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✶ 閏秒:地球自轉小捕手 One Extra Second of Summer

目前共27個閏秒被加入時鐘
6/17 解析英語

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閏秒:地球自轉小捕手 One Extra Second of Summer
我們現在的一天平均比 1820 年時還要長兩毫秒
>> 你認識這些有趣的十一月節嗎?(上) Fun November Holidays You May Not Know About

文章主講 Karen, Wesley

You’re probably familiar with leap years, but have you ever heard of a leap second? Well, get ready, because this June, there will be an extra second added to the end of the month.

你或許對閏年耳熟能詳,但你有聽過閏秒嗎?那準備好囉,因為今年六月底會多一秒。

a leap year  閏年
a leap second  閏秒

Like leap years, leap seconds are added to the calendar to make up for the fact that the rotation of the Earth isn’t exactly the same from year to year. However, unlike the extra day found in every fourth February, a convention that is hundreds of years old, the leap second is a relatively new feature of the calendar. Leap seconds only started in 1972, and since then 27 leap seconds have been added to the clock. In fact, this month’s extra moment of time will only be the sixth leap second since 1998.

就像閏年,閏秒是為了彌補地球自轉每年不盡相同而被加進日曆的。然而,不像每四年便會給二月多一天這個行之數百年的慣例,閏秒是日曆上相對較新的特色。閏秒是從 1972 年才開始實施,之後共有二十七個閏秒被加入時鐘。事實上,本月的新增時刻僅是自 1998 年以來的第六個閏秒。

make up for... = compensate for...  彌補……
rotation [ roˈteʃən ] n.(星球)自轉,旋轉

The insertion of leap seconds is the result of the slowing rotation of the Earth. According to NASA, our days are on average two milliseconds longer than they were in 1820. This might seem like too small of a change to be noticeable, but in those 200 years, technology has improved. With the invention of the atomic clock in the 20th century, scientists could measure time with unprecedented accuracy. In 1961, Coordinated Universal Time, using the atomic clock, became the international standard for timekeeping. Under this system of measure, a day is exactly 86,400 seconds long. However, in reality, the rotation is a fraction slower.

閏秒的加入是地球自轉漸緩的結果。根據美國國家航空暨太空總署,我們現在的一天平均比 1820 年時還要長兩毫秒。這樣的改變或許細微到看似難以察覺,但在這兩百年來,科技已有了進步。隨著二十世紀的原子鐘發明,科學家得以用前所未有的精準度測量時間。1961 年,使用原子鐘的世界協調時間成為國際計時標準。在這個度量系統之下,一天的長度正好是八萬六千四百秒。然而,實際上地球自轉稍微慢了一點點。

atomic [ əˈtɑmɪk ] a. 原子的
unprecedented [ ʌnˈprɛsəˌdɛntɪd ] a. 前所未有的
timekeeping [ ˈtaɪmˌkipɪŋ ] n. 計時

To adjust for this discrepancy, the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service has been adding leap seconds in to balance the atomic clock and the world’s rotation. The extra time is tacked on to June 30 or December 31. As for why these additional moments are so irregular, well, that’s because tides, earthquakes, and climate change can all affect the Earth’s rotation and throw off the timing by mere milliseconds.

為了針對這個差異做調整,國際地球自轉和參考系統服務持續加進閏秒以使原子鐘和地球的自轉一致。這個額外的時間增補在六月三十或十二月三十一日。至於這些增秒為何如此不規律,那是因為潮汐、地震和氣候變遷都會影響地球自轉,並使計時產生區區幾毫秒的誤差。

discrepancy [ dɪˈskrɛpənsɪ ] n. 差異,不一致
tack on... / tack... on  增補∕附加……
irregular [ ɪˈrɛgjəlɚ ] a. 不規律的,不定時的
timing [ ˈtaɪmɪŋ ] n.(某事發生或某人做某事的)時間;時機的掌握

 

延伸學習|其他幾個和數字及數量有關的字首

  1. semi- / hemi-  半……
    semicircle [ ˈsɛmɪˌsɝkl̩ ] n. 半圓
    semicircular [ ˌsɛmɪˈsɝkjəlɚ ] a. 半圓形的
    hemisphere [ ˈhɛməsˌfɪr ] n. 半球
    hemispherical [ ˌhɛməˈsfɛrɪkl̩ ] a. 半球體的
  2. uni- / mono-  單……
    unit [ ˈjunɪt ] n. 單元;單位
    unicycle [ ˈjunɪˌsaɪkl̩ ] n. 獨輪(自行)車
    unicorn [ ˈjunɪˌkɔrn ] n. 獨角獸
    monocle [ ˈmɑnəkl̩ ] n. 單片眼鏡
    monocular [ məˈnɑkjəlɚ ] n. 單筒望遠鏡
    monopolize [ məˈnɑpl̩ˌaɪz ] vt. 壟斷,獨占
  3. bi-  雙∕兩……
    bicycle [ ˈbaɪsɪkl̩ ] n. 自行車(因其有兩個輪子)
    binoculars [ bɪˈnɑkjəlɚz ] n. 雙筒望遠鏡
    bilingual [ baɪˈlɪŋgwəl ] a. 雙語的 & n. 會雙語的人
  4.  tri-  三……
    triangle [ ˈtraɪˌæŋgl̩ ] n. 三角形(的物體)
    triangular [ traɪˈæŋgjəlɚ ] a. 三角(形)的
    tricycle [ traɪsɪkl̩ ] n. 三輪車
    trilingual [ traɪˈlɪŋgwəl ] a. 會∕用三種語言的
  5. penta-  五……
    pentagon [ ˈpɛntəˌgɑn ] n. 五角∕邊形
    the Pentagon  五角大廈(美國國防部)
    pentagram [ ˈpɛntəˌgræm ] n. 五角星形
    pentathlon [ pɛnˈtæθˌlɑn ] n. 五項全能運動(比賽)
  6. centi- / cent-  百分之一∕百……
    centimeter [ ˈsɛntəˌmitɚ ] n. 公分
    centiliter [ ˈsɛntl̩ˌitɚ ] n. 厘升∕公勺(百分之一升)
    centipede [ ˈsɛntəˌpid ] n. 百足蟲,蜈蚣
    century [ ˈsɛntʃərɪ ] n. 一百年
  7. kilo-  千……
    kilogram [ ˈkɪləˌgræm ] n. 公斤
    kilometer [ kɪˈlɑmətɚ / ˈkɪləˌmitɚ ] n. 公里
    kilowatt [ ˈkɪləˌwɑt ] n. 千瓦(電力)
  8. milli-  千分之一
    millimeter [ˋmɪlə͵mitɚ] n. 毫米
    milliliter [ˋmɪlɪ͵litɚ] n. 毫升
    millisecond [ ˈmɪləˌsɛkənd ] n. 毫秒,千分之一秒

 

What Did You Learn?    

  1. Why do we have leap seconds?
  2. How many leap seconds occurred between 1972 and 1998?

 

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參考答案

  1. To balance the atomic clock and the world’s rotation.
  2. Twenty-two.

 

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作者

Lauren McCarthy
Lauren McCarthy
Your Attitude determine your direction.