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Earth records its shortest day ever

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Scientists have documented a day in which the Earth rotated in 1.59 milliseconds less than 24 hours . Earth has recently recorded its shortest day ever!

Did you know the Earth is spinning faster and that scientists say this may result in changing the way we measure universal time? Well, the Earth just recently recorded its shortest day ever on June 29, clocking 1.59 milliseconds less than a normal day.


It takes Earth 86,400 seconds or 24 hours to complete an average day. However, over the years there has been a slight shift in milliseconds.

According to Leonid Zotov, a scientist attached to the Lomonosov Moscow State University, Earth has started moving faster since 2016.

“This year it rotates quicker than in 2021and 2020.” Since we cannot change the clock arrows attached to the Earth’s rotation, we adjust the atomic clock scale” he told CBS News.

Earth pic
Earth as seen from the International Space Station on the shortest day on record. / NASA: Reid Wiseman

A negative leap second would mean clocks skip one second as opposed to leap years, which add an extra day rather than deducting.

The implementation of a leap second is opposed by certain engineers because it could result in serious technological problems. Researchers and Meta engineers Oleg Obleukhov and Ahmad Byagowi made a blog post about it for Meta, which is supporting an industry-wide initiative to prevent the introduction of leap seconds in the future.

“Introducing new leap seconds is a risky practice that does more harm than good. The impact of a negative time leap has never been tested on a large scale: it could have devastating effects on the software relying on timers or schedulers,

“In any case, every leap second is a major source of pain for people who manage hardware infrastructures,” they wrote in the blog post.

“Negative leap second handling is supported for a long time and businesses like Meta frequently do simulations of this situation. However, it has never been extensively tested and is probably going to cause unpredictable and disastrous outages all around the world,” they said.

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The possible causes of Earth’s dramatic acceleration of rotation and shortening of days have been the subject of various theories by scientists.

“This phenomenon can be simply visualized by thinking about a spinning figure skater, who manages angular velocity by controlling their arms and hands,

“As they spread their arms the angular velocity decreases, preserving the skater’s momentum. As soon as the skater tucks their arms back in, the angular velocity increases,

“The same happens here at this moment because of rising temperatures on earth. Ice caps melt and lead to angular velocity increase,” Obleukhov and Byagowi said.

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