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Earth changes its spin, baffles scientists

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  • Connie
    From: -Shiva- shivanow@pcis.net>Earth changes its spin, baffles scientists>>In a phenomenon that has scientists puzzled, the Earth is right on
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 10, 2004

      From: -Shiva- shivanow@...

      >Earth changes its spin, baffles scientists
      >In a phenomenon that has scientists puzzled, the Earth is right on
      >schedule for a fifth straight year.
      >Experts agree that the rate at which the Earth travels through space has
      >slowed ever so slightly for millennia. To make the world's official time
      >agree with where the Earth actually is in space, scientists in 1972
      >started adding an extra "leap second" on the last day of the year.
      >For 28 years, scientists repeated the procedure. But in 1999, they
      >discovered the Earth was no longer lagging behind.
      >At the National Institute for Science and Technology in Boulder, spokesman
      >Fred McGehan said most scientists agree the Earth's orbit around the sun
      >has been gradually slowing for millennia. But he said they don't have a
      >good explanation for why it's suddenly on schedule.
      >Possible explanations include the tides, weather and changes in the
      >Earth's core, he said.
      >The leap second was an unexpected consequence of the 1955 invention of the
      >atomic clock, which use the electromagnetic radiation emanated by Cesium
      >atoms to measure time. It is extremely reliable.
      >Atomic-based Coordinated Universal Time was implemented in 1972,
      >superseding the astronomically determined Greenwich Mean Time.
      >Leap seconds can be a big deal, affecting everything from communication,
      >navigation and air traffic control systems to the computers that link
      >global financial markets.

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