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What are leap seconds? The atomic time and its relation to astronomical time scales

Date Do, 01.03.2012 - Do, 01.03.2012
Time 10.15
Speaker Prof. André Stefanov, Quantum Optics Lab, Institute of Applied Physics, University of Bern
Location Universität Bern, Institut für Angewandte Physik, Gebäude exakte Wissenschaften, Hörsaal B116, Sidlerstrasse 5, 3012 Bern
Program After a short history of the astronomical time scales used through the Ages, we will describe the actual realisation of the Coordinated Universal Time UTC, computed from an ensemble of atomic clocks. UTC is a post-processed paper time scale not accessible to everyone; we will show how the actual dissemination of UTC is performed by national institutes. Leap seconds are additional seconds introduced in UTC to cope with the irregularities of the earth rotation. We will present how the parameters of the earth rotation are measured and how they affect UTC. The suppression of the leap seconds has been proposed and is actually discussed at the International Telecommunication Union. We will discuss the future of UTC depending on the decision which will be taken in 2015.
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