The time has come — or will come, in 2035 — to abandon the leap second.
At a Versailles, France meeting on Friday, the members of the international treaty governing science & measurement standards voted in favor. The Nearly unanimous vote on Resolution D was met by relief and jubilation from the world’s metrologists, some of whom have been pressing for a solution to the leap second problem for decades.
“Unbelievable,” Patrizia Tavella is director of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures time department. She is also known as B.I.P.M. from Shortly after the vote, it sent a WhatsApp text message naming itself in French and based outside Paris. “More than 20 years of discussion and now a great agreement.” She said that she was “moved to tears.”
The The United States was a strong supporter of the resolution. “It feels like a historic day,” Elizabeth Donley is the chief of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s frequency and time division in Boulder, Colo. “And I wish I was there. There’s probably a lot of celebrating being done in style.”
The Since its conception 50 years ago leap second has been troubled. It was created to align the international nuclear time scale. This is a method that has been in use since 1967. from The vibration of cesium atoms. Earth rotates slightly slower. Earth can catch up if atomic clock is one second ahead. In 1972, the atomic scale was revealed. Ten leap seconds were added. Since 1972, 27 more leap seconds were added.
In 1972, it was difficult to insert those extra seconds; today the technical challenges are more complex. For one, it’s hard to predict exactly when the next leap second will be needed, so computing networks cannot prepare for orderly, regular insertions. Different networks have devised their own methods for incorporating the extra second.
Global computing systems are increasingly interconnected and reliant upon hyper-precise timing. This can sometimes be to the billionth second. The risk of these systems, responsible for energy transmission, telecommunication networks and financial transactions, failing to synchronize or crash, is increased by adding an extra second.
As a result, unofficial time systems have slowly begun to displace the world’s official international time, Coordinated Universal Time, or U.T.C. To preserve U.T.C., eliminating the leap second can be done. It should be continuous and not episodically interrupted.
“The most important issue is the preservation of the concept that time is an international quantity,” Judah Levine (physicist at NIST) said this. He called it the Versailles decision “an incredible step forward.”
Russia voted against this resolution. Belarus abstained. Russia has been trying to delay the end of the leap second since its GLONASS global navigal satellite system, unlike other systems, such as GPS, operated by the United States, incorporates extra seconds. With Russia’s concerns in mind, the leap second is not scheduled to be dropped until 2035, although it could happen sooner.
Resolution D requires U.T.C. to continue unabated by leap seconds from 2035 to 2135. Metrologists are expected to find out how to combine the atomic/astronomical timescales with less headaches. The International time standards would be rescinded from The heavens tell time for generations to come.
Rev. emphasized that the only way to join these time periods was by joining them. Pavel Gabor, an astrophysicist, is the vice director at the Vatican Observatory Research Group in Tucson (Ariz.). He explained that atomic timekeeping was one example of how the world was becoming difficult to understand, and that scientists had an obligation to help people feel in charge of their lives.
“I think sensitivity to this mistrust of elites, mistrust of experts, mistrust of science and institutions, that’s something that’s a very real problem in today’s world,” He said. “And let’s not contribute to it.”
There are still steps to be taken in order to eliminate the leap second. B.I.P.M. While B.I.P.M. The I.T.U.’s World Radiocommunication Conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, will also vote on the issue next year. Felicitas Arias is the former director of B.I.P.M.’s time department. Felicitas Arias, the former director of the time department at B.I.P.M., is now a visiting Astronomer at Paris Observatory. She said that she was convinced by the I.T.U. after negotiations between the two organisations. The Versailles vote will be supported.
“Now we see really closer the moment to have continuous time,” She said this, while applauding Friday’s vote. “And this is something we have been dreaming about for a long, long time.”