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Earth's journey is right on time
dailycamera.com ^ | Dec 30, 2003 | By Ryan Morgan, Camera Staff Writer

Posted on 12/30/2003 5:44:51 PM PST by e_engineer

The Earth won't be having seconds this year, thank you.

And that has scientists across the world — including those who run the atomic clock at the National Institute for Science and Technology in Boulder — scratching their heads.

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Take a Colorado Ski Vacation Apparently, the Earth isn't slowing down as it used to, and no one knows why.

Flip your calendar back to 1972. That's the year the world began its current system of atomic time-keeping. NIST operates one of the clocks used to set "Coordinated Universal Time."

Scientists soon discovered they had a small problem: The rate at which the Earth travels through space had slowed ever so slightly, and as a result was completing its 365-day journey around the sun one second behind schedule.

To make the world's official time agree with where the Earth actually sat in space, scientists started having the atomic clocks count an extra "leap second" on the last day of the year.

"They came close to matching it, but they had to add a second to keep it in sync," said John Lowe, a NIST researcher who works in the agency's Time and Frequency Division.

For 28 years, scientists repeated the procedure. Then, in 1999, they discovered that the Earth was no longer lagging behind. It didn't need a leap second.

This is the fifth consecutive year that the Earth hasn't lagged behind schedule.

Fred McGehan, a spokesman for NIST, said most scientists agree that the Earth has been very gradually slowing down for millennia. But, he said, they don't have a good explanation for the five years it's been on schedule.

Possible explanations include the tides, weather and changes in the Earth's core.

Contact Ryan Morgan at morganr@dailycamera.com or (303) 473-1333.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: crevolist; leapsecond; space
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Hope Dailycamera.com is allowed for full posting.

OK fellow Freepers, Why is the Earth no longer slowing down in orbit?

1 posted on 12/30/2003 5:44:52 PM PST by e_engineer
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To: e_engineer
Global cooling. Because we didn't get warmer, the energy had to go somewhere, which happens to be the offsetting of the natural slowing.

;-)
2 posted on 12/30/2003 5:49:29 PM PST by Atlas Sneezed (Police officials view armed citizens like teachers union bosses view homeschoolers.)
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To: e_engineer
Why is the Earth no longer slowing down in orbit?

I got it! Global Warming! The hotter air is making the Earth lighter!

3 posted on 12/30/2003 5:49:40 PM PST by Semper Paratus
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To: e_engineer
Al Gore hushed his mouth - I said " AAAAAlllll GGooooorrrre huuuuuuushshshshed hiiiisssss mmmououououououththth.
4 posted on 12/30/2003 5:50:24 PM PST by reed_inthe_wind (That Hillary really knows how to internationalize my MOJO.)
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To: e_engineer
Geritol
5 posted on 12/30/2003 5:52:00 PM PST by eldoradude (When all else fails, vote from the rooftops.)
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To: e_engineer
Earth would slow its rotation about the sun if it is moving farther from the sun. Therefore it is not moving farther from the sun. Why? It is possibly beginning its fall into the sun.
6 posted on 12/30/2003 5:52:46 PM PST by RightWhale (Repeal the Law of the Excluded Middle)
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To: e_engineer
"Why is the Earth no longer slowing down in orbit?"


7 posted on 12/30/2003 5:53:04 PM PST by Beck_isright ("Deserving ain't got nothing to do with it" - William Money)
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To: e_engineer
Double clutching?
8 posted on 12/30/2003 5:53:06 PM PST by gitmo (Who is John Galt?)
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To: Rose in RoseBear
curiouser ping...
9 posted on 12/30/2003 5:53:15 PM PST by Bear_in_RoseBear (... on the shores of the Sea comes the end of our fellowship in Middle-earth.)
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To: e_engineer
"OK fellow Freepers, Why is the Earth no longer slowing down in orbit?"

Careful. Its rotation about its own axis is the question. "In orbit" implies motion about the Sun.

