Friday September 21, 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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Earth’s Melting Ice Can Now Be Tracked By The Satellite That NASA Is Launching

The ICESat-2 will zoom above the planet at 7 km per second (4.3 miles per second), completing an orbit around Earth in 90 minutes.

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NASA
This is NASA's Latest achievement. Pixabay

NASA is set to launch its Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2, or ICESat-2 — that will track Earth’s melting poles and disappearing sea ice — on Saturday.

The satellite with a three-year mission is scheduled to launch at 8.46 a.m. EDT on September 15, with liftoff aboard a Satellite Delta II rocket from Space Launch Complex-2 (SLC-2), the US space agency said in a blog post late on Tuesday.

ICESat-2 is the NASA’s most advanced laser instrument — the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System, or ATLAS.

It measures height by precisely timing how long it takes individual photons of light from a laser to leave the satellite, bounce off Earth and return to the satellite.

NASA, Polar Ice
ICESat-2 will measure the average annual elevation change of land ice covering Greenland and Antarctica. Flickr

The satellite will provide critical observations of how ice sheets, glaciers and sea ice are changing, leading to insights into how those changes impact people where they live, NASA said.

ICESat-2’s orbit will make 1,387 unique ground tracks around Earth in 91 days and then start the same ground pattern again at the beginning.

While the first ICESat satellite (2003-09) measured ice with a single laser beam, ICESat-2 splits its laser light into six beams making it better to cover more ground (or ice).

The arrangement of the beams into three pairs will also allow scientists to assess the slope of the surface they are measuring, NASA said.

NASA
ICESat-2 is the NASA’s most advanced laser instrument Pixabay

Further, the ICESat-2 will zoom above the planet at 7 km per second (4.3 miles per second), completing an orbit around Earth in 90 minutes. The orbits have been set to converge at the 88-degree latitude lines around the poles, to focus the data coverage in the region where scientists expect to see the most changes.

Also Read: AI Helps Find Source Of Radio Bursts 3 Billion Light Years Away From Earth

All of those height measurements result from timing the individual laser photons on their 600-mile roundtrip between the satellite and Earth’s surface – a journey that is timed to within 800 picoseconds, NASA said. (IANS)

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