For billions of years, the moon is making days longer as it is moving away from Earth causing it to move slowly. Now as it moves away, the days are meant to get longer, eventually even resulting in an added hour in the daytime.
Dr. Stephen Meyers of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Alberto Malinverno of Columbia University used statistical modeling, geological data and astronomical theory to track the moon's movements back more than 1.4 billion years.
To rule out and compensate for such irregularities the scientists developed a new statistical model, called TimeOpt, this model allowed them to correctly map their geological data with now available astronomical theories. These variations ultimately determine where sunlight is distributed on Earth, based on the planet's rotation and tilt. According to three parameters (eccentricity, obliquity and precision), he was able to establish so-called "Milankovitch cycles" that explain the natural climatic changes on Earth. According to Meyers, his team had the ambition of using astrochronology to tell time in the distant past and to develop very ancient geological time scales. However, due to tidal forces between our planet and the moon, the natural satellite slowly spirals away from Earth at a rate of 3.78cm (1.48in) per year, or at about the same speed at which our fingernails grow.
A brand new research, printed as we speak in Proceedings of the Nationwide Academy of Sciences, reveals that 1.4billion years in the past, a day on Earth lasted simply over 18 hours.
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Experts believe that the reason for changing the time of day in the direction of increase are changes in climate that affect the Earth's position in space. It would take some "hundreds of millions of years" for the moon to get so far from the Earth that the duration of a day would need to be recalculated. If humans are still around at the time, the length of a day will have to be recalculated from 24 hours to 25 hours.
"In the future, we want to expand the work into different intervals of geologic time", says Malinverno. Elsewhere, researchers in New Zealand who worked closely with Meyers studied how changes in Earth's orbit and rotation around its axis impacted the cycles of evolution and extinction in marine organisms called graptoloids, going back 450 million years.
Meyers brought the problem to a presentation he gave at Columbia's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in 2016.
With the help of a new process which is known as the astrochronology, the astronomers analyzed deeper into Earth's geological past and tried to reframe our planet's history. "We are looking at its pulsing rhythm, preserved in the rock and the history of life", Meyers said in the statement.