As one of the items in my recent All sorts of *cool stuff* blog, I included a link to an MSNBC article that explains why this year will be one second longer than last year.
Well, Bill Schweber, the editor of www.PlanetAnalog.com just sent me a link to an interesting site that provides a nice update on this year's upcoming leap second, some of the many official time scales in use, and why...
There really is a wealth of interesting information on this site. For example, did you know that the Sub-bureau for Rapid Service and Predictions of Earth Orientation Parameters of the International Earth Rotation Service (IERS), located at the USNO, monitors the Earth's rotation?
Hmmm, how many people does this take, I wonder. I suddenly have this daft idea of a group of folks stood around a sundial with one holding a stopwatch and the others watching the dial saying: "Wait for it... wait for it... NOW!"
Have you heard the term International Atomic Time (TAI)? (As an aside, I bet you're wondering why the abbreviation for International Atomic Time is TAI rather than IAT; well, it comes from the French name Temps Atomique International.)
And do you know the difference between International Atomic Time (TAI) and Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)? How about Universal Time (UT), Ephemeris Time (ET), Terrestrial Dynamical Time (TDT), and Barycentric Dynamical Time (TDB)? And don't even get me started on relativistic time scales like Geocentric Coordinate Time (TCG) and Barycentric Coordinate Time (TCB).
Well, all I can say is that, by visiting the above site, I've learned a whole lot of stuff I never knew I didn't know... if you see what I mean.
Questions? Comments? Feel free to email me – Clive "Max" Maxfield – at firstname.lastname@example.org). And, of course, if you haven't already done so, don't forget to Sign Up