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Who knew?

December 8, 2008

clock

On Dec. 31 this year, your day will be just a second longer.

Like the more well-known time adjustment, the leap year, a “leap second” is tacked on to clocks every so often to keep them correct.

Earth’s trip around the sun – our year with all its seasons – is about 365.2422 days long, which we round to 365 to keep things simpler. But every four years, we add 0.2422 x 4 days (that’s about one day) at the end of the month of February (extending it from 28 to 29 days) to fix the calendar.

Likewise, a “leap second” is added on to our clocks every so often to keep them in synch with the somewhat unpredictable nature of our planet’s rotation, the roughly 24-hour whirl that brings the sun into the sky each morning.

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