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Leap Second tonight, a (very slightly) longer lie in tomorrow


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Isn't it awful that the Earth can't keep time with the clocks? Can't we get it fixed or something?

James

The length of a second is the speed of rotation of the earth in 1860 devided by 86400. As forces exerted on the earth by the moon are causing the earth to slow down, there will be increasing numbers of leap seconds needed to keep the two in sync.

Edited by TheNorthernMonkey
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Artificially keeping the earth spin at a constant rate by use of hypothetical rocket devices could indeed spare the need for such leap seconds, but it would not not prevent the moon from drifting away from the earth in terms of distance.

If we could move the moon closer to the earth so that the moon's orbital period is equal to the earth's rotational period, and have the moon at geostationary position above, say, the mid-pacific ocean , then

a] the earth would not slow down in rotation as much ( ok there are other factors other than lunar tidal friction, but they're relatively minor, such as Sun's gravity effects on earth, and the mean frictional forces exerted by dust/meteors/other natural debris falling to the earth)

b] the moon would be out of the sky all the time, as viewed from Greenwich line of longitude

c] but alas, you'd still have to travel to the mid-pacific ocean to see any eclipse ... so no change to what we're already used to then

... and it would be a very dark eclipse too.

Edited by PortableAstronomer
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