One more second of life in
By NED ROZELL
December 11, 2008
You'll experience one more second of life in 2008. On December
31, 2008, at 2:59:29 Alaska Standard Time, the U.S. Naval Observatory
will add a "leap second" to the world's clocks by inserting
it at the U.S. Naval Observatory's Master Clock Facility in Washington,
D.C. The leap second will show up on the Internet and on your
GPS, as a change in Coordinated Universal Time.
People at the Naval Observatory
have the responsibility of adjusting the nation's official atomic
clocks, devices that keep time using an oscillation between a
nucleus of an atom and surrounding electrons.
The rotation of the Earth is
slowing down ever so slightly, due to the moon's gravitational
pull on Earth's oceans; that "tidal braking" requires
the insertion of a leap second every few years.
What will you do with that
This column is provided
as a public service by the Geophysical Institute, University
of Alaska Fairbanks, in cooperation with the UAF research community.
Ned Rozell [email@example.com]
is a science writer at the institute.
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