Have you ever thought about time standing still. On the evening of June 30, time will literally stand still for one second because of Leap Second.
Leap second was added to the International Atomic Time clocks to help the Earth catch up from slowing down. Earth has started to slightly slow down at a non-uniform rate, possibly from the molten core, the rolling of the oceans, the melting of polar ice and the effects of solar and lunar gravity.
National Measurement Institute’s Bruce Warrington said, “Because the Earth is slowing down, time on the clock gets a little ahead of the time told by the sun, so we have to delay the clocks by adding an extra second. If we don’t make the correction, the sunrise and sunset times drift against the time on the clock. If you wait long enough, sunrise is at midnight.”
The decision for the Leap second practice started in 1972. It was made by the Paris-based International Earth Rotation Service when scientists decided to insert a leap second whenever the gap between atomic time and solar time adds up to a second.
On average, our planet has been falling behind atomic time at a rate of about two milliseconds per day. As a result, it now trails the atomic clocks by about six-tenths of a second.
The last time the world gained a second was in December 2008. Leap seconds occur at irregular intervals, but on average, they happen every 18 months. The longest gap between leap seconds was seven years.
When we go through Leap second on Saturday, June 30th, the master atomic clock at the United States Naval Observatory will be adjusted at 7:59:60 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, or 23:59:60 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). This will put Mother Earth about four-tenths of a second ahead of the clock, giving her a bit of a head start as we transition into the new month of July, according to Space.com
You can watch Leap Second 2012 by picking your time zone then watch June 30th last an extra second.