Look Before You Leap Second

Long before smartwatches, cell phones, or even personal computers with self-updating clocks, part of my dad’s morning routine was to turn on his weather radio in the bathroom and set his watch to the atomic clock signal. He was still usually late picking me up on Saturday mornings, but damn if his watch wasn’t always on the money.


With that kind of attention to detail, bordering on obsessive, I was certain back in ’81 or ’82 that he was joking when he told me there would be a “leap second” that summer.

But here we go again:

The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems (IERS) announced an extra second will be added at the end of June to account for a discrepancy between Earth’s rotation and the atomic clock.

The extra second will be added as the clock strikes midnight universal time, meaning the extra second will come for people in the United States at 8 p.m. EDT.

Leap seconds can be added in June or December, according to IERS. There have been 25 instances since 1972 of an extra second being added.

Remember, we’re moving one second forward, so I don’t want anyone to be late on the first Saturday in July.


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