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You get an extra second Tuesday thanks to 'leap' event

by Ree Hines /  / Updated  / Source: TODAY

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We could all use a little extra time, and as it turns out, on Tuesday, we'll finally get it!

But don't get too excited. We won't get much.

Just before the clock strikes midnight, we'll get an extra second — aka a "leap second."

Atomic clock watchers will actually see the time change from 11:59:59 p.m. to 11:59:60 before rolling over.

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As for why, the simple answer is that scientists prompt the change every so often to keep the atomic clock in sync with the Earth's rotation.

Slow down: You have an extra second today!
At midnight Tuesday, clocks around the world will pause and the entire planet will gain an extra second. The bonus “leap second” is designed to allow the Earth’s rotation, which is gradually slowing, to catch up with atomic clocks – but computers could run into glitches.TODAY

But TODAY's Dylan Dreyer offered up a more complex explanation on the show Tuesday morning.

"It's very complicated, but in standard time, there's 86400 seconds in a day," she said. "But the earth actually spins 86400.002 seconds. So in the course of a year [or more], that second catches up to you."

The last leap second was added in 2012.

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