Usually, it’s believed that June 21st is the longest day of the year; however, this year, things are a bit different. In 2015, the title of the year’s longest day has been won by June 30th and that might create big problems for the internet.
On June 30th, just before midnight, all the atomic clocks of the world will read 23:59:60. This means the clock will be ticking an extra second before hitting 00:00:00 i.e. midnight. This extra second has been added to the last day of June, 2015 with the aim of adjusting all the ultra-precise devices according to Earth’s actual rotation.
However, history suggests that people should be ready to face issues due to this leap second. The world experienced this last three years back, in 2012. At that time, the unanticipated leap second ended up crashing Foursquare, LinkedIn, Reddit, Gawker, and several other websites that didn’t depend on time being changed randomly.
Taking cue from the disaster of 2012, the majority of the companies have already factored the extra second of June 30, 2015 into their system.
For instance, Google has decided to use a technique called “leap smear” for avoiding problems triggered by the additional second. Engineers at Google, instead of adding the extra second at the end of the day, have decided to divide it into chunks of milliseconds and sprinkle them all through the regular 24 hour day. Hopefully, this process will help the tech giant to prevent server meltdowns.
Google’s technique will also be used by Singaporean, South Korean, Australian and Japanese future and stock exchanges.
The local authorities of New York have decided to add the additional second at around 8 pm. Stock markets in New York have decided to close early for avoiding headaches. While trading in NASDAQ will stop at 7.48 pm (it will be shut down at 7.55 pm), both CME Group and Intercontinental Exchange Inc. has decided to delay data transitions during this period.
It is believed that this time the internet will not suffer as much as it did in 2012. US Naval Observatory’s Geoff Chester feels that only around 10% of the major computer networks will be experiencing issues due to this year’s leap second.
For those who are wondering why this extra second is added from time to time: it’s because the Earth’s rotational speed has decreased due to factors such as tectonic forces, pull of the Moon and weather. If the time is not adjusted accordingly the balance between earth’s rotation and our clocks will be lost.