Friday, January 2, 2009

What's in a Second?

Well, year 2008 has passed and now 2009 is here.

But did you know that 2008 was just a little bit longer 2007?

And 2008 will probably be a little bit longer than 2009?

Just by one second.

So what?

Well ask "why", before saying "so what"?

The earth's spin is slowing down. The tides, the pull of the moon, solar winds -- all of these things influence the earth's rotation. Ever so gradually, earth is slowing down. So over the years to come, a second will be added. A leap second. Some years have them, others don't.

Given enough time into the future, A day on earth could last 30 hours rather than 24 hours.

What does that imply?

Everything isn't an absolute constant in our solar system. The planets are slowing down. Their speed and distances from each other are changing in slight ways. Everything seems constant, yet everything is changing all the time.

Even time is changing.

A second used to be 1/60 of a minute. Now, a second is the duration of 9 192 631 770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium 133 atom at rest at a temperature of 0 K (absolute zero)".

Say what?!

The fact that all these "constants" are constantly changing at minute (mi-nyut) levels decries the notion that our universe was set into place by absolutes. While this doesn't disprove god, this does tell me that what the bible says about creation is off base. I'll bet that all the creation stories from any given religion has our world etched into stone, so to speak.

I find all of this quite fascinating. I think I'll be chewing on this idea throughout the whole new year.
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