Scientists To Stretch Time Saturday Night with Leap Second

Scientists will create 61-second minute to allow "official time" to catch up to Earth's rotation.

A clock approaching midnight
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Saturday around 8 p.m. EST, scientists around the world will stretch the fabric of time. Well, sort of.

According to Joe Rao of New York's Hayden Planetarium, our "official time" lags behind the actual time (as measured by the Earth's rotation) ever so slightly.

[Photos: Spectacular Snapshots of Space]

To make up for this, scientists are adding a second to our "official time." Saturday night, the master clock at the United States Naval Obseravtory in Washington, D.C. will add the time, creating a 61-second minute.

As it stands now, clocks are set to the times kept by 200 atomic clocks in laboratories across the globe. But these highly accurate clocks are slightly slower than the time as measured by the Earth's rotation, according to astronomers' calculations. Using the position of surrounding stars as a guide, they say the Earth's rotation is slowing down ever so slightly. As a result, our "official time" has fallen behind by about six-tenths of a second.

The leap second will put the Earth's time about four-tenths of a second ahead of our official time going into July. When you make it to work on Monday, be sure to tell your boss you're early.

Seth Cline is a reporter with U.S. News and World Report. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter.