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Scientists say Earth is spinning faster than it has in decades; a 'leap second' may be added

The Earth's 28 fastest days on record (since 1960) all occurred in 2020.The Earth's rotation can change slightly because of weather and ocean patte

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  • The Earth’s 28 fastest days on record (since 1960) all occurred in 2020.
  • The Earth’s rotation can change slightly because of weather and ocean patterns.
  • A negative leap second will be needed if the Earth’s rotation rate increases further.

Even the Earth wanted 2020 to be over in a hurry: Our planet spun faster than normal last year, scientists say.

As noted on LiveScience, the Earth’s 28 fastest days on record (since 1960) all occurred in 2020, with Earth completing its revolutions around its axis milliseconds quicker than average.

Usually, the Earth is an excellent timekeeper, according to TimeandDate.com. On average, with respect to the sun, it rotates once every 86,400 seconds, which equals 24 hours. This is known as a mean solar day.

“But it is not perfect,” write Graham Jones and Konstantin Bikos on TimeandDate.com. “When highly accurate atomic clocks were developed in the 1960s, they showed that the length of a mean solar day can vary by milliseconds (1 millisecond equals 0.001 seconds).”

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