The planet Earth set a new record for the shortest day, as the planet completed a full rotation on June 29, 2022, in a time that was 1.59 milliseconds, a little more than a thousandth of a second, and shorter than its record 24 hour rotation.
What is a leap second?
It almost broke the barrier again this month, as the cycle on July 26 was 1.50 milliseconds shorter than 24 hours.
The newspaper saidThe IndependentRecently, the Earth’s speed has increased, and in 2020 the Earth experienced the shortest month ever measured since the 1960s, adding that it measured the shortest day ever recorded in that year: 1.47 milliseconds under 24 hours, on July 19.
She noted that in the following year, the Earth continued to rotate at an increasing rate overall, despite not breaking records.
She explained that the Earth’s rotation is slowing down. Every century, the Earth takes a few milliseconds more than usual to complete one revolution.
Scientists said the reasons for this are uncertain, but they speculate that it is related to processes in the inner or outer layers of the oceans, tides or even changes in climate.
If the Earth continues to rotate at an increasing rate, this could introduce a negative leap second, in order to keep the rate at which the Earth orbits the Sun consistent with the measurement from atomic clocks.
A negative leap second is a positive or negative one-second adjustment of the UTC time scale. A negative leap second can potentially create problems for IT systems.
This is because the clock will then jump from 23:59:59 to 23:59:60 before counting back to 00:00:00. Such time leads to software crashes, or data corruption due to timestamps on data storage.
Meta recently warned that adding a leap second is a risky move that does more harm than good, leap seconds can wreak havoc on the network.
In 2012, Reddit took 40 minutes to process a bug, after the time change overwhelmed its servers and shut down its CPUs. A leap second added in 2017 also affected Cloudflare’s DNS service.
To prevent this, Meta and other tech companies, such as Google and Amazon, use a technology called smirking, to slow or speed up the clock over a number of hours.
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Meta uses this technology over a 17-hour period, while Google uses the technology over a 24-hour period. Everyone is encouraged to do the same. This way, the leap second does not generate any strange timestamps that can cause networking to be disrupted.
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