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New Year's Eve


New Year's Eve is December 31, the final day of the Gregorian year, and the day before New Year's Day, New Year's Eve is a separate observance from the observance of New Year's Day. In 20th-century Western practice, the celebration involves partying until the moment of the transition of the year at midnight. Drinking champagne is also a major part of the festivities. Within many cultures the use of fireworks and other noise making is a major part of the celebration in cities such as Berlin, New York City, Sydney, London, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Toronto, and Tokyo. New Year's Eve is a public non-working holiday in the following countries, among others: France, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Greece, New Zealand, the Philippines, and Venezuela.

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New Years Eve 2006


New Year’s Day 2006 Delayed by a Second

Scientists delayed the start of 2006 by the first "leap second" in seven years, a timing tweak meant to make up for changes in the Earth’s rotation. This, in effect, makes the first 2006 minute a total of 61 seconds.

The adjustment was carried out by sticking an extra second into atomic clocks worldwide at the stroke of midnight Coordinated Universal Time, the widely adopted international standard, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology said a week prior to January 1, 2006.

Coordinated Universal Time coincides with winter time in London. On the U.S. East Coast, the extra second occurs just before 7 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. Atomic clocks at that moment will read 23:59:60 before rolling over to all zeros.

A leap second is added to keep uniform timekeeping within 0.9 second of the Earth’s rotational time, which can speed up or slow down because of many factors, including ocean tides. The first leap second was added on June 30, 1972, according to NIST, an arm of the U.S. Commerce Department.

Since 1999 until recently, the two time standards have been in close enough synch to escape any need to add a leap second, NIST said.

Although it is possible to have a negative leap second - that is, a second deducted from Coordinated Universal Time - so far all have been add-ons, reflecting the Earth’s general slowing trend due to tidal braking.

Deciding when to introduce a leap second is the responsibility of the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service, a standards-setting body. Under an international pact, the preference for leap seconds is Dec. 31 or June 30.

Precise time measurements are needed for high-speed communications systems among other modern technologies.

Article from MSNBC.com


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