Earth has recorded its shortest day on record — but did you even notice?
Faster rotation meant Earth’s usual 24-hour rotation was 1.59 milliseconds shorter.
The rapid spin happened on June 29 and gave time watchers a headache.
This is because the Earth’s rotation normally slows down.
In fact, over the past 50 years, we’ve had to add 27 “leap seconds” to keep global clocks in check.
The clocks were last stopped in 2016 to account for this strange astronomical effect.
Now the Earth’s rotation seems to be speeding up, and scientists aren’t exactly sure why.
Normally the days are getting longer – if only slightly.
This is because the earth is constantly attracted by the sun and moon.
But June 29 marks the shortest day so far in a five-year trend of shrinking days.
According to data from the International Earth Rotation and Reference System Service, it was the fastest midnight since measurements began in the 1960s.
But the record only holds for recorded history — scientists believe the days were even shorter during the time of the dinosaurs.
One theory is that the acceleration could be related to the Chandler Wobble.
This is a small deviation of the Earth’s axis of rotation relative to the Earth beneath our feet.
Some scientists believe a change in this wobble amplitude could be to blame.
Spin smoothing could result in faster rotation overall.
But many factors can affect how fast the Earth spins — including climate and geological movements.
It’s unclear how long the rotation will continue, but it could mean that removing “leap seconds” could be the answer.
Many important systems rely on the global functions – including GPS navigation – so accurate timekeeping is essential.
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/9186431/earth-shortest-day-spinning-fast/ Earth records ‘shortest day ever’ after scientists reveal the planet is ‘spinning faster’