Tonight will be the longest night in the history of the Earth:http://bit.ly/13QP52k
Correction: This article originally said that, due to the rotation of the Earth gradually slowing down over time, this winter solstice would feature the longest night ever.
I got this wrong. The Earth’s rotation is gradually slowing on an extremely long timescale, but on a shorter year-to-year basis, geologic factors can alter the speed as well.
Data indicates that the rotation speed has actually sped up slightly over the past forty years (likely due to melting of ice at the poles and the resulting redistribution of the Earth’s mass), and before that, the trend was up-and-down for most of the 20th century — so, as far as we know, the longest night in Earth’s history likely occurred in 1912. I apologize for the error. Thanks to Steve Allen and Ryan Hardy for pointing it out.
Today, you might already know, is the winter solstice. That means for people living in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s the longest night of the year.
However, as science blogger Colin Schultz points out, tonight will also be the longest night ever.
At any location in the Northern Hemisphere, in other words, tonight’s period of darkness will be slightly longer than any other, ever — at least, since the planet started spinning right around the time it was first formed some 4.5 billion years ago.
The ignorance demonstrated here is astounding. Yeh, the redistribution of the earth’s mass …… I wonder, are there any other more tangible, more significant shifts in the earth which could account for a “redistribution of the Earth’s mass”?
All of that aside, this is one day I look forward to. The days from this moment on until the summer solstice, are getting longer! Like many people, I dislike the darkness which is seemingly all the time during this time of year. It’s depressing. But, with each day becoming longer, there’s something to note and look forward to.