Have you ever wished you had just a little more time? Well, you should have been more specific!

Everyone knows about leap years. Once every four years, an extra day is added to the end of February so that the calendar year synchronizes with the astronomical or seasonal year. But, have you ever heard of a leap second?

A leap second occurs when an extra second added to astronomical time is necessary to keep in line with the universal atomic clock. Astronomical time was the universal standard until the atomic clock came into use in 1958. Then, it was discovered that irregularities in the earth’s rotation meant the two standards of time were out of sync.

▼ Nobody’s perfect. Not even the Earth.


Leap seconds have been used sparingly since 1972. The latest one was about one and a half years ago on July 1st, 2015. The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS) in France makes the final call, and the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NITS) in Japan complies.

It has been determined that the next leap second will take place on December 31st, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. Accounting for the time difference, it will take place in Japan on January 1st, 2017.

▼ That means a whole extra second of fireworks!


That also gives you another second to eat Yoshinoya, study Japanese, wait for the train, or play Pokémon GO. Use it wisely!

References: Wikipedia (Leap Year), IERS
Featured images: Wikimedia Commons/Postelwijn
Images: Wikimedia Commons/NASA, Wikimedia Commons/Ondrejk
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