Scientists to hold back time for "leap second" this weekend
Horologists will be adding one "leap second" to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) this weekend to compensate for the very gradual and unpredictable slowing down of our planet.
Basically, there are two main standards for measuring time on earth: solar time, based on the rotation of the earth, and International Atomic Time, which relies on the pulsation of atoms to measure time with near-perfect accuracy.
Related Link: Interactive: What's the dollar value of a single second?
The earth takes just over 86,400 seconds for a full 360-degree revolution, but the gravitational pull of ocean tides, the sun and the moon all affect its rotation ever so slightly.
This has led to a creeping discrepancy between the two times, which the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS) decided to start fixing in 1971 with the introduction of leap seconds. A total of 24 leap seconds have been added to the clock since.
These leap seconds must be inserted every 1 to 2 years to avoid solar time and atomic time from spreading too far apart, according to the IERS.
However, due to an unusual temporary acceleration of the Earth, no leap seconds were needed between 1998 and 2005. The last leap second occurred at the end of December in 2008.
This weekend's leap second will effectively make the last minute of June 61 seconds, instead of the standard 60 - meaning that you have one extra second to enjoy this Canada Day long weekend.
This has us wondering about the impact of one second in the course of a person's life.
Have you ever experienced a fate-changing split second? Maybe the subway door slammed right in front of your nose, but positioned you to meet your future spouse.
Or perhaps you swerved just in time to dodge a car speeding in your direction. Please take a second to share your stories in the field below.
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