The light of the sun was giving away to the dark night when the Gifted Four returned to MysticLand. It was July 26. They had spent a wonderful day in the human realm, playing games, eating ice creams and seeing beautiful landmarks.
Felix yawned a big wide yawn, “Today was such a great day! Time really flew past us!”
Verum was staring into her crystal ball with a distracted expression and listening to her friend with half of her attention. Suddenly, she looked up and said, “Oh, Felix! You’re right about this in a literal sense. Today, the Earth has experienced its second-shortest day since the 1960s. And June 29 was the shortest day.”
“What are you talking about?” said Scorch with a puzzled expression as she plopped onto her bed.
“Do you know what constitutes one day?” said Verum.
“Of course,” said Orak, “The time taken by the Earth to complete one rotation around its axis makes a day. An axis is an imaginary straight line running through the poles. This rotation takes about 24 hours.”
“Correct, but this period is much more precise than we believe it to be. The Earth takes approximately 8,640,000 milliseconds to complete one rotation,” explained Verum, “A millisecond is one-thousandth of a second. So, you can see that a day can vary by only a tiny amount of time. Devices called atomic clocks keep a precise track of time.
On June 29, the Earth completed a rotation in 1.59 milliseconds less than usual while today, on July 26, it completed a rotation in 1.5 milliseconds less.”
“So, is the Earth’s rotation becoming faster?” said Felix.
“That’s a tricky question,” replied Verum, “On one hand, such shorter days are happening more often than ever. In 2020, the Earth had 28 of the shortest days in 50 years with the shortest one being July 19 with 1.47 milliseconds less. The cause behind this is still unknown, but scientists have many theories. They include changes in the Earth’s inner layers and even global warming.
However, if you look at the long term, the Earth’s days are growing longer. About 1.4 billion years ago, a day would be about 19 hours.”
“Wow, that’s fascinating,” said Orak.