Is the Earth's Axis Changing or is that just an illusion?

  1. I have recently been reading that the Earth's Axis has tilted 26 degrees further with two of the most significant shifts occurring in December 2006. I read about this and thought... can this be true...how odd that I have been feeling like the sunlight this season seems to be reaching places that in years past it has not.
    Am I imagining this or is their actual factual evidence of recent changes in the Earth's Axis Tilt.
    Where can I find the answer. What would be the significance of this it was truly happening...will it continue to tilt further as the wider portion of the earth at the equator starts slipping down????
    Can anyone on this site direct me to where I might find the answers to these questions...and/or has anyone on this site noticed this too.
    Thanks -rg
     
  2. jcsd
  3. LURCH

    LURCH 2,514
    Science Advisor

    I suppose a good start would be to ask where you read this. The Earth's rotational axis is around 26o, and has been for billions of years, according to most models. Certainly it remained almost unchanged througout recorded history.
    Can you post a refference or link to the place where you read this? It seems likely you have missread or missenterprted something, or the source missprinted it. Maybe they were talking about a shift in global markets, or something.

    As for the significance if it really is happening let's speculate (hoping others will join in just for the mental exercise). The axial tilt is currently 23o. If it were to shift by 26o, the effects experienced would depend on which way it shifted. If the shift decreased the tilt, then tilt would be reduced to almost zero (23 - 26 = -3), and the seasons would cease. It would be Fall or Spring weather year-round.
    If the tilt were increased by 26o, then of course that roughly doubles the effect of the seasons, and we'd have 24hr-sunshine at the 45th parrallel in the summer!
     
  4. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    As far as I can tell, there has been no dramatic change in the earth's tilt, or rather obliquity, and certainly not by 26°, which would be very obvious, nor to 26° from the current ~23.5°.

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2005-03/whoi-cie032905.php

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axial_tilt

    http://courses.eas.ualberta.ca/eas373/week5/orbital_parameters.pdf

    http://earth.usc.edu/geol150/variability/orbitalchanges.html

    http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/6h.html


    It has been suggested that the obliquity could have been 54°!

    Low-latitude glaciation and rapid changes in the Earth's obliquity explained by obliquity–oblateness feedback
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v396/n6710/abs/396453a0.html
     
  5. Thank you for your response. I am not a scientist just a person who occasionally receives "interesting" emails and links, some seem way out there, so I like to check up on them!.
    Here is the link I received about the possible change in the earth's tilt. Thank you again for taking time to respond....please do not laugh too hard at my previous question...or what the heck, laugh and then know that I appreciate you clarifying this for me and alleviating my concerns.
    Best wishes, rg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 19, 2007
  6. DaveC426913

    DaveC426913 16,439
    Gold Member

    Crackpottery.

    And poorly done crackpottery at that. Of 21 bits of "evidence" listed, only one of them (#4) has anything whatever to do with actual analysis of the issue. All the others are simply pulled from the usual global warming grab bag of anecdotes.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2007
  7. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    Important internet safety tip: 99.9999% of spam and chain mail is BS.

    It would certainly be big news if the earth's axis started to tilt more. There'd have to be a force to push. And it would be pretty easy to see the effects (such as a sun that didn't set until September...). It's a pretty dumb crackpot site. And I have to delete the link, lest we give them free advertising.
     
  8. Thank You

    Thank You
     
  9. PFS

    PFS 6

    A very realistic possibility

    The Q you should be asking yourself is not, if the earths axis has / is or will tilt.

    The real Q you should be asking is when will the Poles Shift...

    Over the last couple of million years the earth has, and will in the future experience a Polar Shifts, this is where the crust of the earth will (slide) on the mantle and effectively change the Magnetic Poles of the earth, and this could consequently be devastating to life on this planet. there is definite scientific proof that the earths magnetic North and South is changing, this is happening towards certain areas near the equator.

    The real Question is, when will this take place?
     
  10. DaveC426913

    DaveC426913 16,439
    Gold Member

    Why this time, and not the other hundreds of times in Earth's history?
     
  11. D H

    Staff: Mentor

    The crust is already sliding on the mantle. That is what plate tectonics is all about. The Earth's magnetic field arises from actions deep inside the Earth. Neither the crust nor the mantle makes any significant contribution to the field. A pole shift will not change the Earth's appearance. This pole shift megadisaster is just as much a crock as is the original post regarding drastics changes in the Earth's axial tilt.
     
  12. jim mcnamara

    jim mcnamara 1,553
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    The magnetic poles have reversed ( changed polarity) in the past; the N magnetic pole "swapped" positions with the S magnetic pole. The whole earth did not flip around somehow.

    I'm sure a magentic pole reversal would be an interesting event in terms of compasses. And maybe auroras. But megadisaster - no.
     
  13. PFS

    PFS 6

    My point is, scientists cannot determine how long a magnetic shift will last...
    in todays technological day and age, how much depends on electricity, electricity in turn is defendant on the magnetic fields, when a "shift" takes place there is a period that the earths magnetic poles will reach a zero point "null zone" rendering all electricity useless during that period, all technological based navigation systems use the magnetic north and south....just think of the consequences... as to why now, who knows, the earth is cyclic and millions of years old and this has taken place many times in the past, it just has not taken place in "recorded" history, but scientist predict we are overdue for one, scientist have also proven that this is slowly beginning to happen, i cannot say what will happen if and wheh this does take place, but im sure it wont be a Y2k!
     
  14. DaveC426913

    DaveC426913 16,439
    Gold Member

    No.
    No.
    No.

    You might want to revisit your assumptions. So far, you're batting zero. That might be why you see a disaster where others do not.
     
  15. DaveC426913

    DaveC426913 16,439
    Gold Member

  16. This is a question for Dave C who seems to know a whole lot on the axis subject. Dave, I am not a scientist, not into physics, math, earth, stars or how planets align. Frankly I could care less about the whole thing. But this axis question caught my eye and how I wound up on this site is beyond me. I did notice though how quickly you poked holes in this young mans theory on how the axis could possibly shift, 26 degrees might be a bit much but in theory would it be that far fetched to suggest that the earths axis could be changing. I remember a man once said the earth was flat and if you sailed to the end you would fall off or something like that.

    Who set this 24 degree standard? As far as we know, can tell, speculate and have calculated so far the earth spins on this axis. But what if the world isn't flat and the earth doesn't spin on this single point? What if the earth spins freely in any which way and although very slow, it is shifting? Remember when June was the warmest month of the year and December was the coldest? What points of reference are we using to determine this 24 degree axis and whats to say it isn't moving as well. What if the earth is actually rotating as a sphere would in theory in all ways while orbiting the sun, just so slight that we cannot calculate it precisely? What if our poles eventually become our equator over x billions of years? What changes could we or should we expect from such a change? Just because one man said and a million flatulent morons agreed that the earth spins on this single axis doesn't make it true. So open your mind and speculate with us if you will, what happens if that guy was wrong ???

    Best Regards,

    Father Patrick
     
  17. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    Sorry, but that's all just gibberish, Father Patrick, with a little anti-science rant thrown in for good (bad) measure. It doesn't make any sense, much less any scientific sense. Nothing to discuss, no reason to continue the thread. Thread locked.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thead via email, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?