[LEAPSECS] Possible outcomes ?

Rob Seaman seaman at noao.edu
Tue Aug 13 19:59:07 EDT 2013

On Aug 13, 2013, at 3:05 PM, Poul-Henning Kamp <phk at phk.freebsd.dk> wrote:

> There are only two realistically possible outcomes:

Interesting that you fail to mention other outcomes such as the consensus from the 2003 Torino meeting of calling a leap-less timescale something other than UTC. Among other things this would leave UTC for backwards compatibility.

> Leap seconds go, and nothing much happens, apart from a

> handful of astronomers needing dental repairs,

This assertion is and always has been completely unsupported, and remains broadly untested. Where it has been tested it has been found false:


Note also that the proceedings of the 2011 Exton meeting (http://www.univelt.com/book=3042), and soon the 2013 Charlottesville meeting, were published by the American Astronautical Society, not by the astronomy community.

And for another thing, leap seconds can't just "go". The long-term quadratic trend that was described in the 1999 McCarthy and Klepczynski article (http://gauss.gge.unb.ca/papers.pdf/gpsworld.november99.pdf) guarantees that we'll have to deal with the embargoed leap seconds at some point.

> or leap second stays until they create

> enough havoc to be removed anyway (max 2 centuries)

It is significant that even you are saying we have 200 years to sort this out. Simple prudence suggests testing assertions from the several parties *before* making changes.


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