Why don’t we feel the rotation of earth?« Back to Questions List

Movement of earth could be defined using two terms – Revolution and Rotation. Revolution is going around a different object and rotation is going around the same object. The earth rotates on its own axis and revolves around the sun. It takes about a year for a complete revolution and about a day for one complete rotation.



All of the planets in the Solar System except Venus rotate counter-clockwise. Venus rotates clockwise. The rotation of Venus is backwards relative to earth. So the eastern regions of the planets rotating counter-clockwise see the Sun before western regions.


At the equator, the speed of spin is 1000miles/hr about its axis. It is moving at speed of 67,000 miles/hr around the sun. We don’t feel anything because all these movements are always constantly happening. For instance, when you travel by car, the passengers or the objects inside the car move with the same speed as that of the car. When the car hits a bump on the road suddenly, the passengers or the objects inside the car undergo a jerk. As per Newton’s law, any object will continue to be in a state of motion or rest unless a force acts on it. As per this logic, we may not feel the rotation or revolution of earth unless the earth slows down or picks up speed considerably.


Does the rotation of earth affect any phenomenon? Yes, it affects the wind patterns. The rotation is responsible for deflecting winds which would otherwise be blowing straight from high pressure regions to low pressure regions. Because of earth’s rotation, the winds get deflected from their original straight path. This is the reason for calling winds from north as north easterly winds and winds from south as south easterly winds. This effect caused by earth’s rotation is called Coriolis Effect.


There are lots of forces that try to vary the earth’s speed. These are moon’s gravity, high tides, solar winds, changes in earth’s atmosphere etc. Even then we don’t feel its significance as the variation is in the range of very few milliseconds. 


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