Clocks gain an extra second on Tuesday

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Most are familiar with the leap year and the way it helps keep calendars functioning, but the leap second is a lesser known phenomenon.

Created in 1972, the leap second was born out of the need to keep clocks on earth in line with the true time of day as Earth’s rotation isn’t a constant. To correct for the slowing of Earth’s rotation, scientists measuring the speed of the rotation will occasionally add a second to a day.

Tuesday’s leap second will be the 26th leap second, the last of which occurred on June 30, 2012. The leap second in 2012 crashed websites which weren’t prepared to deal with the difference in clocks, including Yelp, Reddit and Foursquare.

A leap second is applied to the very last second of the day just before midnight. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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