December 4, 2022

Taylor Daily Press

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The Earth now weighs 6 rontograms, and the 1 rontogram electron and leap second disappear

The Earth now weighs 6 rontograms, and the 1 rontogram electron and leap second disappear

Leap seconds were introduced in 1972 to align our two time systems: atomic time or Coordinated Universal Time, which is calculated from approximately 400 highly accurate atomic hours, and sidereal time UT1 (UTC 1) which is calculated from the time it takes for the Earth to rotate on its axis .

However, sidereal time varies: the speed of Earth’s rotation is slowed by the tidal motion of the moon and sun, although other factors also play a role.

Since 1972, 27 leap seconds have been added to Coordinated Universal Time to coincide with the first UTC. This is done to keep the difference between the two systems under 0.9 seconds.

However, there is no regularity in the system and the introduction of a leap second “is declared less than six months in advance, making it impossible to program it into computer systems, clocks and other time-dependent instruments,” according to Britain. National Physical Laboratory.

And that can cause problems for such systems, including satellite navigation systems, and for synchronization between different computers, as shown by the recent entry of a leap second in 2016. There are more and more of these systems and pressure from the industry, under more From giants like Google and Meta, getting rid of the leap second is getting bigger and bigger.

In addition, some operators of computer systems and navigation systems, such as the American GPS and the Russian GLONASS, use methods of inserting a leap second that do not meet the agreed standards, according to the resolution adopted. This confusion threatens the resilience of critical infrastructures, according to the decision.

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This is all true now, as recent observations have shown that the Earth’s rotation speed has recently accelerated slightly. This raises the specter of a negative leap second, where a second is not added to UTC, but a second is skipped. This has never happened before, which of course adds to the uncertainty.