New Delhi: A leap second will be introduced to the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) to the world`s atomic clocks between 7.59.59 am and 8.00.00am (Hong Kong time) on July 1, 2012, as they undergo a rare adjustment to keep them in step with the slowing rotation of the earth.
In order to achieve the adjustment, the atomic clocks will read 23 hours, 59 minutes and 60 seconds before moving on to midnight Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). If no adjustments were made, the clocks would move further ahead and after many years the sun would set at midday. Leap seconds perform a similar function to the extra day in each leap year which keeps the calendar in sync with the seasons.
All global time services will stop for one second on the night of July 1 in order to compensate for the accumulated difference between astronomical time determined by Earth’s rotation, and atomic standard time, the International Earth Rotation Service says.
Notably, leap seconds have been introduced 25 times since the adoption of UTC in 1972. The last adjustment was made on January 1, 2009.
Leap seconds are announced every year on June 30th or December 31st so that the difference between astronomical solar time and UTC doesn’t exceed 0.9 seconds.