Earth’s time lords have decided to add a leap second to time to reflect the general slowing of the Earth’s rotation around the sun.
There have been concerns that the step could affect computer systems across the world, but experts say the move is necessary because our time would eventually go out of sync with solar time.
In other words, the clock might say it is the middle of the day but it would be night time. And while it would take hundreds of years for this to happen, keeping to as precise a time as possible is essential to astronomers and celestial navigators.
Peter Whibberley, senior research scientist in the time & frequency group at the UK’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL), said: “There are consequences of tinkering with time.
“Because leap seconds are only introduced sporadically it is difficult to implement them in computers and mistakes can cause systems to fail temporarily.
“However, we have always taken the Earth’s rotation as the ultimate reference for timekeeping, and astronomers and navigators still make use of it. We shouldn’t break the link without carefully weighing the consequences.”
The time will be added to the official time kept by atomic clocks.
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