THE LEAP SECOND  

When should we introduce Leap second in UTC ?
On 30 June 2012, the last minute of the day has lasted 61 seconds. Why ?

leap second : see last last Bulletin C

[ TAI - UTC ] [ Offsets of UTC]
[Bulletin C] [UTC]

The Coordinated Universal Time (UTC, replacing GMT) is the reference time scale derived from The Temps Atomique International (TAI) calculated by the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM) using a worldwide network of atomic clocks. UTC differs from TAI by an integer number of seconds; it is the basis of all activities in the world. UT1 is the time scale based on the observation of the Earth's rotation. It is now derived from Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI). The various irregular fluctuations progressively detected in the rotation rate of the Earth lead in 1972 to the replacement of UT1 as the reference time scale . However, it was desired by the scientific community to maintain the difference UT1-UTC smaller than 0.9 second to ensure agreement between the physical and astronomical time scales.

Since the adoption of this system in 1972, firstly due to the initial choice of the value of the second (1/86400 mean solar day of the year 1820) and secondly to the general slowing down of the Earth's rotation, it has been necessary to add 25 s to UTC. The last additional second has been introduced on 1 July 2012, at 0hUTC.

The decision to introduce a leap second in UTC is the responsibility of the Earth Orientation Center of the International Earth Rotation and reference System Service (IERS). This center is located at paris observatory. According to international agreements, first preference is given to the opportunities at the end of December and June, and second preference to those at the end of March and September. Since the system was introduced in 1972, only dates in June and December have been used.

The leap second is announced in Bulletin C.