The deaths of great artists, global tragedies, an acrimonious U.S. presidential campaign — these events have made many of us are eager to get the seemingly interminable nastiness that was 2016 over with, once and for all. But thanks to the precision of modern timekeeping, we'll have to wait one additional second on New Year's Eve before we can welcome what hopefully will be a better 2017.
The additional second will be inserted precisely one second before midnight strikes at theRoyal Observatory at Greenwich in England. Since 1884 that's been the location of the Prime Meridian for Greenwich Mean Time, also known as Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), which sets the standard for the rest of the world's time zones. Because that spot is five hours ahead of U.S. Eastern time, the additional second will be inserted at one second before 7 p.m. at the U.S. Naval Observatory's Master Clock Facility in Washington, D.C., which sets the time for Americans.