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spinning-earth_1024Due to a transfer of Earth’s rotational momentum to the Moon’s orbital momentum, tidal friction is slowing the Earth’s rotation. Scientists estimate that the earth is slowing at the rate of 2.2 seconds every 100,000 years as a very conservative estimate.

As the Earth is rotating faster than the moon, the gravitation pull of the moon on our tides brakes the Earth’s rotation. In other words, picture our Earth with the tidal bulge; as the Earth spins the tidal bulge is pulled in the opposite directions by the gravitational pull of the moon. This consequently brakes the Earth’s rotation.

This has the effect of lengthening our days, but it happens so slowly that it will be 140 million years before the length of a day will have increased to 25 hours.

As the earth slows down, it loses angular momentum. But since angular momentum must be conserved, the earth’s angular momentum is transferred to the Moon, so the Moon’s orbit is slowly receding from the Earth. This is causing the Moon to slowly recede from Earth (about 4 cm per year), increasing its orbital period and the length of a month as well.

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