Scientists have found that days are getting longer since the Moon drifts farther from Earth. However, one day on our planet will gain an extra hour after 200 million years.
Researchers estimate that, 1.4 billion years ago, a day on Earth was 18-hours-long because our planet had a faster rotation around its axis. Also, the Moon was much closer to us, which has a major influence on Earth’s rotating speed.
Scientists found that our natural satellite gets 3.82 cm farther from us each year, a phenomenon that adds an extra two milliseconds to a day on Earth every 100 years. In millions of years, the day will see a significant lengthening.
Our planet’s journey in space is impacted by the gravity of other space bodies like the Moon and other planets. The forces exerted by these outer bodies can influence Earth’s rotation speed and axis and spur variations.
Time Has Changed on Our Planet
The variations have been tracked for decades and are called Milankovitch cycles. The cycles influence our planet’s climate rhythms and how the sunlight reaches Earth’s surface.
Over the last few billions of years, the length of a day has changed on our planet because the solar system includes many space bodies that influenced our planet. Scientists explained that small variations can lead to major changes over millions of years. However, pinpointing the exact source of these small changes has been impossible.
In 2017, researcher Stephen Meyers was able to understand these variations by analyzing a 90 million-year-old soil sample that contained layers which tell a story about our planet’s ancient climate cycles.
However, the records were less and less reliable the older the layers were. Meyers’ team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have managed to recreate an ancient geological time scale, using the knowledge offered by astrochronology.
A study on their findings appeared this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Image Source: Pixabay
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