[ntp:questions] Deadline soon for leap second comments

Chris Steyaert observations at rmob.org
Sun Oct 9 08:37:01 UTC 2005

From:       seaman at noao.edu
Subject:     Deadline soon for leap second comments
Date:     October 7, 2005 10:03:56 AM MST
To:       all-noao-all at noao.edu


     Over the summer I forwarded an announcement of a major pending  
timekeeping decision of particular interest to astronomers. A very  
real proposal has been made by the US representatives to the  
International Telecommunications Union to cease issuing leap  
seconds.  As a result, Civil Time worldwide would no longer reflect  
the orientation of the Earth with respect to the Sun.

     Several individuals from the astronomical community registered  
their opinions at that time.  As a result, the US proposal has been  
modified - but only to slightly lengthen the implementation period;  
the goal of eliminating leap seconds has been reaffirmed.  The new  
proposal is described here:


The period of public review ends on 14 October.  The link above  
provides arguments against the proposal, along with contact  
information and other links.  I am unaware of any similar web  
resource supporting the proposal.  You may register your opinions on  
this proposal with Wayne Hanson of the NIST and Cecily Holiday of the  
U.S. Department of State:

     Hanson, D Wayne (Boulder)
     (303) 497-5233
     Mailcode 847.00
     325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80305-3328
     wayne.hanson at nist.gov

     Ms. Cecily C. Holiday
     (202) 647-0051
     National Committee
     Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs
     2201 C St., NW, Room 2529
     Department of State
     Washington, DC 20520

     I suspect many remain unsure of the details of this esoteric  
issue and are perhaps reticent to express an opinion.  Steve Allen of  
Lick Observatory provided the link above and I also commend you to  
his excellent resource on UTC and leap second issues:


But more importantly, a key fact regarding this issue is precisely  
the rush to reach a decision before all interested parties can be  
informed and engaged in the process.  A reply for those who don't  
know enough yet to know what they think might resemble:

Dear Dr. Hanson and Ms. Holiday,

         I am writing to register my concern at the inappropriately  
rapid pace of the proposed revision to ITU-R TF.460 by USWP-7A.  The  
astronomical community has significant scientific, technical and  
financial interests in the definition of Coordinated Universal Time  
(UTC) and has had only token input into this process.  The current  
proposal should be withdrawn from consideration and not resubmitted  
until all interested parties, including the astronomical community,  
have been actively included in the decision making process.

                                                         A. Concerned  

A followup phone call may be desirable given the short deadline.

     You are also free, of course, to contact the individuals above  
if you support the proposal.  In that case, I would be grateful to be  
copied on any discussion of your reasons.

Rob Seaman
NOAO Data Products Program, Tucson

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