1972, when the technology had advanced sufficiently to keep accurate time, scientists have added 22 leap seconds. This weekend’s will be the 23rd.
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