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Earth Is Spinning So Fast Scientists Are Considering Removing Time From The Day

Tom Wood

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Earth Is Spinning So Fast Scientists Are Considering Removing Time From The Day

Just in case your levels of existential dread are a little low at the minute, how about learning about the fact that the earth is rotating so fast scientists are considering wiping a second from time for the first time ever?

Don't worry, this is unlikely to affect you in any way whatsoever, but maybe you didn't know about the fact that the speed at which the world turns around its axis is by no means a constant.

You see, the official time-keepers of the world have noticed that the world is currently spinning at the quickest pace in 50 years, and this means that the days on earth - historically around exactly 24 hours - are slightly shorter.

Now that the world is spinning quicker, the scientists who control the time of our planet are considering adding in a 'negative leap second' to account for the slightly shorter days.


This would be the first time ever that this has happened.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

However, it's nothing new to be adding leap seconds, it's just they've never taken one away.

There have actually been 27 'leap seconds' added to the world's official time since the 1970s, which has made up time for the earth's relatively lazy rotation.


Now we're rotating faster, the time must be retained.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Peter Whibberley, a senior research scientist from the National Physical Laboratory's time and frequency group, said: "It is certainly correct that the Earth is spinning faster now than at any time in the last 50 years.

"It's quite possible that a negative leap second will be needed if the Earth's rotation rate increases further, but it's too early to say if this is likely to happen.

"There are also international discussions taking place about the future of leap seconds, and it's also possible that the need for a negative leap second might push the decision towards ending leap seconds for good."

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

The phone in your pocket is not going to notice any change that they might impose, as they're way too inaccurate for that.

However, the world does have a number of atomic clocks that are incredibly accurate. Like, to within incredibly tiny increments of accuracy.

A normal day lasts 86,400 seconds, but as of mid-2020, the world was regularly beneath that number.


19 July 2020 lasted a full 1.4602 milliseconds less than a full 24 hours, which is the shortest day since they started recording.

It's the 28th time in the past year that record has been broken.

While an added second has in the past caused problems for computer programs and websites because they can't handle the slight change, there's not a great deal in this to trouble the average person.

Still, it's pretty interesting, right?

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Science, World News, Interesting, Technology

Tom Wood
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