Shortest day in history


On June 29, the Earth completes its fastest spin ever.

The days are becoming shorter, it's true. The National Physical Laboratory in England reports that on June 29, the shortest day ever observed on Earth ended 1.59 milliseconds earlier than usual.

Our daily cycle of dawn and sunset is determined by the rotation of the Earth on its axis. It takes 24 hours, or 86,400 seconds, for one rotation.

The smallest number of days on record for the Earth occurred in 2020, when there were just 28 of them. The 26th of July was 1.5 milliseconds earlier than normal only last month.

With the development of atomic clocks in the 1960s, scientists started counting the number of hours in each day. According to, the Earth's rotation typically appears to be slowing over a significant amount of time.

However, the rate at which the Earth spins can vary from day to day.

What may be accelerating the Earth's rotation?

There are several causes, and experts are unsure of which one is the main culprit. The moon, seas, inner or outer layers of the Earth, or even the temperature, may have an effect on the spinning speed of the planet.

The "Chandler wobble," which is a little, erratic departure in the Earth's points of rotation with respect to the solid Earth, is one theory as to why it may be the cause.

A "negative leap second," or one second skipped at the end of the year, could be required if the Earth's rotation continues to speed up. Leap seconds have been introduced in the past; they are normally added in June or December. The first leap second was inserted in 1972.


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