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Yes, you heard it right. The Earth is speeding up, prompting suggestions to shorten the minute by a second.

2021 is slated to be about 19 milliseconds short of a typical year, with an average daily deficit of 0.5 milliseconds

1 According to data shared by TimeAndDate.com, the 24-hour daily rotation is decreasing incrementally, making the day marginally-shorter 

2 Though the planet’s rotation rate speed up or slow down slightly day to day due to the natural terrestrial and celestial alterations, astronomical calendar trends indicate that recent years have become shorter, overall 

3 According to experts, while the addition of a so-called ‘negative leap second’ has never been done before, a total of 27 ‘leap seconds’ have been added since the 1970s, in order to keep the atomic time in line with the solar time. This is because, for decades, the Earth has taken slightly-longer than 24 hours to complete a rotation. However, since last year, it has been taking slightly less time to complete a rotation

WHY IT IS SIGNIFICANT

➤Though this diminutive loss of time is only detectable at the atomic level, it has wide-reaching implications, say experts 

➤Satellites and communications equipment rely on the true time aligning with the solar time, which is determined by the positions of the stars, Moon and the sun 

➤In fact, some of the web’s most-popular sites were laid low on July 1, 2012, after the world’s timekeepers added an extra second to the day. Sites including Reddit, FourSquare, Yelp, LinkedIn, Gawker and StumbleUpon crashed, after the extra second played havoc with their servers and source code

THE TIMELINE

Since the 1960s, the atomic clocks have been keeping ultra-precise records of the day’s length and found that for the past 50 years, the Earth has taken a fraction less than 24 hours (86,400 seconds) to complete one rotation. However, in the middle of 2020, this long-standing trend was reversed, and days are now regularly shorter than 86,400 seconds 

On July 19, 2020, the day was 1.4602 milliseconds shorter than the full 24 hours – the shortest day since the records began 

Prior to 2020, the shortest day occurred in 2005, but this record has been shattered a staggering 28 times in the last 12 months On an average, the days are now passing 0.5 seconds shy of 24 full hours 

The next possible date for a leap second is June 30, 2021, as leap seconds are always added on the last day of June or Dec

Did you know?

The world timekeepers are debating whether to delete a second from time — called a negative leap second — to account for the change, and bring the time passage back into line with the rotation of the Earth

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