Timekeepers contemplate deleting a second as Earth spins at its fastest in 50 years
New Delhi | Jagran Trending Desk: Earth is spinning faster on its axis than it has in the past 50 years, prompting calls for the deletion of a second from the atomic time to keep it aligned with the solar time.
According to a report by Daily Mail, the international time keepers observed July 19, 2020 to be 1.4602 milliseconds shorter than 24 hours -- the largest deviation since 1960s, when scientists began keeping ultra-precise records of day length with atomic clocks.
Even the slightest of deviation in the atomic and solar time can have wide-reaching implications, since satellites and communication equipment rely on their precise alignment. For decades, earth took slightly longer than 24 hours to complete the rotation. In order to keep the solar and atomic time aligned, timekeepers at the Paris-based International Rotational Service added 'leap seconds' to a day on 27 separate occasions, the last one being as recently as 2016 New Year's Eve.
Now, with the Earth's rotation getting slower, the timekeepers are ponder about adding a 'negative leap second' for the first time since the invention of atomic clocks.
"It is certainly correct that the Earth is spinning faster now than at any time in the last 50 years," The Telegraph quoted Peter Whibberley, a senior research scientist with National Physical Laboratory's time and frequency group, as saying.
"It is quite possible that a negative leap second will be needed if the Earth's rotation rate increases further, but it is too early to say if this is likely to happen. There are also international discussions taking place about the future of leap seconds, and it is also possible that the need for a negative leap second might push the decision towards ending leap second for good."
Posted By: Lakshay Raja