Friday May 25, 2018
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Sit tight, June will last one second longer

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

People born on June 30 will be able to celebrate their birthday for one second longer this time. Due to the Earth’s rotation, the month will last one second more than a normal day. The midnight Coordinated Universal Time on June 30 will read 23:59:60 rather than resetting to 00:00:00, according to Discover Magazine.

The extra second, or “leap second,” is needed to re-synchronise our land-based clocks with Earth’s rotation, which is slowing down ever so slightly each year, it said. This is the 26th time a second has been added to the day since the practice began in 1972. Due to tidal forces between the Earth and the Moon, our planet’s rotation is slowing down, adding a whopping 1.4 milliseconds to our days every century.

During the time of the dinosaurs, the typical day on Earth was just 23 hours. In fact, the last true 24-hour rotation, exactly 86,400 seconds, occurred in 1820. Since then, the day has lengthened by 2.5 milliseconds, according to NASA. Earth has seen these precise measurements, thanks to punctual NASA scientists who have been monitoring the planet’s rotation using a technique called Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), the report said.

The last leap second, in 2012, caused a mayhem on popular websites with clocks synced to standard civil time. In a bid to avoid this, Google added a millisecond of time to their servers with each update so they were caught up with the new time when the leap second occurred.

(With inputs from IANS)

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NASA Spacecraft Finds New Type of Magnetic Explosion

NASA probe finds new magnetic process in turbulent space

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Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

Scientists working with a NASA probe that investigates how the Sun’s and Earth’s magnetic fields connect and disconnect have uncovered a new type of magnetic event in our near-Earth environment.

Launched in 2015, the Magnetospheric Multiscale, or MMS, consists of four identical spacecraft that orbit around Earth through the dynamic magnetic system surrounding our planet to study a little-understood phenomenon called magnetic reconnection.

Magnetic reconnection is a phenomenon unique to plasma, that is, the mix of positively and negatively charged particles that make up the stars, fill space and account for an estimated 99 per cent of the observable universe.

The new discovery, detailed in the journal Nature, found reconnection where it has never been seen before — in turbulent plasma. For the study the scientists used an innovative technique to squeeze extra information out of the data.

“In the plasma universe, there are two important phenomena: magnetic reconnection and turbulence,” said Tai Phan, a senior fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, and lead author on the paper.

“This discovery bridges these two processes,” Phan said.

NASA
NASA. (Wikimedia Commons)

The finding of reconnection in turbulence has implications, for example, for studies on the Sun.

It may help scientists understand the role magnetic reconnection plays in heating the inexplicably hot solar corona — the Sun’s outer atmosphere — and accelerating the supersonic solar wind.

Magnetic reconnection is one of the most important processes in the space around Earth.

This fundamental process dissipates magnetic energy and propels charged particles, both of which contribute to a dynamic space weather system that scientists want to better understand, and even someday predict.

Also Read: Flying Cars get Uber Boost From Research Pact with NASA

Reconnection occurs when crossed magnetic field lines snap, explosively flinging away nearby particles at high speeds.

Magnetic reconnection has been observed innumerable times in the magnetosphere — the magnetic environment around Earth — but usually under calm conditions.

The new event occurred in a region called the magnetosheath, just outside the outer boundary of the magnetosphere, where the solar wind is extremely turbulent.

Previously, scientists did not know if reconnection could even occur there, as the plasma is highly chaotic in that region. MMS found it does. (IANS)

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