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Monday, January 02, 2006

Leap Second At The End of 2005

Because of the discrepency between an ephemeris second (the fraction 1/31,556,925.9747 of the tropical year for 1900 January 0 at 12 hours ephemeris time) and the second of atomic time (the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the cesium 133 atom), we're left with more than leap years. In order to ensure that the the atomic time and civil stay coordinated, "Civil time is occasionally adjusted by one second increments to ensure that the difference between a uniform time scale defined by atomic clocks does not differ from the Earth's rotational time by more than 0.9 seconds."

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