Study finds that days on Earth are getting longer - here's why

Longer days The earth and the moon

The moon's retreat causes Earth to spin more slowly on its axis, increasing the amount of daily sunlight a given region receives. As the Moon gets farther away, it slows down Earth's rotation, and working backwards from the present day the researchers determined that around 1.4 billion years ago the Moon would have been close enough that a day on our planet would have lasted just 18 hours.

With a better understanding of the ancient relationship between Earth and the moon, we can now count on its constant retreat of 3.82 centimeters per year to lengthen our day. Meyer estimated as to how the Earth rotated near about a billion years ago.

As per the new research, it is seen that the moon is slowly moving away from us and as result days are becoming longer on Earth.

You live here, so we figure you ought to be well grounded in Earth facts.

As people get older, they often feel like Earth's days are getting shorter. This factor influenced the number of hours in the day.

Together with Earth scientist Alberto Malinverno of Columbia University, Meyers developed a system called TimeOptMCMC which combines astronomical theory, geologic data and a statistical approach called Bayesian inversion to help deal with uncertainty.


Another team in New Zealand worked with Professor Meyers to identify how changes in Earth's orbit and rotation on its axis have affected cycles of evolution and extinction of marine organisms called graptoloids, going back 450 million years.

Earth's movement in space is influenced by the other astronomical bodies that exert force on it, like other planets and the moon.

Milankovitch cycles collectively refer to three dominant cycles of variations in the Earth's eccentricity, axial tilt, and precession. However, regarding our planet's ancient past, which spans billions of years, this geological record is fairly limited, researchers said in the statement. In an effort to reconstruct the cycles further back in time than researchers have ever been able to before, the geoscientists united records of Milankovitch cycles with geological records by an aid of a new computer model. One layer was taken from a 55 million-year-old rock from the Walvis Ridge in the Atlantic Ocean, and the other taken from a 1.4 billion-year-old rock from Northern China. This is how they were able to determine the length of the day, and also the distance between Earth and the moon, for various periods.

The study had to surpass over some challenges, such as radioisotope dating of geological samples, the lack of a clear history about the Moon, and the "solar system chaos" theory which says that any early slight variation in solar system's moving parts triggered huge variations million of years later. "We are looking at its pulsing rhythm, preserved in the rock and the history of life".

Previous simulations showed that when the satellite formed 4.5 billion years ago, it was just 22,500 kilometers (13,981 miles) away.

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