Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Scientists: moon is responsible for longer days on Earth

The Moon and the Earth GETTYLonger days The moon drifting away from Earth is making the days longer
Elijah Vega | 07 June, 2018, 16:59

We know the Moon is 4.5 billion years old - but if we extrapolate back the current rate, the Moon would have been so close to Earth 1.5 billion years ago that it would have been ripped apart by the planet's gravitational forces.

Many of us have suspected it during long, boring meetings, but the days on our planet are actually getting longer - and eventually, there will be 25 hours in a day. A new study led by researchers at the University of Wisconsin - Madison reveals that ancient Earth had much shorter days, and the 24-hour days that we experience in modern times come courtesy of the Moon.

The researchers integrated a sophisticated statistical method called "TimeOpt" with tools from astronomy and geology to get a better handle on our planet's uncertain past.

All of these variations are known as the Milankovitch cycles and they are used to find out where sunlight reaches Earth and also determine the planet's climate patterns. The earth's movement is reportedly affected by celestial bodies exerting their forces on it. The distance between the Earth and Sun varies, and the amount of solar radiation received on Earth also changes affecting the climate.

According to a new research co-authored by Stephen Meyers, Ph.D., at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Alberto Malinverno, Ph.D., a research professor at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, the moon is now moving away from the Earth at a rate of 3.82 centimeters per year adding 2 milliseconds to Earth days every century. "One of our ambitions was to use astrochronology to tell time in the most distant past, to develop very ancient geological time scales".

For instance, the moon is now moving away from Earth at a rate of 3.82 cm per year but looking back in the years presents some serious problem. The study claimed that, at that time, one day had just eighteen hours.

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As the Earth's rotation gradually winds down, the moon moves further away. Rock can offer a record of some of these changes over hundreds of million years.

To map out the moon's historic withdrawal and our extending days, researchers didn't turn to space, but rather just the opposite - our geologic record.

The group research studies 2 stratigraphic rock layers i.e. 55 million-year-old record from Walvis Ridge and 1.4 billion-year-old Xiamaling Development discovered in Northern China.

For those who want the day to have more hours, a group of american geoscientists have good news for you: the days on earth are actually getting longer.

Meyers said the new geological record would ultimately prove an "astronomical observatory" for the early solar system. So, they used astrochronology, a method that connects both astronomical theory with geological observation.

This is why study Meyers worked in conjunction with Columbia University's Alberto Malinverno. "We are looking at its pulsing rhythm, preserved in the rock and the history of life".

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