[LEAPSECS] New Year in Times Square
Jonathan E. Hardis
jhardis at tcs.wap.org
Sat Jan 1 14:16:24 EST 2011
On Jan 1, 2011, at 9:52 AM, Daniel R. Tobias wrote:
> The network techies, however, do need to concern themselves with
> being precisely synced to whatever time standard the Times Square
> people use; it would be embarrassing if the ball dropped a second
> early or late compared to their countdown. This means that if there
> was a leap second at UTC midnight (a few hours before New York
> midnight), they'd better all be on the same page with regard to
> applying it (or not).
It doesn't quite work that way. A data point, on how one of the most
technically adept broadcasters in the U.S. deals with leap seconds:
> From: Brew <brew at themode.com>
> Date: December 31, 2008 10:38:24 PM EST
> To: "Broadcasters' Mailing List" <broadcast at radiolists.net>
> Subject: [BC] Re: Leap Year
> Here at CBS-TV in NY the whole network is currently one second early -
> at least since the leap second occurred at 18:59:59 EST. The network
> runs on a Cesium time standard and once a day, at just a little past 2
> AM the correct time is jammed into the time code generator.
> We'll throw in the extra second then.
> I think the time code will correct by itself with the jam, but the
> Favag stepping clocks have to miss one pulse to make them correct.
> The pulse is dropped manually, but if they are unlucky they'll time it
> wrong and drop two pulses, so then they'll have to double step ahead
> and try to sync up again by stopping the clock altogether and counting
> down until starting them again.
> And since the clock pulses are positive one second, then negative the
> There are two people coming in on OT for this! But I'll be gone by
> then.......... at the stoke of midnight I'll be sleeping on the train
> on the way home.
> I wonder if the ball in Times Square will drop one second early.
> Maybe they'll pretend that the leap second happens at midnight EST and
> "stop the clock' for one second just before the ball hits bottom.
> I was watching the NIST clock at http://time.gov to see if it showed
> 18:59:60, but I was interrupted by another problem and missed it.
> Drat, now I have to wait another few years until the next leap second
> is needed.
> brew Bruce Schiller at CBS-TV NY Master Control Maintenance and
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