Earth changes its spin, baffles scientists
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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