The Earth is spinning faster than it did 50 years ago. UK National Physical Laboratory scientist Peter Whibberley says the speed our planet rotates on its axis has varied throughout history.
Millions of years ago, the Earth rotated 420 times per year, but now it rotates 365 times (1 time = 1 day). But right now, the Earth is rotating a bit faster; and Whibberley warns that if the rotation rate increases further, it will affect the atomic clock, and require negative leap seconds to be added.
The atomic clock is extremely precise, and measures time by the movement of electrons that have been cooled to absolute zero. So, to keep the atomic clock in line with the number of seconds in the rotation of the Earth, leap seconds have been added every 18 months or so since 1972.
There has never been a negative leap second, and a system designed to make that possible hasn’t been tested.
Judah Levine from the National Institute of Standards and Technology adds that leap seconds—added or removed—may not be worth the hassle, as in total, they’d only add up to about a minute over 100 years.
Let your head spin a little more, here: (Daily Mail)
IT’S A CONSISTENT STORY. HERE’S WHAT WE SHARED WITH YOU, BACK IN JANUARY, 2021:
The Earth is spinning faster than it has in 50 years. That’s not something to worry about, it’s natural . . . but we may need to have a negative leap second, where we have a 59-second minute, to catch up.
You know how 2020 felt like the longest year ever? Technically it was SHORTER than we realized.
According to scientists who work on the atomic clock, the Earth is rotating FASTER now. Like, Sunday was technically only 23 hours, 59 minutes, and 59.9998927 seconds. And last year had 28 days that were shorter than the shortest day in 2005.
“It is certainly correct that the Earth is spinning faster now than at any time in the last 50 years,” Peter Whibberley, senior research scientist with the National Physical Laboratory’s time and frequency group, told the Telegraph.
Now, it’s probably not something to be WORRIED about – we’re not about to spin out of orbit and crash straight into Venus or anything. The Earth speeds up and slows down because of natural movements in space.
But WE need to catch up. You may remember the few times we’ve had “leap seconds,” where we added an extra second to catch up with the Earth.
Now we may need the first-ever NEGATIVE leap second – where we have a 59-second minute.
Obviously, that difference won’t matter much to you, but it can have a major effect on things like satellites that rely on perfect timing.
Time for more? Look at this: (New York Post)