December 31, 2008

Extra second added to 2008

A British research scientist said a leap second would be tacked on to the end of 2008 to correct for eccentricities in the Earth's rotation.

Peter Whibberley, a senior research scientist at Britain's National Physical Laboratory, said the world's official clock, the atomic Coordinated Universal Time, would recognize the extra second Wednesday night immediately before midnight, CNN reported.

The difference between atomic time and Earth time has now built up to the point where it needs to be corrected, so this New Year's Eve we will experience a rare 61-second minute at the very end of 2008 and revelers ... will have an extra second to celebrate, Whibberley said.

He said the move was needed to ensure atomic time lines up with the Earth's rotation, which does not move at a constant speed and can sometimes wobble.