General, Research, Technology

In 2020, the Earth was spinning at an increased speed. Why is it dangerous?

It is generally accepted in society that in one day 24hours. It is during this time that the Earth makes a full revolution around its axis and goes through one cycle of morning, afternoon, evening and night. But from a scientific point of view, things are not so simple. The fact is that scientists know several types of days at once and the closest to the usual 24 hours are average solar day... Since about the 1970s, to determine the exacttime scientists use an atomic clock that can measure time with millisecond precision. If you look at these hours, then there are not always 24 hours in a day. Usually our planet spins slowly and takes a little longer to complete a circle. Sometimes scientists even came to the conclusion that every year the Earth spins more and more slowly. But on July 19, 2020, the Earth completed a revolution on its axis in record time. The exact cause of this phenomenon is not yet known, but it can cause some problems.

In 2020, the Earth set a rotation speed record

Rotation of the Earth around its axis

An unusual phenomenon was reported in TheTelegraph. For the first time in the history of observations, the Earth did not rotate slower than the usual 24 hours, but faster. So, July 19, 2020 turned out to be one of the shortest days in history. It turned out to be 1.4602 milliseconds shorter than usual. It may seem to many that a thousandth of a second is a negligible figure. Indeed, even when blinking, a person closes his eyes for 400 milliseconds, which is much more than this figure. But scientists believe that a sudden acceleration of the Earth's rotation around its axis can have unpleasant consequences.

The change of day and night is due to the rotation of the Earth

It should not affect people's health andstate of nature. But throughout history, mankind has created many devices, the operation of which is strictly time dependent. An example is GPS satellite navigation, which at the time of its invention back in 1973 was used only for military purposes. But at the moment the movement of cars and just the movement of people depends on it. If the Earth suddenly starts spinning faster, the positioning accuracy may deteriorate markedly. And this can cause serious consequences, up to the occurrence of accidents.

Read also: New version of GPS will be launched in 2023. What's new?

Why does the Earth's rotation speed change?

What exactly did the Earth do last yearthe record speed around its axis is still unknown to scientists. They know very well that a huge number of different factors can affect this. Sometimes the speed changes due to the attraction of the moon. But this indicator can also be affected by such non-obvious factors as the amount of snowfall in the polar regions of the planet. Moreover, the speed of rotation of the Earth can change even due to leaf fall in the forests of Russia and Canada.

Even leaf fall can affect the Earth's rotation rate

Scientists have not yet come to a consensus abouthow they need to respond to an unusual occurrence. Perhaps this is really a one-off event and there is absolutely nothing to worry about. Indeed, in the past year, our planet has really undergone many changes. At least due to the quarantine associated with the coronavirus pandemic, many people stayed at home and the air in cities became cleaner. This could also become a significant factor that led to a sudden acceleration of the Earth's rotation. The fires, which blazed especially strongly in California in 2020, could also have contributed. After all, if you remember, because of the fire, even the sky turned red and everything that happened looked like the end of the world.

California fires really looked like the end of the world

It is also possible that the Earth periodicallyitself accelerates and this is completely normal for her. Such accelerations could have occurred before, people just did not notice it. After all, attention, we are talking about milliseconds. Most of the time, we don't even notice when we blink. And careful time tracking began only in the second half of the 20th century. And we have a lot to learn about our planet and the time that passes on it.

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If you are wondering how the atomic clock works,I recommend reading this material. In it, the author of Ilya Khel spoke in detail about the principle of their work and even explained whether they are radioactive or not. He also touched upon the history of the creation of atomic clocks and the measurement of atomic time. In general, it turned out to be a very detailed article that will definitely expand your horizons. Enjoy reading!