Your daily dose of Science and Tech

Days on Earth are getting longer

Researchers at Columbia University and Wisconsin-Madison University have conducted a study that shows how much the duration of a day has changed in time.

Thus, 1.4 billion years ago, one day on Earth was not 24 hours, but only 18 hours. At that time, the Moon was much closer to Earth, and its gravity was stronger, influencing the planet’s rotation and its axis.

Since the moon is steadily moving away from the Earth at about 3.82 cm per year, this phenomenon makes the Earth’s rotation speed around its axis to diminish. That’s why the days will become longer.

To better explain this phenomenon, the researchers compare our planet with a skater that slows down while spinning as he stretches his arms around him to maintain his balance.

Of course, given the fact that the Moon is moving away from us very slowly, it will take hundreds of millions of years until the duration of a day will be significantly different from the current one. But the planet will get there, eventually…

Experts have calculated that the duration of one day increases by only 0.0000001542857 seconds each year. In the study, scientists have researched rocks and sediments that are over 90 million years old. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.