The year 2020 may have felt like it lasted forever, but it was actually the shortest one in decades. In fact, it was 1.3 milliseconds shorter. The planet is now spinning faster than it has any time in the last half-century, with 2020 containing 28 of the fastest days on record since 1960.
And 2021 is expected to be even faster…which has ignited a fiery debate on what to do to keep up. It may sound weird, but shifts in the planet’s spin are actually normal. Things like the pull of the moon, jet stream winds, and plate tectonics all have an effect. Just like an ice skater draws in their arms to spin faster, anything that moves mass closer to Earth’s axis speeds up the planet’s spin, making the days a few milliseconds shorter.
It doesn’t seem like much, but these subtle changes in Earth’s spin can cause major headaches for anyone trying to keep their clocks in sync.
#time #atomicclock #leapsecond #science #seeker #elements
Do We Need A ‘Drop Second?’ The Worrying Reason Why Earth May Be Speeding Up After Decades Of Slowing Down
“Having gotten used to adding a ‘leap second’ every now and then to keep their atomic clocks accurate, international timekeepers are now mulling over whether to add the first-ever ‘negative leap second’ or ‘drop second.'”
Why is a minute divided into 60 seconds, an hour into 60 minutes, yet there are only 24 hours in a day?
“Thanks to documented evidence of the Egyptians’ use of sundials, most historians credit them with being the first civilization to divide the day into smaller parts.”
Sunlight Changes Unequally All Year Long
“Some days we gain one minute; some days we gain three.”