Rob Seaman seaman at noao.edu
Thu Nov 6 22:45:42 EST 2014

On Nov 6, 2014, at 8:04 PM, Alex Currant via LEAPSECS <leapsecs at leapsecond.com> wrote:

> The IAU has not taken a stand on this - if it were so simple then the disagreements that were expressed in the IAU deliberations would not have been sufficient to prevent a resolution.

This is not correct.  The IAU UTC working group did take a carefully negotiated stand on this.  All members of the working group contributed in a serious and professional manner, and I was honored to work with all of them, including those whose opinions differed from my own.  The final report from the IAU UTC working group is available online from the scrolling news banner at the top of the page:


From the executive summary:

"Consequently, the Working Group recommends that the IAU respond to the ITU-R by stating that the IAU is not in a position to formulate a conclusive opinion regarding any change in the definition of Coordinated Universal Time. Nevertheless, in the event of the deletion of future leap seconds the name of the scale should no longer reference the astronomical time scale “Universal Time” to avoid technical confusion, and a time interval of at least five years between adoption and implementation should be allowed."

This supports the consensus from the 2003 Torino colloquium.  Whether a large organization like the IAU or ITU responds efficiently to such a recommendation depends on many factors, but nothing about the report was "sufficient to prevent a resolution" or to prevent forwarding it to the ITU, and the report was delivered to the IAU Exec in a timely fashion.

Rob Seaman
National Optical Astronomy Observatory

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