The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: DiscussWhat is a leap second?  (Read 913 times)

Offline thedoc

  • Forum Admin
  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 502
  • Thanked: 11 times
    • View Profile
DiscussWhat is a leap second?
« on: 30/06/2015 11:40:27 »
Rejoice because at midnight tonight, a second will be added to clocks across the world. Seeing as you now have all of this extra time, here's Tom Crawford with everything you need to know about the leap second...
Listen to this Show


If you want to discuss this show, or ask a question, this is the place to do it.
« Last Edit: 30/06/2015 11:40:27 by _system »


Offline blind Pete

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
leap seconds
« Reply #1 on: 06/07/2015 10:27:05 »
There is room for compromise.  Different people have to do different things.  The length of a second must remain constant for engineers and scientists.  (Experts in relativity might refer to that as the "Earth second".)  Astronomers need to keep track of planetary wobbles and will use leap seconds - even if they do not call them that.  Programmers desperately want something predictable.  Such a scheme already exists!  It is TAI (whatever the French for International Atomic Time is).  The problem is that some programmers used UTC (Universal Time Co-ordinate) thinking that it had superseded TAI, when they should have used TAI.  That is a programming bug.  A HUGE programming bug, and should be treated as such.  The net needs "number of seconds since the beginning of time".  Unfortunately there is a massive amount of mis-labeled data.  Possibly people could move to GPS time, which is TAI plus a fixed offset.  It has the advantage that anybody can access it anywhere anytime (and it does not have leap seconds).  Official time should be "number of seconds" which is displayed as GPS, UTC or some other time zone, depending on who is asking.

The Naked Scientists Forum

leap seconds
« Reply #1 on: 06/07/2015 10:27:05 »


SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums