Wish you had an extra hour? Turns out, days ARE getting longer thanks to the moon!
Have you ever wished you could have juuust a couple more hours a day so you could get your work done? ? Or a few extra hours to be able to get some well rested sleep? Not to forget the dreaded nights before a major exam where you just wished you had a few more hours to cram. Well, wish no more- Longer days are on its way! …In a couple billion years, of course. ?
Astrochronology is a new method that allows researchers to reconstruct the history of the solar system by combining astronomical theory with geological data. “By studying the rock record, we can look back in time and reconstruct climate systems,” Meyers said. ?? “The rock record has proven to be absolutely essential to understanding how the climate system works, how ice ages happen and the instability of ice sheets. The geologic record is an astronomical observatory for the early Solar System, We are looking at its pulsing rhythm, preserved in the rock and the history of life.” ?
Using astrochronology, Researchers at Columbia University and the University of Wisconsin–Madison were able to look into the Earth’s geological past and reveal the planet’s history. ?
Did you know that around 1.5 billion years back, days were only 18 hours long? This means we’ve gained an extra 6 hours since then, which amounts to a very insignificant 0.00001542857 seconds a year ⏳
At that rate, in around more than 3.3 million years, we might just be able to gain an extra minute. However, the earth-moon distance as reconstructed showed that the amount of time we gain every day may slowly be growing over time. ?
And it’s all thanks to the Moon. The moon is constantly, and VERY, VERY slowly, moving away from us causing our planet to rotate more slowly around its axis. Over the last 1.5 billion years, the Moon has drifted more than 27,000 miles away from the Earth, and it is currently almost 239,000 miles away. ?
Along with this, the Earth’s rotation slows down by 1.78 milliseconds a century, slowly adding up over billions of years to result in longer days.
“As the moon moves away, the Earth is like a spinning figure skater who slows down as they stretch their arms out”, says geoscientist Stephen Meyers. In the future, the researchers want to use their approach to reconstruct the evolution of the Solar System going back billions of years. ?
So looks like we won’t be getting any extra work done in the near future after all. But hey, let’s be honest. We all know we were just going to use that extra hour for a sleep-in anyway. ?
Written and Researched by Najah Bashir