UNITED NEWS INTERNATIONAL (UNI) — The moon might have a way to help with that “never-enough-time-in-a-day” problem.
New research suggests days on Earth are gradually getting longer because the moon is getting farther away.
Astronomers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison used statistical modeling and geographical data to conclude that each year, the Earth takes 1/75,000 of a second longer to complete a full rotation or day.
Researchers say that 1.4 billion years ago, a day on Earth lasted only 18 hours and 40 minutes.
The study — recently published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences — estimates the moon is moving about 3.8 centimeters away from Earth every year.
One study author said, “As the moon moves away, the Earth is like a spinning figure skater who slows down as they stretch their arms out.”
Still, we won’t see any major changes in the length of our days for hundreds of millions of years.