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Possible Answers: Years.
Last seen on: Daily Celebrity Crossword – 9/25/18 TV Tuesday
Random information on the term “Years”:
Tidal acceleration is an effect of the tidal forces between an orbiting natural satellite (e.g. the Moon), and the primary planet that it orbits (e.g. Earth). The acceleration causes a gradual recession of a satellite in a prograde orbit away from the primary, and a corresponding slowdown of the primary’s rotation. The process eventually leads to tidal locking, usually of the smaller first, and later the larger body. The Earth–Moon system is the best studied case.
The similar process of tidal deceleration occurs for satellites that have an orbital period that is shorter than the primary’s rotational period, or that orbit in a retrograde direction.
The naming is somewhat confusing, because the speed of the satellite relative to the body it orbits is decreased as a result of tidal acceleration, and increased as a result of tidal deceleration.
Edmond Halley was the first to suggest, in 1695, that the mean motion of the Moon was apparently getting faster, by comparison with ancient eclipse observations, but he gave no data. (It was not yet known in Halley’s time that what is actually occurring includes a slowing-down of Earth’s rate of rotation: see also Ephemeris time – History. When measured as a function of mean solar time rather than uniform time, the effect appears as a positive acceleration.) In 1749 Richard Dunthorne confirmed Halley’s suspicion after re-examining ancient records, and produced the first quantitative estimate for the size of this apparent effect: a centurial rate of +10″ (arcseconds) in lunar longitude, which is a surprisingly accurate result for its time, not differing greatly from values assessed later, e.g. in 1786 by de Lalande, and to compare with values from about 10″ to nearly 13″ being derived about a century later.