By – Saad Khan
The world will not only be getting a leap day this year, we will have a leap second too.
The world is about to get a well-earned long weekend but don’t make big plans because it will only last an extra second.
The arbiters of time at the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERRSS) have announced they will be introducing a leap second on June 30th in order to keep up with the Earth’s rotation.
What’s a leap second?
Back in the ‘50s, atomic clocks were introduced to measure the Earth’s rotation. Atomic clocks are pretty precise and are powered to oscillate exactly 9,192,631,770 times a second.
As the Earth spins on its axis, slight deviations mean that some days end up being longer than others. Atomic clocks don’t precisely match actual Earth time because the globe’s orbit tends to be irregular.
A few years from now we’d find ourselves seconds out of kilter. In a few hundred years we’d be a minute out, and after several hundred thousand years, humans would find themselves eating lunch at midnight.
As the clock strikes midnight on June 30, it will take two seconds to transition into July instead of one — delaying Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) by a second.
It is unlikely most of us will even notice the difference, but people whose livelihoods depend on clockwork precision — pilots, airlines and air traffic controllers — are not going to have an easy time keeping everything in sync.
So Pakistanis should make the most out of this extra-second on Saturday night.