Galileo to the rescue

From: Steve Allen <>
Date: Mon, 26 May 2003 22:29:37 -0700

Today we read that the Europeans have decided to launch the Galileo
GNSS. The system time for Galileo is already specified to be TAI, and
it is specfied to provide guaranteed legal traceability of the UTC
that it can provide.

This is marvelous timing for the meeting happening this week in
Torino. It is clear that TAI will become much more available than it
has ever been before, and that the telecomm networks which have wanted
an unsegmented time will be able to rely on it. This takes much wind
out of the sails of many of the arguments for omitting leapse from UTC.

The majority of those surveyed have said that the current form of UTC
is not broken and should not be fixed. The 2002 revision of ITU-R
TF.460-6 contains hints that the answer to the question before the SRG
is to make TAI more available. The international legal issues that
would be raised if UTC deviates from GMT appear to be formidable, as
is the break with the precedents established by the IAU.

We are told that there will be a consensual opinion from the SRG this
week. If that opinion is anything other than "continue the existing
practice of inserting leap seconds in UTC" then I can only point out
that "consensual" is the key to the defense strategy of the accused
rapist when at trial.

Steve Allen          UCO/Lick Observatory       Santa Cruz, CA 95064      Voice: +1 831 459 3046
PGP: 1024/E46978C5   F6 78 D1 10 62 94 8F 2E    49 89 0E FE 26 B4 14 93
Received on Mon May 26 2003 - 22:29:48 PDT

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