Scientists baffled as Earth’s spin mysteriously slows down: ‘We’ve run into trouble’

THE PLANET has unexpectedly decided to spin a bit slower this year and scientists have so far been unable to make heads or tails of this behaviour.

Early last year, scientists noted the Earth had begun to spin a bit faster around its axis. After the chaos and turmoil of 2020, the news was likely welcomed by most as it meant the new year would arrive a tad bit sooner than expected. The sped-up rotation continued through the first half of this year but the planet appears to have had a change of heart and is now spinning at a slower rate.

On average, the planet completes a full rotation around its central axis every 86,400 seconds or 24 hours.

In practice, however, each spin can vary in time by fractions of a second, which over time can add to full seconds.

Today, scientists keep track of the time with the aid of atomic clocks, which set the standard for Universal Coordinated Time (UTC).

These ultra-accurate clocks keep a measure of the time by observing the movement of electrons in atoms chilled to absolute zero (−273.15C).


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