Letter to the Editor - Woodworth

Hello, Kort:

I'm responding to the "Factoid" you printed on page 3 of the June/July issue: "The rotation of the Earth is slowing down 1/1000th of a second each day."

If true, in only a little less than three years (3 years equals over 1,000 days), the day will be longer by one second.

In 30 years, ten seconds. Frankly I find it hard to believe that a geophysical variation of this magnitude - a magnitude grossly perceptible over a mere human lifetime - is actually taking place.

In 300 years it'd be over 100 seconds longer. In a quarter of a million years (a blink in geological time) the day would be twice as long as it is now.

And going the other way, back into the past, we'd find that the earth's rotation was fantastically faster even only a million years ago ... and back in the early eons of life on the planet, the damn ball of dirt would've been spinning faster than a quasar. (Maybe that's how animals as big as the dinosaurs could exist: the centrifugal force of the rapid rotation reduced their weight to almost nothing. Indeed, one marvels that they weren't thrown off the surface, into space!)

I don't know what the true figure for the rate of slowing is, but the one you printed ain't it.

Fred Woodworth
The Match!BR> PO Box 3488
Tucson, Arizona

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