Earth’s Rotation Basics

Earth’s Rotation Basics

Earth’s Rotation Basics 150 150 SchoolTutoring Academy

Rotation is defined as a circular movement of an object around a center or point of rotation. A three-dimensional object rotates always around an imaginary line called a axis of rotation. The earth rotates about an axis of rotation that passes through the North and South Poles of the planet. The Earth’s axis is tipped over about 23.5° from vertical. From the North Pole the rotation appears to move in a counter clockwise direction. Looking down at the South Pole the Earth’s rotation appears clockwise. The rotation of the earth around its axis follows the west to east path.

The Earth rotates around once in 24 hours. More specifically, our rotation period with respect to the stars is called a sidereal day.  A sidereal day is 24 sidereal hours, or 23 hours and 56 minutes on a normal clock.  Our clock time is based on the earth’s rotation with respect to the sun from solar noon to solar noon.  This is a solar day, and it is divided into 24 hours.  Because Earth travels about 1 / 365 of the way around the sun during one day, there is a small difference between solar time and sidereal time.

The rotation of the earth is responsible for the daily cycle of day and night. At any point of time, one half of the Earth is facing sun, while the other half is in darkness.

Rotation of the earth causes difference in time over countries and continents. The parts of the earth that are in front of the sun experience day, while the part of the earth away from the sun has night.

Earth rotates about its axis at approximately 15 angular degrees per hour. So the Earth’s surface moves at the equator at a speed of about 467 meters per second or slightly over 1675 kilometers per hour. Rotation dictates the length of the diurnal cycle (i.e, the day/night cycle).

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