Days feel longer? Blame the Moon for moving slowly away from Earth

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The moon is believed to be about 4.5 billion years old and is positioned at a distance of about 239000 miles away from Earth.

Days on Earth are getting longer due to the moon's effects on how to Earth spins on its axis. What's even more interesting is that according to them, the moon will keep on moving further away from our planet, making days even longer than they are now. A new study led by researchers at the University of Wisconsin - Madison reveals that ancient Earth had much shorter days, and the 24-hour days that we experience in modern times come courtesy of the Moon.

The two combined their work on statistics and astronomical theory to create a method they call TimeOptMCMC. These impacts known as Milankovitch Cycles also tend to affect the environment of the Earth by affecting the way the rays of Sun is distributed.

The movement of all planets is affected by other astronomical objects that surround them, based upon their size, mass density and distance; all stars, planets, and moon exert a gravitational pull on each other. The researchers used Milankovitch climate cycles and statistical modelling to study the relationship between the Earth and the Moon. They found the moon moved approximately 44,000 kilometers (27,340 miles) away from Earth in the last 1.4 billion years and is now drifting at a rate of 3.82 centimeters (1.5 inches) every year.

When geologists say that billions of years ago the Earth was different, it usually is about oxygen-free atmosphere, hot climate, unrecognizable shapes of continents and oceans.

Prof. Meyers and his team are seeking better ways of knowing what our planetary neighbours were doing billions of years ago.

Using such an approach, Meyers and colleagues assessed variations in Earth's axis of rotation both in more recent and earlier times, while also addressing uncertainty.

We've all wished for more hours in the day. This approach was tested on two stratigraphic rock layers: The 1.4-billion-year-old Xiamaling Formation from northern China and a 55-million-year-old record from Walvis Ridge, in the southern Atlantic Ocean.

One day, as Meyers went to Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and gave a speech, he met Alberto Malinverno, Lamont Research Professor at Columbia. "They are like signposts on a trail, allowing us to navigate geological history", said Meyers. The results helped them look back at the history of the solar system as well as Earth's geologic past, without any uncertainties. "We are looking at its pulsing rhythm, preserved in the rock and the history of life", Meyers said in the statement. It received funding from the National Science Foundation.

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