New Year To Come 1 Second Late... (Last Increment Added 7 Years Ago) The year 2006 has been postponed. But not for long. The U.S. Naval Observatory says a leap second will be inserted in the world's clocks just before midnight Greenwich mean time on New Year's Eve. That means 7 p.m. Eastern time on Dec. 31 will occur one second later than it would have otherwise. Leap seconds are occasionally needed because modern atomic clocks are more precise than the rotation of the Earth, which can be inconsistent. The rotation of the Earth has been slowing down, so leap seconds keep the clocks and the Earth from getting out of synch with one another. This will be the 23rd leap second that has been inserted since 1972. The last one was inserted seven years ago.