[LEAPSECS] pick your own length of second

Rob Seaman seaman at noao.edu
Wed Jan 11 22:33:50 EST 2012

Maybe we should inaugurate a monthly feature similar to:


Something like "5, 10 & 15 years ago on LEAPSECS" :-)

At some point during the First Dynasty (http://www.ucolick.org/~sla/navyls/)* there was a thread that explored several variations of this. I thought the repetitively jump forward one month and jump backward the next was pretty good.


* To put that in perspective, the Sphinx is Fourth Dynasty. Tut was the 18th. Cleo, the 32nd. One might opine that whatever happens next week in Geneva this conversation is not nearing an end. If the current LEAPSECS is the Second Dynasty, then the timekeeping equivalent of the Step Pyramid of Djoser (Third Dynasty) remains in our future, as well as the perfected technology of the Great Pyramid of Khufu in the Fourth.

On Jan 11, 2012, at 7:32 PM, Dennis Ferguson wrote:

> On 12 Jan, 2012, at 05:33 , Tom Van Baak wrote:

>> Here's a plot that shows how a non leap second UTC would

>> look if the cesium resonance were other than 9,192,631,770.


>> http://www.leapsecond.com/pages/ut/ut-ani-v2.gif


>> In retrospect it's too bad |DUT1| had to be so tight. If Essen

>> and friends had made it 10 s we wouldn't need leap seconds

>> in a lifetime.


> I'm not sure that would be better, though, since I think the

> problem that makes leap seconds hard is their rarity. You

> can write and test code to handle leap seconds now, but you

> might have to wait three or four years to see how that works

> out in real life.


> If we had a leap second every other week we'd have gotten so

> much real life practice that depending on the code and procedures

> to handle the leap wouldn't seem so scary. Frequent leaps

> probably wouldn't help the "let's disseminate a timescale that

> precision time services will actually use" problem, but might

> help a lot with the "leap seconds break my system's software"

> problem.


> Dennis Ferguson

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