Re: [LEAPSECS] interoperability

From: Steve Allen <sla_at_UCOLICK.ORG>
Date: Mon, 9 Jan 2006 00:07:06 -0800

On Mon 2006-01-09T08:20:40 +0100, Poul-Henning Kamp hath writ:
> beginning ("SI seconds are constant length").

Yes, SI seconds are constant length, but the ghost of my general
relativity teacher prompts me to assert that my SI seconds are not
equal to your SI seconds because we are in different reference

The rate at which TAI ticks has been modified several times to meet
improved notions of whose SI second it should really try to match.
The current notion is that of a coordinate time scale at a depth in
the geopotential field which is close to mean sea level.

Such a coordinate time scale cannot be extended very far from the
surface of the earth without requiring some fascinating corrections
to the rates measured by different observers.

Tom Van Baak can show you how measuring this is now child's play.

Why should my lab use TAI when the proper time experienced by my
real-time control processes runs at a different, and continually
varying, rate?

The answer is the same as for UT defined by Newcomb's expression used
from 1901 through 1983 and implemented via astronomy: it is the most
practical uniform time scale that we all can agree upon.

For current purposes with stationary clocks the varying terms in the
rate differences are immeasurable. In the limit of very precise lab
timekeeping eventually the question arises as to whether TAI really is
the most suitable scale for some applications.

(This has nothing to do with leap seconds, but does raise the question
of the limits at which it becomes much more difficult to agree on time.)

Steve Allen                 <>                WGS-84 (GPS)
UCO/Lick Observatory        Natural Sciences II, Room 165    Lat  +36.99858
University of California    Voice: +1 831 459 3046           Lng -122.06014
Santa Cruz, CA 95064     Hgt +250 m
Received on Mon Jan 09 2006 - 00:07:22 PST

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