Time will standstill on New Year's Eve - but only for one second

Jessica Morris
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The New Year Is Celebrated In London With A Firework Display
It last happened on 30 June 2015 (Source: Getty)

Time will quite literally be brought to a standstill on New Year's Eve.

On 31 December a "leap second" is going to be slapped onto the end of 2016 — which has already had an extra day added to it anyway.

Read more: Seven interesting facts you should know about the clock change

That's according to timekeepers over at the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS). They ensure that clocks remain in sync with the pace at which earth is spinning.

The earth's rotation speed is continually slowing, dropping about .0015 to .002 seconds per day each century. To ensure our time stayed accurate after the introduction of atomic clocks, IERS introduced leap seconds back in 1972.

Since then it's been used in 26 instances. Midnight last came later on 30 June 2015, the first time in three years. This was the first weekday adjustment since financial markets went electronic, prompting some to stop trading early.

Read more: Will anyone in the City observe national Go Home on Time Day?

And a string of websites such as LinkedIn, Reddit, and Yelp experienced glitches due to the leap second in 2012.

Hopefully this year, the only thing to worry about will be getting the countdown to 2017 right.

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