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Opinion

Earth Just Had Its Shortest Day Ever, and Science is Stumped

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For years now, it has been well understood that the earth’s days are a tiny, tiny bit imprecise.  We’re not always dealing with exactly 24 hours, as a number of cosmic forces continue to impart some slight variables on the whole thing.

Mostly, the rotation of the earth has been slowing, as our little space rock deals with the infinitesimal intangibles of traveling through space for billions and billions of years.

But, in a shocking new piece of data, scientists have now recorded the shortest day on earth they’ve ever seen, and there’s no definitive theory as to why.

Since the 1960s, scientists have used atomic clocks to precisely monitor time. However, on June 29, scientists watching these clocks noticed an anomaly: it was Earth’s shortest day in recorded history.

According to a report by timeanddate, on June 29, Earth completed a rotation in 1.59 milliseconds less than 24 hours, highlighting a recent trend that has seen the planet’s rotation speed up. In 2020, the Earth achieved its 28 shortest days since daily measurements began.

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So, what could have caused such a shift?

It’s unclear why this is happening, though scientists have a few guesses. Many have suggested this could be attributed to things like tides, climate, or other earth processes.

As pointed out by timeanddate, at next week’s Asia Oceania Geosciences Society meeting, Leonid Zotov, Christian Bizouard and Nikolay Sidorenkov are slated to explain another potential reason for this change: a variation in the Chandler wobble, which is the small movement of Earth’s poles across the globe.

“The normal amplitude of the Chandler wobble is about three to four meters at Earth’s surface,” Dr. Zotov said, “but from 2017 to 2020 it disappeared.”

And that’s not all:

If this trend continues, it could lead to what is known as the “negative leap second” in which clocks would skip a second in order for civil time to keep pace with solar time. As timeanddate points out, this could potentially have repercussions for IT systems that rely on exact time measurements.

While the tiny imperfection may not seem like a whole lot, it will technically shorten the Biden presidency, and for that many of us can be thankful.

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About the Author:
As a lifelong advocate for the dream promised us in the Constitution, Andrew West has spent his years authoring lush prose editorial dirges regarding America's fall from grace and her path back to prosperity. When West isn't railing against the offensive whims of the mainstream media or the ideological cruelty that is so rampant in the US, he spends his time seeking adventurous new food and fermented beverages, with the occasional round of golf peppered in.




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