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With the Earth rotating faster, scientists are considering taking one second off our clocks

With the Earth rotating faster, scientists are considering taking one second off our clocks

The disparity between atomic and astronomical time poses a challenge to technologists. (picture information)

In an unprecedented achievement, World time keepers could be forced to set our clocks by going back one secondknown as “Second negative jump”in about 2029 due to rotation LandIt's accelerating. According to a study published in the journal natureThis will be the first time in history that the need to subtract time from our clocks has been considered, highlighting an unusual period in Earth's dynamics.

“We are on our way to a second negative jump; “It's just a matter of time,” he said. Dennis McCarthyformer time manager of United States Naval Observatorywho did not participate in the study.

Led study Duncan Agnewgeophysicist Scripps Institution of Oceanography Follower University of California in San DiegoHe attributes this unprecedented phenomenon to several factors, including changes in the Earth's hot liquid core and the accelerated melting of polar ice.

“It's not a big change in turnover Land This will lead to some disaster, but it is a wonderful thing. “This is another indication that we are in a very unusual time,” Agnew noted. This process reflects how subtle changes in the distribution of mass and energy within a planet can have distinct effects on our perception of time.

Since the adoption of atomic clocks as the official time standard more than 55 years ago, a discrepancy has emerged between astronomical time and atomic time.

Sidereal time has lagged behind atomic time by 2.5 milliseconds every day, primarily due to tides generated by lunar clouds. To compensate, international time keepers have been adding extra seconds, known as leap seconds, since 1972. However, the recent acceleration of leap seconds Land It led to the possibility of having to make the opposite adjustment.

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“What is the need for this time adjustment when it causes so many problems?” McCarthy asked, pointing to the complications caused by leap seconds in global computing systems.

Letters of News He pointed out that in 2012, important systems faced problems due to modification, which affected platforms and companies such as Reddit, linux And Qantas Airlines. The situation is further complicated by the fact that the satellite system Russia It is based on sidereal time, which can cause problems if leap seconds are omitted.

Current technologies complicate the process of merging leap seconds. (picture information)

To address these challenges, Universal Time managers decided in 2022 that starting in the 2030s, they would change the criteria for inserting or removing the leap second, making their use much less likely. At the same time, you love technology companies Google And Amazon They implemented their own solution to the problem, by “stretching” milliseconds over the course of an entire day.

CBS News He noted that experts are still divided on whether it would actually be necessary to implement a negative jump of a second, due to the unpredictable nature of the factors that affect the Earth's rotation.

“This is not a process in which the past is a good predictor of the future.” pass Judah Levin,Physical division of time and frequency National Institute of Standards and TechnologyWhich indicates that it is difficult to predict long-term trends accurately.