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  • Leap second to be added on 1 July

  • Wednesday, 24th June 2015

The Hong Kong Observatory today (24 June) reminded the public that a leap second will be introduced to the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) between 7.59.59am and 8.00.00am (Hong Kong time) on 1 July 2015. Hong Kong standard time, exactly eight hours ahead of UTC, will be delayed by one second accordingly.

The Observatory advises stakeholders and operators in information technology, telecommunication, transport, finance, etc, to review whether systems under their management could handle leap seconds properly, and if necessary, consider testing and adjusting their systems to ensure normal operation during and after the introduction of the leap second.

UTC is a stable and even time scale based on the frequency of atomic oscillations in atomic clocks. This is the current international time scale for civil use.

The astronomical time scale based on the Earth's rotation is another common time scale. As a result of atmospheric circulation and other geophysical events on Earth, the rate of the Earth's rotation is uneven and slowing down. At present, one second based on the astronomical time scale is slightly longer than that based on the standard atomic time scale. It is therefore necessary to add a leap second from time to time to reconcile the two time scales so that the difference between them is kept below 0.9 of a second.

More information on leap seconds can be found at:
http://www.hko.gov.hk/gts/time/basicterms-leapsecond.htm

Last revision date: <24 Jun 2015>