is celebrating the extra "tick" scientists on June 30 will add to the clock—a leap second—with a special contest for kids. One lucky child will get to be Director for a Second, giving the museum's hardworking executive director a well-earned vacation.
Leap seconds are introduced periodically to keep up with Earth's slowing down as it spins around its axis. Earth's slowing is due to the braking action caused by our tides. A tiny effect, only 2 milliseconds have been added to the day in the last 188 years.
Since the building of the great pyramid of Giza, 4,500 years ago, the day has only grown 1/14 of a second longer. Scientists keep track of the rotation of the earth by timing when certain stars are overhead. Five leap seconds have been added in the last 20 years.
Friday, June 29, at noon, Tellus' Executive Director Jose Santamaria will take a one second vacation. The contest-winning child will get free entry into the museum for his or her family, a planetarium show, a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum and a special gift bag.
The contest opened Tuesday to children younger than fourteen and runs through Thursday, June 21. Entries can be e-mailed to email@example.com and must contain the child’s name, the parent’s name, phone number and email address, along with what the child will do with their extra second.