JAN 25, 2017 8:51 AM PST

What you didn't know about the Earth


Did you know that the Earth is actually slowing down in its rotation? Studies show that its rotation has slowed about 17 milliseconds....every one hundred years. So not likely that you'll wake up noticing our collective change in spinning velocity. Nevertheless, that means that eventually the length of one day will increase to 25 hours instead of 24. However, that process, too, won't likely affect you, unless you're planning on sticking around for 140 million years!

Yet despite this inconsequential slowing, the Earth still spins at a speed almost unimaginable to our human senses: almost 1,000 miles per hour. And that's just us spinning around our own axis. Orbiting the sun, the Earth moves at 67,000 miles per hour! Kind of weird that we can't feel that extreme motion right? Well, it's actually due to the laws of physics: because the Earth never slows (at least in a perceptible amount) or accelerates, we aren't capable of feeling its velocity. Which is a good thing, or else we'd be needing a lot of motion sickness bags.

Now what about our moons? Plural, you say? Yes, plural! Many astronomers believe that the Earth actually used to have two moons, not just one! Moon Jr. shall we call is believed to have been only 750 miles in diameter and circled the Earth with our current moon. Some scientists hypothesize that the two moons crashed into one another, hence explaining why the two sides of our moon look so different. However, because no one was actually there to witness the event, we can't be sure it happened in this way.
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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