--Boris

10 posted on 12/30/2003 5:53:34 PM PST by boris (The deadliest Weapon of Mass Destruction in History is a Leftist With a Word Processor)
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To: RadioAstronomer; Sabertooth; petuniasevan
Doesn't this effect your satellite computations? And is this effecting the other planets?
11 posted on 12/30/2003 5:55:36 PM PST by farmfriend ( Isaiah 55:10,11)
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To: Semper Paratus
**The hotter air is making the Earth lighter!***

So, what holds politicians down?
12 posted on 12/30/2003 5:56:51 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar
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To: e_engineer
OK fellow Freepers, Why is the Earth no longer slowing down in orbit?

Maybe all that ordinance falling in a small area back in the springtime scooted the ol' gal along just a bit?
13 posted on 12/30/2003 5:57:10 PM PST by timpad ("We are thankful that Liberty has found such brave defenders" - W)
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To: e_engineer
The Atomic Clock Sync app guarantees that I'm exactly 15 minutes late for wherever I have to go.
14 posted on 12/30/2003 5:57:33 PM PST by Senator Pardek
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To: e_engineer
Ah, it's the clock. Somebody probably forgot to wind the darned thing and it's running down now.
15 posted on 12/30/2003 5:58:12 PM PST by Prodigal Son
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To: e_engineer
Why is the Earth not slowing down?

My assumption is that the slowdown we have observed long-term has been due to friction, both the planet's impact with particles in its path and movement toward gravitational coupling with the Sun's rotation (like the Moon has achieved with the Earth). The first process would make the year longer (or retard its shortening), while the second process would speed the year up (although, as the year shortened, our orbit would move closer to the Sun). These countervailing processes might lead to the departures from trend we see. I don't believe in global warming, but maybe I'm wrong. If the overall temperature of the planet was increasing, would that somehow affect the length of the year?
16 posted on 12/30/2003 5:59:47 PM PST by Stirner
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To: boris; RadioAstronomer; RightWhale
Well I take it back. But I thought the "leap second" was imposed by the non-constant rate of rotation. We know the day is continually slowed by tidal forces from the Moon.

Then there's the issue of sidereal time versus Solar time...

There is also the issue of the Mean Tropical Year versus the Sidereal Year versus the Solar Year...

I'm confused.

--Boris

17 posted on 12/30/2003 6:00:11 PM PST by boris (The deadliest Weapon of Mass Destruction in History is a Leftist With a Word Processor)
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To: boris
The article refers to the 365 day journey around the sun - I think the author intends orbit, not rotation.
18 posted on 12/30/2003 6:00:50 PM PST by secretagent
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To: farmfriend
is this effecting the other planets?

They all affect each other. Another force that might be acting is magnetism. The magnetic field of the sun may have rotated or weakened so it doesn't interact with earth's mag field so strongly.

19 posted on 12/30/2003 6:01:31 PM PST by RightWhale (Repeal the Law of the Excluded Middle)
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To: e_engineer
Tailwind?
20 posted on 12/30/2003 6:02:26 PM PST by Old Professer
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To: boris
I'm confused.

Aren't we all?

21 posted on 12/30/2003 6:02:50 PM PST by RightWhale (Repeal the Law of the Excluded Middle)
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To: secretagent
"The article refers to the 365 day journey around the sun - I think the author intends orbit, not rotation."

Yes, the article is perfectly clear. The earth revolves around the sun once a year, give or take a second. This has nothing to do with the earth's daily rotation about its axis.

22 posted on 12/30/2003 6:05:10 PM PST by Neanderthal
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To: e_engineer
Now that the Solar System has moved out of a more dense part of the aether and into a less dense part, the space friction has been proportionately lessened. We should also see a cooling trend as a result.
23 posted on 12/30/2003 6:05:11 PM PST by Consort
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To: e_engineer
Whale farts are accelerating the earth!


24 posted on 12/30/2003 6:05:36 PM PST by freedumb2003 (Peace through Strength)
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To: e_engineer
Why is the Earth no longer slowing down in orbit?

Uh, I'm afraid that would be me. I had Mexican food for lunch this afternoon, and went outside to, er, "work off the effects." Must have been standing exactly 180 degrees from the direction of the Earth's rotation when I did.

My bad.

