Planet Earth has been gradually spinning faster and faster on its axis leading to the shortest day ever, so far, on June 29, 2022.
June 29 was 1.59 milliseconds shorter than the average day, according to EarthSky. The shortened day is the latest in a series of record-breaking speed records for our home planet since around 2020, the outlet noted.
Earth was gradually slowing down, which is why we have to add a leap day every four years to make up for the additional time, according to EarthSky. Researchers are unsure why Earth suddenly started speeding up in recent years but will present ideas at the 19th annual meeting of the Asia Oceania Geosciences Society (AOGS), the outlet reported.
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“Since 2016 the Earth started to accelerate,” published researcher Leonid Zotov told CBS. “This year it rotates quicker than in 2021 and 2020.” He will present data arguing that the shortening of our days is caused by the Chandler wobble at the AOGS meeting, according to Earth Sky.
The Chandler Wobble is a small, irregular movement in the poles, according to the outlet. “The normal amplitude of the Chandler wobble is about three to four meters at Earth’s surface, but from 2017 to 2020, it disappeared,” Zotov said.
In 2020, Earth had 28 of the shortest days experienced in the last 50 years, the Guardian reported. However, scientists believe that days were once significantly shorter than they are now, lasting just 19 hours some 1.4 billion years ago, the outlet noted. (RELATED: Scientists Stunned By What They’re Seeing In New Images Of Deep Space)
Should we keep speeding up as we hurtle through the voids of the universe, we may well need to create a negative leap-second, according to the outlet. This would keep Earth’s atomic clocks in symbiosis with solar time, EarthSky noted.