The earth is spinning faster than usual

The earth is spinning faster than usual
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The days seem to be getting shorter; they are and have been since the summer solstice in June. But recently the Earth celebrated its shortest day for a completely different and unusual reason – the earth rotates faster. Scientists have found the development puzzling, although there are some theories as to why it happened and how it might affect our lives.

Close up shot of a woman checking the time on her smart watch.

Scientist Leonid Zotov told CBS News that June 29, 2022 was 1.59 milliseconds shorter than the average day. The normal length of a day is 24 hours or 86,400 seconds. But in the past few years, the Earth’s rotation has sped up, cutting milliseconds to a few days. “Since 2016, the Earth has started to accelerate,” said Zotov published a study last March About what can cause changes in the Earth’s rotation. “This year is spinning faster than 2021 and 2020.”

peakeep alarm clock

This growing rotation doesn’t shorten every day – every once in a while. But if this continues, the main method of measuring time on Earth – the universal, highly accurate method known as atomic time – may have to change. It may be necessary to add a negative leap second, in which case the clocks advance by just one second. “We adjust the scale of the atomic clock because we cannot change the clock axes added to the Earth’s rotation,” Zotov said.

In the System Control Room, a Technical Operator Monitors Various Activities Shown on Multiple Displays with Stands and Graphs

But not all scientists are in favor of a negative second leap. In fact, Meta engineers Oleg Obleukhov and Ahmed Byagovi recently wrote a blog post criticizing the idea. They said it could cause serious malfunctions in the technology, such as data corruption. The concept has never been tested.

polar iceberg

Some scientists theorize about Earth’s tides. Others believe that the constant melting and refreezing of polar ice caps causes the earth’s rotation to speed up and slow down.

“It’s about the law of conservation of momentum that applies to our planet Earth. Each atom on the planet contributes to the momentum of the earth’s angular momentum based on its distance from the earth’s axis of rotation,” Obleukhov and Byagovi told CBS. . “So the earth’s angular velocity can change once things move.”

Professional figure skater Valentina Marchei.

“This phenomenon can be visualized by simply thinking of a rotating figure skater controlling her angular velocity by controlling her arms and hands,” they said. “As they open their arms, the angular velocity decreases and maintains the speed of the skater. As soon as the skater retracts their arms, the angular velocity increases. The same thing happens here because of the increase in temperature on the ground. The ice caps melt and lead to an increase in angular velocity.”

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) skyscraper in Geneva on a sunny summer day.

In 2020, the planet experienced the shortest 28 days in the last 50 years. The United Nations-affiliated International Telecommunication Union began adding leap seconds occasionally in June or December. The first leap second was added in 1972, and 26 have been added since then.

According to Ars Technica, during the jump, the clock ticks from 23:59:59 to 23:59:60 to 00:00:00. The average “leap second” has caused tech problems in the past: a leap second added in 2012 caused crashes at Reddit, Gawker and Australia’s Qantas airline. In 2017, a leap second took Cloudflare down.

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