25 posted on 12/30/2003 6:06:06 PM PST by Johnny_Cipher (Dimension Zero)
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To: e_engineer
It's Bush's fault for not signing the Kyoto Protocol.
26 posted on 12/30/2003 6:06:25 PM PST by the lone wolf (Good Luck, and watch out for stobor.)
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To: e_engineer
Why is the Earth no longer slowing down in orbit?

My Metemucil finally started working.

27 posted on 12/30/2003 6:06:26 PM PST by Focault's Pendulum
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To: Focault's Pendulum
My Metemucil finally started working.

I like that one.

28 posted on 12/30/2003 6:07:40 PM PST by farmfriend ( Isaiah 55:10,11)
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To: boris
Yes, NIST agrees with you, and the author seems to have got it wrong. This is from a NIST site:

What is a leap second? A leap second is a second added to Coordinated Universal Time to make it agree with astronomical time to within 0.9 seconds. UTC is an atomic time scale, based on the performance of atomic clocks. Astronomical time is based on the rate of rotation of the Earth. Since atomic clocks are more stable than the rate at which the Earth rotates, leap seconds are needed to keep the two time scales in agreement. The first leap second occurred on June 30, 1972. There have been a total of 18 leap seconds to this date. This means that leap seconds occur at a rate of slightly less than one per year. Although it is possible to have a negative leap second (a second removed from UTC), so far, all leap seconds have been positive (a second has been added to UTC). Based on what we know about the Earth's rotation, it is unlikely that we will have a negative leap second in the foreseeable future.

Bold is my addition.

29 posted on 12/30/2003 6:08:12 PM PST by e_engineer
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To: Stirner
"My assumption is that the slowdown we have observed long-term has been due to friction, both the planet's impact with particles in its path and movement toward gravitational coupling with the Sun's rotation (like the Moon has achieved with the Earth). The first process would make the year longer (or retard its shortening), while the second process would speed the year up (although, as the year shortened, our orbit would move closer to the Sun). These countervailing processes might lead to the departures from trend we see. I don't believe in global warming, but maybe I'm wrong. If the overall temperature of the planet was increasing, would that somehow affect the length of the year?"

Very interestingly the Sun has many "modes" of "breathing". The primary mode is a very slight radial "breathing" of a few meters in diameter. The interesting thing is that it is precisely 960 minutes long. That is 2/3 of an Earth day, and I have never seen an explanation of why the SUN's internnal modes should give a rat's ass as to the length of an earth day.

There is still a debate about the "speed of gravity". Under classical mechanics (Newtonian) it is easy to show that gravity must have an infinite velocity. Otherwise the Earth and all the planets would be flung from orbit in a few thousand years due to a sort of inverse of the Poynting-Roberson effect. But general relativity resolves the issue, showing that gravity travels at the speed of light, not infinitely fast, and that planets will still stay in their proper orbits.

Interestingly, studies of the overall dynamics of the Solar System with the digital orrery at Caltech show that the solar system as a whole is chaotic and that the orbit of (e.g.) Pluto cannot be predicted with certainty into the far future. The implication is that if one planet's orbit cannot be predicted, then none of them can. However the persistence of the solar system as a stable (yet chaotic) system presents a powerful plausibility argument that things are likely to stay much the same, since they have for the last several billion years...

--Boris

30 posted on 12/30/2003 6:12:09 PM PST by boris (The deadliest Weapon of Mass Destruction in History is a Leftist With a Word Processor)
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To: farmfriend
I like that one.

My digestive system, thanks you.

31 posted on 12/30/2003 6:14:21 PM PST by Focault's Pendulum
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To: e_engineer
Well while we're all spouting blue-sky notions, let me add one.

There is a huge undiscovered mass in the vicinity of our sun. Superjovian planet, black hole, neutron star maybe.

It's on a highly elliptical orbit with a period of thousands of years. Right now it's out of our sight, but its massive gravity is affecting the earth's orbit.

Soon it will return, as it has many times in history, but this time it will come too close.

WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE.

32 posted on 12/30/2003 6:15:23 PM PST by ZOOKER
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To: Neanderthal
But see #29...
33 posted on 12/30/2003 6:16:02 PM PST by secretagent
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To: farmfriend
And is this effecting the other planets?

No. The other planets, and this one,too, were effected one time back about when God said... That effect has affected Earth ever since.

