Why days on Earth are getting longer


Thanks to the same force between the Earth and its moon that regulates tides in the ocean, our days are slowly getting longer. What's even more interesting is that according to them, the moon will keep on moving further away from our planet, making days even longer than they are now.

The study's co-author, Stephen Meyers, a professor of geoscience at UW-Madison, explained it further in the statement.

The article group Mayer describes a statistical method by which they were able to calculate the speed of rotation of the Earth one and a half thousand million years ago. All the variations are called as Milankovitch cycles which determine the information on sunlight received as well as determine Earth's climate rhythms.

Earth's movement, the researchers said, is determined by the celestial bodies in its proximity such as the moon and other planets. The scientists utilized rock going back to 90 million years ago to catch environment cycles in the past, nevertheless, to no avail. The team's very ambitious goal was to develop some ancient geological time scales.

Now the Moon is moving away from Earth at a rate of 3.82 cm per year, i.e. approximately in 200 million years days will be 25 hours.

Scientists believe that when Earth and the moon were barely formed some 4.5 billion years ago, days were only five hours long.

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The study had to surpass over some challenges, such as radioisotope dating of geological samples, the lack of a clear history about the Moon, and the "solar system chaos" theory which says that any early slight variation in solar system's moving parts triggered huge variations million of years later. According to three parameters (eccentricity, obliquity and precision), he was able to establish so-called "Milankovitch cycles" that explain the natural climatic changes on Earth.

Without the moon, Earth could slow down enough to become unstable, but this would take billions of years and it may never happen at all.

He later teamed up with Professor Alberto Malinverno of Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory to combine a new statistical method with astronomical theory, geologic data and a sophisticated statistical approach called Bayesian inversion.

Many of us feel that the day has too few hours. Our moon is moving away at a rate of about 3.8 centimeters per year, which is slowly but surely changing the length of our days on Earth.

To map out the moon's historic withdrawal and our extending days, researchers didn't turn to space, but rather just the opposite - our geologic record. "We are looking at its pulsing rhythm, preserved in the rock and the history of life".