Earth, on July 29, marked the shortest day ever recorded. While generally, our planet takes a full 24-hour period to complete one rotation, which is the basis of the concept of day and night, but on that day, the Earth completed its rotation 1.59 milliseconds before than the standard 24-hour period.
With the completion of the rotation 1.59 milliseconds – roughly one-thousandth of a second – before the standard period, the Earth smashed its own record of 2020. On July 19, 2020, the Earth completed its rotation 1.47 milliseconds under 24 hours. It was also the shortest month that has ever been recorded since 1960s, as per a report by Independent.
This increased speed of rotation was quite baffling for researchers since, looking at the history, the speed of the Earth’s rotation is actually slowing down. According to The Sun’s report, we have had to add 27 leap seconds in the last 50 years to keep the global atomic clocks in check. A leap second is a one-second adjustment made to the Coordinated Universal Time, to keep the global clocks aligned.
Scientists are yet to give a concrete explanation for the increase witnessed in the speed but one theory that may give answers is the Chandler Wobble. Named after American astronomer, Seth Carlo Chandler, the theory talks about the deviation in the Earth’s axis of rotation. The deviation could be triggered by the activities happening in the inner or the outer layers of the core of the Earth. Tides, oceans, and even climate change may have space for contribution to the phenomenon.
The changes in the rotation of Earth can have some serious impact on the IT sector that currently dominates the world. As per a report by Interesting Engineering, the GPS satellites can become defunct if the changes occur frequently since these systems are not built to consider the changes. Moreover, many time-sensitive software systems can go rogue due to the fluctuating atomic clocks.