34 posted on 12/30/2003 6:19:28 PM PST by ThanhPhero (Ong lam hanh huong di La Vang)
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To: Stirner
I found this at hypertextbook.com. I think LOD = Length Of Day, but I don't know how it could be measured precisely enough to detect such small changes:

# Solar flares are known to abruptly alter the Earth's rotation. For example, the great flares of 1959 and 1972 brought abrupt changes in the LOD. Both long-term and short-term changes in solar activity alter the Earth's rotation. The 11-year, 22-year and 56-year solar cycles are conspicuous in the LOD data. Long-term (secular) changes were noted at times of fluctuations in solar activity in the past, and the evidence indicates that these changes were very likely abrupt. Observations of the LOD, like so many other geophysical phenomena, reveal the solar-FEM linkage.

I wonder if the weakened solar magnetic field (due to the solar magnetic reversal) has temporarily halted the magnetic braking of the Earth's rotation.

35 posted on 12/30/2003 6:20:57 PM PST by e_engineer
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To: e_engineer
Why is the Earth no longer slowing down in orbit?

An increasing number of fat people residing on the North American Continent which is affecting the earth's gravitational spin in a positive spin manner counteracting the negative spin effects of the fat people which dominated the European countries earlier in this century.......

36 posted on 12/30/2003 6:25:39 PM PST by Hot Tabasco (I've dealt with stupid people for over 32 years. Haven't I earned the right to just shoot them?)
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To: ZOOKER
WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE.

This statement is true.

37 posted on 12/30/2003 6:27:03 PM PST by MediaMole
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To: gitmo
Double clutching?

"Do I have to kill you? What if I was to kick the ever living sh*t out of you?" Joe Pesci-My Cousin Vinny.

You owe me a keyboard.

38 posted on 12/30/2003 6:27:22 PM PST by prolusion
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To: e_engineer
because the Earth is turning right, you know how slow the left is.
39 posted on 12/30/2003 6:27:24 PM PST by fish hawk (John 11:35 "Jesus Wept")
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To: e_engineer
excessive booty...
40 posted on 12/30/2003 6:30:09 PM PST by Robert_Paulson2 (robert... the rino... LWMPTBHFTOSTA....)
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To: prolusion
A great movie.
41 posted on 12/30/2003 6:34:00 PM PST by gitmo (Who is John Galt?)
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To: ZOOKER
What are you talking about?
42 posted on 12/30/2003 6:41:20 PM PST by fanfan ("Great spirits often encounter violent opposition from mediocre minds." A. Einstein.)
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To: e_engineer
And that has scientists across the world — including those who run the atomic clock at the National Institute for Science and Technology in Boulder — scratching their heads.

Hey,geek boys,Who said the earths orbit is static(as in unchanging).The short time that we've been measuring these things compared to the total life span of the solar system is very small.

43 posted on 12/30/2003 6:49:09 PM PST by HP8753 (Some companies should be happy with four sigma)
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To: Robert_Paulson2

See what I mean?

44 posted on 12/30/2003 6:49:48 PM PST by Robert_Paulson2 (robert... the rino... LWMPTBHFTOSTA....)
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To: ZOOKER
WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE.

Old people and minorities will be hit hardest.

45 posted on 12/30/2003 7:00:14 PM PST by Gumption
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To: e_engineer
Adkins Diet.
46 posted on 12/30/2003 7:11:04 PM PST by FreedomFarmer (Oooh. It is a lonely life: bathing, dressing, undressing, knitting exciting underwear.)
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Comment #47 Removed by Moderator

To: e_engineer
As the article says... "Possible explanations include the tides"...
48 posted on 12/30/2003 7:31:34 PM PST by jungleboy
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To: e_engineer
Does this mean that we won't need leap year next year? I hope so because then Christmas will fall on a Friday as it should! I love long weekends.
49 posted on 12/30/2003 7:32:38 PM PST by mc5cents
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To: ThanhPhero
No. The other planets, and this one,too, were effected one time back about when God said... That effect has affected Earth ever since.

Subtle. I like it, but maybe it was too subtle. ;-)

50 posted on 12/30/2003 7:38:05 PM PST by Ichneumon
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