The Planet is Grinding to a Halt at a Speed of Two Milliseconds Per Century

By Gary Cutlack on at

Today dragging more than usual? Already done all the things you do and it's still not really time to start drinking in bed in front of Netflix? That'll probably be down to the bloody speed at which the bloody earth is spinning around the bloody sun, mate, as scientists counting things have noticed it's getting slower as the centuries pass.

Not by enough to earn a bit more of a lie in, though, as the magic numbers are "two milliseconds" and "per century," so it's not the sort of thing you'd notice. Researchers worked this out by tracking 3,000 years' worth of star records, using such things as stone carving and ancient Greek texts to record the timings of events.

So the numbers may well be a bit vague, but the team at Durham University and the Nautical Almanac Office say they fed the data into a computer, so presumably the computer made it all come right. The paper, published by the Royal Society, goes into massive scientific data, the conclusion being that yes, we're all spinning a bit slower, but no, we probably don't all need to go outside and flap our arms to try to speed it up again, as it's a variable fluctuation and we won't die from it. [Royal Society via Guardian]

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