posted on Dec, 31 2005 @ 09:15 AM
That's right folks, the New Year is postponed - by one second. An extra second will be inserted in universal coordinated time at 6:59:59 EST today.
This is being done to bring atomic time into balance with the gradual slowing of the Earth's rotation.
2006 Postponed by One (Leap) Second
For those of you counting the seconds until 2006, add one.
The world's top timekeepers will insert an extra second—or leap second—just before midnight in coordinated universal time (UTC) on New Year's
Eve. (That's the same as 6:59:59 p.m. eastern time on December 31.) UTC is determined by atomic clocks and is five hours ahead of eastern time.
Earth's rotation is ever so slightly slowing down, but atomic clocks remain unwaveringly consistent. The extra second will allow Earth to stay in
sync with the ultraprecise clocks, which mark time based on the vibration of atoms.
The planet's slowing is mostly due to the friction of tides raised by the gravitational pull of the sun and the moon. In fact, a day is now about
two-thousandths of a second longer than it was a couple centuries ago, scientists say.
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
How is the disparity between the earth's rotation and the atomic clock calculated? The article didn't say. It did say that the Earth's rotation
will eventually start to slow drastically as tidal forces influence rotational velocity. Twenty-three seconds have been added since 1972, and this is
the first adjustment since 1998.
Could last year's tsunami be partly responsible? I've heard that strong El Nino currents can actually slow the Earth's rotation, as well.
I find all of this somewhat disturbing. We need to keep spinning, don't we?
[edit on 31-12-2005 by Icarus Rising]