Leap Second Day


Favorited Favorite 0

If you're looking for today's episode of "SparkFun Live!" you can find it here or at the video below!

Time: It can be spent in so many ways, but rarely is it gained. As you may have heard, today offers a rare chance to live a little more of your day. Leap Second Day occurs every few years to keep our clocks in line with the Earth's travel around the Sun. Without it we would fall into complete disarray, missing public transit by matters of seconds, leaving roasts in the oven so they're seconds overdone or, worst of all, missing a single second of today's SparkFun Live with Casey "Chopper" Kuhns.

Well fear not, because today we'll help you celebrate Leap Second Day by remembering our favorite second-keeping project – The Oversized GPS Wall Clock. For those of you who have been following us for nearly a decade now, you may remember one of Nate's first projects. The 12-foot wall clock was a must-see at our original building since 2006, shining over our reception area with its welcoming, alphanumeric green glow.

alt text

GPS may not be ideal for getting your 'bot around the AVC track, but for keeping time it's just fine.

A few years later Nate developed this great GPS Wall Clock Tutorial outlining how to make your own, far less intrusive version. If you are looking for a project to spend your extra second on I suggest giving the wall clock a shot and check out our GPS Buying Guide. We are even putting some of our GPS items on sale today (12 a.m. - 11:59 p.m. on 6/30) to give you a head start, since of course, Time = Money.

GPS Receiver - GP-635T (50 Channel)

6 Retired

SparkFun GPS Breakout

2 Retired

SparkFun GPS Shield Kit

4 Retired

7-Segment Display - LED (Blue)

2 Retired

Thanks for spending some of your time with us today, and if you get a chance, come check out the newest iteration of the Oversized GPS Wall Clock in the SparkFun Emporium. Happy Leap Second Day!

alt text

Time moves on with Engineer Mike Hord's newest wall clock.

Comments 1 comment

  • Member #394180 / about 9 years ago / 2

    Relative time on the planet is unaffected by lack of leap seconds. What the leap seconds are for is to keep us in synch with astronomical time. Without leap seconds, anything that involves calculating positions relative to the spinning Earth would eventually go wrong. That'd be satellite orbits (including GPS and comsats, triangulation of SAR beacons from satellites, reconnaissance images), lunar orbit (eclipse predictions would be off, spacecraft could miss), astronomical observations (stellar occultations) the predicted impact points for asteroids (the dinosaurs never had leap seconds), planetary orbits, stellar positions, etc. So it's nowhere near as trivial as some folks make it out to be. At orbital speeds, that single leap second is the equivalent of 5 miles or so. At escape velocity it's 7.

    So appreciate the leap second. There's hundreds of billions of dollars riding on it.

Related Posts

12 Days of Dev Boards

The Month of Deals!

Recent Posts


All Tags