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The last minute of June 30, 2015 will have 61 seconds

Scientists have ruled that the year 2015 will be one second longer to compensate for the slowing of the rotation of the Earth.

But it is feared that this ‘leap second’ added at midday on June 30 could trigger devastating crashes across the internet.

The extra second is needed because the Earth’s rotation is gradually slowing down by around two thousandths of a second per day and needs to catch up with atomic time.

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The Paris Observatory says 30 June 2015 will be a second longer. An extra second will be added at 11:59:60pm UTC to sync up clocks (stock image shown). This is to account for discrepancy between Earth time and atomic time. It is the 26th leap second to be added since 1972

 

The extra unit will be added at 11:59:60pm UTC on 30 June, bringing the total number of seconds for 2015 up to 31,536,001.

In it is the 26th time in history since 1972 that a leap second will have been added. 

The decision to add an extra second year was announced by the Paris Observatory and the International Earth Rotation Service (IERS).

eap seconds are occasionally used to help ‘Earth time’ catch up to ‘atomic time’. The latter is constant but the former is slower by about two thousands of a second per day.

WHY IS EARTH’S ROTATION SLOWING?

Of the daily sum of 86,400 seconds measured by atomic clocks, Earth rotates about 0.002 seconds slower.

This is due to the discrepancy between atomic time and the mathematically calculated time of Earth’s date.

However, Earth’s rotation is also getting slower, on the order of a millisecond or so every century.

 

It’s thought that, four billion years ago, a day on the planet lasted just 22 hours.

This is mostly due to the tidal pull from the moon, which is very slightly slowing the rotation of Earth.

To keep them in sync, it is necessary to occasionally jump Earth’s time back – for mathematical reasons similar to adding leap years.


 

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