Capturing The Elusive Leap Second

My Leap Second Capture Setup
My Leap Second Capture Setup. Click the picture to see a larger view.

A “Leap Second” was added to our clocks at 12:59:60 on Dec. 31, 2008 (12:59:60 is not a typo).  Leap Seconds are added or subtracted every so many years, to keep our clocks in sync with the actual orbit of Earth around the sun.  There are several different methods to capture the leap second, and I took the opportunity yesterday to see if I could do the same without fancy or expensive equipment.

HERE is a good web site about the “Leap Second”.

And, HERE is a page about how to watch a “Leap Second”.

This is how I did it.  I tuned into WWV on my Ham Radio receiver, and set up a camera to record the time on my GPS.  After looking at the Leap Second web site, I should also have connected my computer to my GPS to capture the NMEA output from it.  Click on the picture to the left to see my setup. View the video below, and you will see that 12:59:59 lasted for two seconds on the GPS.

John – K7JM