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New Year's Day to be a second late

New Year's Day to be a second late

Scientists are delaying the start of 2006 by the first "leap second" in seven years, a timing tweak used to synchronize precise atomic clocks with the more variable rotation of the Earth.Reuters.

Although the Earth's rotation with respect to the sun has been used since ancient times to know the time of day, it is not like clockwork, and can speed up or slow down by a few thousandths of a second a day.

“We would get out of sync with the sun,��? says Richard Langley, a University of New Brunswick researcher who is an expert in the complex and bureaucratic science of timekeeping.

“In about 600 years, the difference will be half an hour and in about 1,000 years, the difference will be a full hour,��? Dr. Langley said in an interview.

Some suggest that this time differential need not be maintained at all. "One can perhaps consider it when the difference reaches that of one hour. This means 3600 seconds. And taking an average addition of +/-1 second per year, it means approximately 3600 years. Which is equivalent to several human lifetimes," the scientists say. More importantly, it can create problems with modern communication systems and other electronic operations, which rely on synchronicity.

The adjustment will be carried out by sticking an extra second into atomic clocks worldwide at the stroke of midnight Coordinated Universal Time, the widely adopted international standard, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology said this week.

"Enjoy New Year's Eve a second longer," the institute said in an explanatory notice. "You can toot your horn an extra second this year."













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