Published: Mon, January 11, 2021
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Time flying! Earth rotating faster than usual; timekeepers ponder deleting a second

Time flying! Earth rotating faster than usual; timekeepers ponder deleting a second

This means that a day is now shorter than 24 hours on the planet Earth.

We haven't had to invoke a leap second since 2016, and given the acceleration of Earth's spin, we may eventually have to do something we've never done before, which is to take away a full second. There, he closely monitors the IERS data, looking for the moment when UTC begins to deviate much from astronomical time.

In 1970 worldwide treaties established a system for measuring global time and Earth's rotation in space, and the worldwide Commission on Earth's rotation and reference systems was the body that monitored the difference between the two systems and officially announced the flow by removing it from global time when necessary.

World timekeepers are debating whether to delete a second from time - called a "negative leap second" - to account for the change and bring time passage back into line with the rotation of the Earth.

2020 was an extreme year for Earth's temperatures.

So as Whibberley also mentioned above for the time ever scientists are thinking about a "negative leap second" from the astronomical time.

The Earth's rotation is the fastest it's ever been in 50 years, which means time is passing by quicker than it has in the past five decades. Though the co-authors acknowledged that Earth's rotation equating to 24 hours isn't always ideal.

The friction of the tides and the change in distance between the Earth and the Moon all make for daily variations in the speed the planet rotates on its axis. "There is also an global discussion going on about the future of leap seconds, and it is also possible that the need for a negative leap second could push the decision towards ending the leap seconds forever".


This is because, for decades, the Earth has taken slightly longer than 24 hours to complete a rotation, but since a year ago it has been taking taking slightly less.

It takes the Earth 24 hours to revolve around its axis, however, even such a attractive world like our planet is not flawless and the length of its rotation can vary by milliseconds, with the Earth speeding up or slowing down. This is because while the average length of a day will be 86,400 seconds, according to astronomical time a day in 2021 will be 0.05 milliseconds shorter on average. Our planet's rotation can vary a lot, all the time.

The latest timepieces have now shown the 28 fastest days on record all took place previous year. "UTC is an atomic time scale, based on the performance of atomic clocks that are more stable than the Earth's rotational rate".

It's not abnormal to see Earth days run a bit longer or shorter than average, thanks to the activity of the planet's molten core, oceans, and atmosphere. Where 2020 has felt to most people like a year that has dragged on endlessly from crisis to foreclosure and vice versa, the year has actually progressed at an all time high. Since 1972, a second has been added to the atomic time about every 1.5 years, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The experts are now debating whether removing this second is needed.

It is very important that the atomic and solar time are kept in sync so that satellite and other communications equipment can also remain in line.

Also, stronger hurricanes are inevitable if the Earth's rotation picks up the pace with the spins.

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