Re: [LEAPSECS] leap second policy making

From: Demetrios <>
Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2000 21:12:48 +0000 (UTC)

This is to answer some of Robert Seaman's questions about the methodology,
and notify people that the problem with the truncated report at "leapsecs"
is fixed.

> Can anyone provide a historical perspective on the shift from ephemeris
> time to universal time three decades ago?

There will be a paper on this subject this November at the Washington D.C.
PTTI meeting, by Chadsey and McCarthy, in a session on the leapseconds
issue (see

> I first heard about this initiative last November through a rather
> tenuous string of colleagues. As far as I can tell, NOAO never received
> an official survey mailing. It seems quite likely that the address
> list used to distribute the survey pointed to a large number of public
> information offices rather than to the scientific or technical staff
> of various organizations.

A list of who we know received the report is in an Appendix to the report.
The e-mail list purchased from the AAS included three from NOAO, which
were,, and Only the "user"
e-mail was returned as addressee unknown, but no response was received
from any NOAO email address.

The need to reach the complete community is one reason people were asked
to spread the questionnaire around, and now the report.

> It seems to me that the principal goal of the survey was to list areas
> requiring further study. If a single "user" suggested two problem areas,
> did both make it onto the list?

All comments were presented in the report, but only one issue's count
was incremented per responder. This listserv was partly set up to
give people an opportunity to present anything inadvertently left out
and to provide the many details necessarily left out in summarizing
their responses.

> > Not tabulated is an informal comment seriously made to the Working
> > Group's Chairman, by a respected and competent scientist from a
> > non-western nation, that astrologers would be adversely affected.
> Why not tabulate this?

The remark probably received higher visibility by being included as it was.

I am not an expert in astrology, but my guess is that they use solar
system position-tables derived from those computed by astronomers.
One-minute accuracy is probably good enough for astrology, but even
a 1-second spec in ut1-utc could easily be built into astrology tables,
provided they only go a few years into the future. I must warn you
that Cancers like me may not be the ones to ask about these things :)

> > Thirty-eight expressed opposition, but gave no specific reason.
> And a good follow-on survey would be to ask them why.

Very few responded to initial efforts soliciting detailed answers.
However, they all received the report and it is hoped they will join
this listserv or otherwise express their concerns.

- Demetrios Matsakis
Received on Mon Jul 17 2000 - 14:14:27 PDT

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