There are certain days in our life that we would like to make them last longer, to enjoy the company of friends, couple and family. Other times we just want the day to end. Everything depends on our mood or a good or bad situation that we are living.
A group of geoscientists discovered that the days on Earth are lengthening and this is because the Moon is moving away from our planet. It is estimated that the only natural satellite on Earth moves away at a speed of 3.82 centimeters per year.
How was this conclusion reached?
Stephen Meyers, professor of geosciences at the University of Wisconsin and co-author of the study, explained that they used a statistical method known as: astrochronology or TimeOpt, which links astronomical theory with geological observations, in order to take a look at Earth’s past and in this way to be able to reconstruct the history of the Solar System and understand the old climate change.
The research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , added that 1,400 million years ago a terrestrial day lasted more than 18 hours. The main reason was that at that time the Moon was closer to Earth, so that it accelerated the speed with which it rotated on its axis.
Since then, and due to the interaction of the planet with the Moon, the days have gradually lengthened at a rate of approximately 74 thousandths of a second per year.
“AS THE MOON RECEDES, THE EARTH IS LIKE AN ARTISTIC SKATER WHO TURNS AND BRAKES WHEN HE STRETCHES HIS ARMS,” MEYERS SAYS.
Why is this phenomenon generated?
The movement of the Earth in Space is influenced by the gravitational forces exerted by both the Moon and other planets. These constantly changing forces cause variations in the rotation of the Earth on its axis, and in the orbit that the planet traces around the Sun.
These variations are known as Milankovitch cycles, named after the Serbian mathematician who studied them in the 1920s, and mark the amount of solar radiation that reaches us, this being the main factor to explain the climatic changes that leave geological tracks.
Professor Meyers explained that studying signs in ancient rocks allows us to find out the sunlight they received when they were on the surface, and thus calculate the positions of the Moon and other stars with respect to the Earth, in a determined time and resolve uncertainties.