[LEAPSECS] UTC Redefinition Advanced

Rob Seaman seaman at noao.edu
Fri Oct 22 13:16:56 EDT 2010

On Oct 22, 2010, at 9:43 AM, Matsakis, Demetrios wrote:

> I have now heard from two sources that the revised ITU-R draft

> recommendation TF.460-6 passed a major hurdle in Geneva last week. It

> will be sent by SG7 to the January 2012 Radiocommunication Assembly

> meeting. At the Radiocommunication Assembly only countries that belong

> to the ITU-R can vote and a 75% majority is required for passage of a

> recommendation. I don't have the wording, but I presume it calls for

> the elimination of all future leap seconds after several (5?) years

> notice.

"Passed a major hurdle"? The phrasing from the Executive Report of Working party 7A indicates a state they describe as "deadlocked":

"It became quite clear the issues involved were not technical issues and the Working Party was deadlocked on non-technical issues. The path forward to resolve the issue and come to consensus was not apparent. The only course of action that appeared to be open was to submit the documents to the Study Group for resolution."

It is unremarkable that the people pushing the initiative would regard the objections as "non-technical", although why that should make them negligible is unclear. It will, for instance, cost astronomers many millions of dollars simply to restore current functionality to thousands of interoperating systems. I guess that is not technical enough. However, in what sane world view does acknowledging the existence of a deadlock correspond to clearing a hurdle?

The obvious "course of action" is to drop the corrosive proposal.

Rob Seaman
National Optical Astronomy Observatory

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