Published On: Sat, Jun 27th, 2015

Leap Second: 30th June to be longer by 1 second

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Get ready for the “leap” second, which is an extra second added to a day. This time, the leap second will be added at the end of 30 June 2015, making it that much longer than other days. The sequence of time will read like this:
30 June 2015 23 hours-59 minutes-59 seconds 30 June 2015 23 hours-59 minutes-60 seconds 1 July 2015 00 hours-00 minutes-00 second. (normally, it goes straight from the first to the third time point).

Rory McEvoy, curator of horology at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, said: “The Earth’s speed of rotation has a tendency to slow – caused principally because of the relationship between Earth and the moon – but it can speed up. There is a possibility that a negative leap second could be added to UTC” – Coordinated Universal Time.

Earth’s speed of rotation is irregular makes leap second unpredictable

Leap seconds are irregularly spaced because the Earth’s rotation speed changes irregularly. Indeed, the Earth’s rotation is quite unpredictable in the long term, which explains why leap seconds are announced only six months in advance.From 1972, when leap seconds were first implemented, through 1999, leap seconds were added at a rate averaging close to one per year. Since then, leap seconds have become less frequent. This June’s leap second will be only the fourth to be added since 2000.

1 second…does it really matter?

For most of us 1 second hardly means a thing but in our planetary terms its colossal. It can wreck havoc with our communication satellites. A difference of 1 second can have disastrous consequences on the internet. The most recent was leap second was in 2012, when reports suggested it played havoc with the internet with websites including Reddit, Yelp, LinkedIn going down for a period of time.

There are fears the same could happen again, with financial institutions concerned about potential impact on stock markets are also wary of mishaps, particularly in Australia where the leap second will happen at 10am on July 1.

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