What next?

From: Rob Seaman <seaman_at_noao.edu>
Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2005 09:23:30 -0700

It has been about six years since the notion of abandoning leap
seconds became a public issue (see, for instance, http://
catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/20.71.html#subj14.1). With the milestone
looming next month of the ITU working party vote, the question arises
of what comes next.

If the proposal is voted down, one may presume that its sponsors
won't simply abandon their goal - whereas if the proposal passes this
first hurdle, one may imagine other hurdles await. I gather there
was quite a response to the proposal during the comment period (as
unadvertised as it was). Perhaps the likeliest result is that the
proposal is simply withdrawn to be reworked and reconsidered in the

Would folks - perhaps some with personal knowledge - like to
speculate on the future moves in this chess match? Perhaps the
discussion might be broadened to be more inclusive? Perhaps its
goals might be refocused onto the technical and logistical
requirements for improving the system(s) for the transport of time
signals of all types? If we were to focus on how best to propagate
interval time (GPS, TAI and their derivatives) as well as time-of-day
(UTC, UT1 and derivatives), we might find that the fundamental
requirements for timekeeping flow naturally down to the derived
requirements for civil timekeeping.

Rob Seaman
National Optical Astronomy Observatory
Received on Wed Oct 26 2005 - 09:24:51 PDT

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