According to new researchers, the moon is slowly moving away from the Earth, making the days longer.
For about 4.5 billion years old and some 3, 85,000 kilometers (2, 39,000 miles) away from the Earth, Moon, due to tidal forces in between the both, is slowly spiraling away at a rate of about 3.82 centimeters (1.5 inches) a year, causing the Earth to rotate more slowly around the moon’s axis.
With the aid of astrochronology, a new statistical method used by astronomers peered down Earth’s deep geologic past and reconstructed an entire history. The finding of the studies revealed that just around 1.4 billion years ago, the moon was relatively close to the Earth, making the planet spin faster. The University of Wisconsin-Madison confirmed the revelation of the studies saying back during that time the days on Earth used to be just over 18 hours.
Study co-author Stephen Meyers, also a professor of geoscience at UW-Madison says – the Earth is like a spinning figure skater which slows down as it stretches its arms out, as it so happens with the Moon moving away. He also stated that one of the primary purposes of using astrochronology was to tell about the time of the earliest past, to know and say about the ancient geological era. Such studies enable us to speak about rocks which may be billions or more number of years old, the same way we can study present geological processes.
The combination of astronomical theory with geological observation is what astrochronology is all about. It further allows researchers to rebuild the history of our solar system and helps understand better ancient climate changes as restored in the rocks.
The moon and other elements in the solar system significantly influence the Earth’s rotation, making orbital variations called as called Milankovitch cycles. Ultimately, based on the Earth’s rotation and tilt, these variations decide where and how sunlight is distributed on earth.
Through an examination of the captured geological records of the rock layers and taking into consideration the measures of uncertainty in Earth’s rotation, orbit, and the distance between the Earth and the Moon throughout history, it will give the researchers the in-depth analysis as to how the length of days on Earth have changed.
According to Meyers- These geological records serves as an astronomical observatory that tells us about our early solar system. When we look at them, it tells us about its rhythm that gets preserved in the rocks and the history.