(ORDO NEWS) — Data from the International Earth Rotation and Reference Frames Service received on Wednesday, June 29, 2022 was 159 milliseconds shorter than 24 full hours.
This is the shortest day since scientists started using atomic clocks to measure the speed of the Earth’s rotation.
In general, the Earth rotates on its axis every 24 hours. However, the length of the day can change due to several factors that can make it longer or shorter.
Tidal forces between the Earth and the Moon actually stretch the day and tend to make it longer. Every 100 years or so, the Earth needs an extra couple of milliseconds to complete its rotation.
The internal movement of the planet and atmosphere also changes length, as does the movement of our satellites.
But over the past few years, it seems like the length of the day is getting shorter. Understanding the complex movements of the planet, especially if they involve long-term cycles, can take some time, but fortunately, most of the effects of these changes are minor.
If too much or too little difference accumulates over months or even years, a leap second can be added to the official time and date.
In fact, 28 of the shortest days since the 1960s have been recorded in 2020. No one knows exactly why this happens, but one suggestion has to do with changes in the axis of rotation, which hasn’t fluctuated as much over the past five years.
This very useful time tracking tool has recently come under fire from internet giants Facebook, Google, Amazon and Microsoft because introducing a leap second could break the software.
The last leap second was added on December 31, 2016. In 2022, no leap second is expected to be added.
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