Earth’s shortest-ever day has scientists panicking over possible ‘devastating’ effects

Earth’s shortest-ever day has scientists panicking over possible ‘devastating’ effects

Earth has recorded its shortest day on record, sparking panic among scientists.

A miniscule 1.59 milliseconds was shaved off the normal 24-hour rotation on June 29, due to the planet’s “wobble” reducing.

But experts say if it keeps happening, a “negative second” will need to be removed from atomic clocks. And the impact on software could lead to satellites crashing, corrupted data, wrong time stamps and mass outages for vital systems – from banking to hospitals.

The timeanddate website warned after the June 29 shortest day: “If Earth’s fast rotation continues, it could lead to the introduction of the first-ever negative leap second.

“A negative leap second would mean that our clocks skip one second, which could potentially create problems for IT systems.”

Facebook owner Meta said late last month in a blog a negative leap second could have a “devastating effect”.

It added: “The impact of a negative leap second has never been tested on a large scale; it could have a devastating effect on the software relying on timers or schedulers.

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