The Independent reported that a new study explains why the days seem to take longer than before, and researchers say it is because of the slowing down of the Earth’s orbit. This may leave people wondering as to how would another 60 minutes be added to a 24-hour day. But this study says that it would still take another 6.7 million years for a day to gain another whole minute.
According to researchers Catherine Hohenkerk, Leslie Morrison and FR Stephenson, the average time of one whole day has increased by about 1.8 milliseconds every century over the last 27,000 years.
“It’s a very slow process,” said one of the study’s authors, retired Royal Greenwich Observatory astronomer Leslie Morrison. “These estimates are approximate because the geophysical forces operating on the Earth’s rotation will not necessarily be constant over such a long period of time.”
In fact, this 1.8-millisecond increase is even “significantly less” than the previous 2.3-millisecond estimate. Scientists have previously estimated the 2.3-miillisecond increase based on their observations and calculations on the ability of the moon to trigger ocean tides, thus influencing the Earth’s orbit.
But for this recent study, the team focused on the gravitational theories of the Earth’s movement around the Sun and the Moon’s rotation around the planet to figure out the time pattern of eclipses.
They then compared their observations to ancient Babylonian, Chinese, Greek, Arabic and medieval European astronomic records through an “exhaustive search of historical records,” noted the Irish Times.
According to their study, the Moon’s power to affect the waves triggers a brake on the Earth’s rotation. Furthermore, the planet’s change in shape due to the effects of the last Ice Age also disturbed electro-magnetic interactions between the Earth’s mantle and core — prompting changes in the main sea level.
This study was published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society.