Wait a Second! Scientists Consider Ending Practice of Adding ‘Leap Seconds’
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By Suzanne Monaghan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Every so often at irregular intervals, an additional second is tacked on to the world’s clocks to keep atomic clocks synchronized with the rotation of the Earth.
Today, timekeepers in Geneva, Switzerland met to consider getting rid of the 40-year-old practice.
But for now, the leap second has been given a little extra time: scientists decided to hold off until 2015 on making a decision.
That gives them three years — and probably a couple of extra seconds — to weigh the options.
But is the “leap second” a waste of time?
“If we were to eliminate the addition of leap seconds, the problem is, how do we keep all of those devices that are now so incredibly dependent on an accurate time? How do we keep all that stuff in sync?” says Derrick Pitts, chief astronomer at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.
Critics say the leap second’s time has run out. They argue that the adjustment is costly and can cause malfunctions in electronics.
So, we’ll just have to bide our time and see what happens.