While a negative leap second might be a first for the world, a shift in the literal earthly timeline is nothing new. As the Daily Mail points out, since the 1970s, 27 leap seconds have been added to time to align atomic time with solar time.
Leap seconds are added when the Earth takes more than 24 hours to complete a single rotation and this has happened quite a bit over the past few decades. Scientists began to notice an increase in the speed of Earth’s rotation in the middle of 2020. We would like to think of the Man of Steel himself, Superman, is behind this as he’s no stranger to flying around the earth to play with the weather, but knowing that the change started happening last year, it’s probably something to do with 2020 and all what this year has done to the world.
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The Daily Mail reports that on July 19, 2020, scientists noticed that the day was 1.4602 milliseconds shorter than usual, which was the shortest day since one-day recordings began. The shortest day before July 19 of last year occurred in 2005. This 2005 record has been broken 28 times in the past twelve months and on average the days are passing half a second faster now. .
Does half a second of time really count? For those living their usual days, half a second probably won’t matter, but it could matter for things like satellites and communication relays, which rely on nearly exactly aligned atomic time. on solar time. This is why scientists are debating the use of a negative leap second. Only time will tell (literally) what they decide to do.
While waiting for this decision, watch this story where some scientists claim proof of a parallel universe where time flies backwards then read how there is a 50-50 chance that we live in a simulation. If all this science talk gets you in the mood to watch sci-fi, check out our list of the best sci-fi movies on Netflix right now.
Wesley LeBlanc is a freelance writer and guide for the IGN. You can follow it on Twitter @LeBlancWes.