We’ve all heard of the Leap Year, with it’s tricky extra day in February that so confused poor Frederic in Pirates of Penzance. But did you know that there’s such a thing as a Leap Second? Or that it’s happening today?
I know what you’re thinking. Whoa. She broke out the coloured fonts–she definitely means business. And I do. Leap seconds are awesome. Check out this explanation of the Leap Second phenomenon from the Winnipeg Free Press:
PARIS — Scientists say today will stretch a second longer than any other day this year.
A team at the Paris Observatory is adding a “leap second” just before midnight to make up for a gradual slowdown in the Earth’s rotation.
Experts at the International Earth Rotation and Reference System Service make the adjustment when the planet’s movement falls out of sync with atomic clocks that measure time.
U.S. Naval Observatory spokesman Geoff Chester said a leap second is needed because the Earth is slowing down a bit from the tidal pull of the moon.
A second can be added or removed as needed every six months, but it typically happens only every 1 1/2 years.
This week’s change comes after nearly four years without a leap second — the last one was at the end of December 2008.
So how about it? We get one extra, super-special-awesome second today! What will you do with your Leap Second? I was originally going to leap in the air, in an homage to the “Leap” in Leap Second, but then I remembered that I don’t really like jumping. Also, the Leap Second happens right before midnight, and I’m usually asleep by then.
Still, Leap Second! Woot!