Scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have discovered that a day on Earth could eventually extend to 25 hours, Report informs, citing earth.com.
The research marks a significant advancement in understanding Earth’s rotation through rotational dynamics.
Contrary to common belief, Earth’s rotation does not adhere to a precise 24-hour cycle. This inconsistency is attributed to the Earth’s heterogeneous composition—a blend of various solids and liquids, each influencing the planet’s rotational speed.
“Fluctuations in rotation are not only important for astronomy, we also urgently need them to create accurate climate models and to better understand weather phenomena like El Niño,” said Ulrich Schreiber, the project lead at the Observatory for TUM. “And the more precise the data, the more accurate the predictions.”
TUM’s breakthrough centers on the enhancement of a ring laser, a sophisticated device capable of measuring the Earth’s rotation with remarkable precision.
This laser, housed within the Geodetic Observatory Wettzell, operates within a specially designed pressurized chamber buried 20 feet underground. It comprises a laser ring gyroscope and a 13.1-foot-wide “racetrack,” all meticulously calibrated to ensure that external factors minimally influence the laser’s readings.
Interestingly, the Earth’s day length has been gradually increasing over time. During the era of the dinosaurs, a day lasted only 23 hours, and 1.4 billion years ago, it was a mere 18 hours and 41 minutes.