Earth rotated much faster in 2020, but there is nothing to worry about

In 2020, it was all about COVID-19. But did you know that during the past year the Earth has broken records? And yes, since 1960 our planet has never made such rapid rotations around itself.

During 2020, researchers recorded the shortest 28 days in history. It was therefore necessary to adjust the UTC (Universal Time Coordinated), a truly exceptional operation .

Earth Rotated Much Faster In 2020 But There Is Nothing To Worry About

Photo by Gerd Altman. Pixabay credits

This event is not alarming, however. However, this can cause a mess in the alignment of atomic time with astronomical time , or even push for the removal of leap seconds from UTC.

2020 was a faster year than the others

While an astronomical day normally lasts 86,400 seconds , on July 5, 2005, the Earth broke a record by making one full rotation in 1.051 6 milliseconds shorter.

But in 2020, our planet surpassed this record more than once. Precisely, for the fastest day on record, July 19, 2020 , the Earth completed a full rotation on itself in 1.460 2 milliseconds less than the normal 86,400 seconds.

If the speed of the Earth's rotation continues to move in this direction, instead of adding one as usual, specialists may, for the first time, need to subtract a leap second, in order to adjust the 'UTC.

Moreover, if it continues in this direction, an astronomical day in 2021 will be shortened by 0.05 milliseconds and a shift of 19 milliseconds in atomic time will be there. But according to Peter Whibberley , a physicist at the National Physics Laboratory (UK), it is still too early to say whether this will happen or not.

The future of leap seconds called into question

According to the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), since 1972, in order to adjust UTC, specialists have added a leap second every and a half years.

For information, these leap seconds are very useful for synchronizing astronomical observations with UTC. And they can be burdensome for various data logging programs and telecommunications infrastructure.

Thus, many researchers at the International Telecommunication Union suggest ending the use of leap seconds. And to close the gap that this will leave between astronomical time and atomic time, the implementation of a leap hour may be the solution.

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In 2020, it was all about COVID-19. But did you know that during the past year the Earth has broken records? And yes, since 1960 our planet has never made such rapid rotations around itself.

During 2020, researchers recorded the shortest 28 days in history. It was therefore necessary to adjust the UTC (Universal Time Coordinated), a truly exceptional operation .

Earth Rotated Much Faster In 2020 But There Is Nothing To Worry About

Photo by Gerd Altman. Pixabay credits

This event is not alarming, however. However, this can cause a mess in the alignment of atomic time with astronomical time , or even push for the removal of leap seconds from UTC.

2020 was a faster year than the others

While an astronomical day normally lasts 86,400 seconds , on July 5, 2005, the Earth broke a record by making one full rotation in 1.051 6 milliseconds shorter.

But in 2020, our planet surpassed this record more than once. Precisely, for the fastest day on record, July 19, 2020 , the Earth completed a full rotation on itself in 1.460 2 milliseconds less than the normal 86,400 seconds.

If the speed of the Earth's rotation continues to move in this direction, instead of adding one as usual, specialists may, for the first time, need to subtract a leap second, in order to adjust the 'UTC.

Moreover, if it continues in this direction, an astronomical day in 2021 will be shortened by 0.05 milliseconds and a shift of 19 milliseconds in atomic time will be there. But according to Peter Whibberley , a physicist at the National Physics Laboratory (UK), it is still too early to say whether this will happen or not.

The future of leap seconds called into question

According to the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), since 1972, in order to adjust UTC, specialists have added a leap second every and a half years.

For information, these leap seconds are very useful for synchronizing astronomical observations with UTC. And they can be burdensome for various data logging programs and telecommunications infrastructure.

Thus, many researchers at the International Telecommunication Union suggest ending the use of leap seconds. And to close the gap that this will leave between astronomical time and atomic time, the implementation of a leap hour may be the solution.

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