The Earth is spinning too fast: what is happening

It may seem nonsense, a trifle, but also 1.59 milliseconds they can have important implications. It is a measure that normal clocks cannot even calculate but atomic ones do, and this is what happened to the planet Land last June 29 when the “fastest” day ever was recorded. In practice, the rotational motion ended 24 hours earlier than usual. To be clear, one millisecond equals 0.001 seconds.

The anomaly

It is not the first time that aanomaly in the duration of the Earth’s rotation: in recent years it was even thought that the Earth was “slowing down” in its continuous and perpetual motion because scientists had recorded longer days, always on the order of thousandths of seconds. As he explains Republicit was necessary to use what are called “seconds interlayers“, that is “fractions of a second added or subtracted from coordinated universal time“. From 2020, however, there is a turnaround: the experts of Geopop they explained that two years ago there were a good 28 days shorter since the measurements exist, and this time it is not about the seasons.

The causes

The shortest day of 2020 was July 19 with 1.47 milliseconds shorter than the average solar day. A year later, on July 9, 2021, the Earth’s rotation ended 1.46 milliseconds earlier. This year, however, the record recorded a few weeks ago. But what are the causes? No scientist knows for sure: still unknown dynamics are hypothesized that occur within our planet but also in the atmosphere while others lean towards some mechanisms linked to the tides and oceans. Some scholars, on the other hand, attribute these oscillations to the melting of the polar ice caps.

What is the Chandler swing

Three scientists fromAsia Oceania Geosciences Society they referred to the Chandler oscillation: it is a minor or secondary motion of our Planet that would be able to move cyclically “the Earth’s axis of rotation of 3-4 meters from the North Pole with a period of 433 days. It is due to the fact that the Earth is not perfectly spherical: every non-spherical body in rotation has some kind of swing“, explain the experts a Geopop. According to one of the scientists, this oscillation would have disappeared from 2017 to 2020 and the acceleration of the Earth’s rotation in those years could be related to this phenomenon.

On a practical level and for the life of all of us, however, this phenomenon has no particular consequences if not some small Gps problem and minimal inaccuracies when you have to synchronize digital tools such as PCs and smartphones and smartwatches. However, these are all hypotheses, suppositions: new studies will be needed to really understand the causes and if, indeed, this oscillation has such important consequences for the rotation of the Earth.

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The Earth is spinning too fast: what is happening


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