Why the Earth spins - Deepstash

Why the Earth spins

Earth spins on its axis as it revolves around the sun.

Newton's first law of motion states that an object remains in the state of motion it's in unless another force acts upon it.

Before there were planets in our solar system, there was a spinning nebulous cloud of dust. The spinning dust collided over time and stuck together, forming larger rocks and, ultimately, planets. The cloud of dust was rotating from the start. The angular momentum the Earth needs keeps the world spinning.

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The Earth spins at the speed of 1,036 miles per hour (1,667 kilometres per hour).

  • The tides can slow the Earth's rotation speed and add about 2.3 milliseconds to our day every century.
  • Weather systems can also change the Earth's rotation.
  • Earthquakes can change the length of the day by redistributing the Earth's mass. The 2011 earthquake in Japan accelerated the Earth's spin and shortened the day by 1.8 microseconds.

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Entertaining the idea of a still-standing earth

The assumption that the Earth can stop spinning is far-fetched. But, what if something changed the Earth's rotation? Let's assume the Earth stopped spinning gradually.

And let's suppose that Earth's ecosystems have survived the transition. What would the new world look like?

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  • Earth would take a whole year to cycle from night to day and back. Cities would be in darkness for half the year and in sunlight the other half.
  • The polar regions would be deep underwater. When the Earth rotates, centrifugal force causes the planet to bulge along the equator. Without a bulge, all the extra water held in place along the equator would return toward the poles.
  • The Earth magnetic field might go away, leaving us exposed to harmful solar winds.

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Uranus

The seventh planet from the Sun with the third largest diameter in our solar system, Uranus is very cold and windy. The ice giant is surrounded by 13 faint rings and 27 small moons as it rotates at a nearly 90-degree angle from the plane of its orbit. This unique tilt makes Uranus appear to spin on its side, orbiting the Sun like a rolling ball.

The first planet found with the aid of a telescope, Uranus was discovered in 1781 by astronomer William Herschel, although he originally thought it was either a comet or a star. It was two years later that the object was universally accepted as a new planet, in part because of observations by astronomer Johann Elert Bode.

William Herschel tried unsuccessfully to name his discovery Georgium Sidus after King George III. Instead the planet was named for Uranus, the Greek god of the sky, as suggested by Johann Bode.

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Jupiter

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Jupiter is surrounded by dozens of moons. Jupiter also has several rings, but unlike the famous rings of Saturn, Jupiter’s rings are very faint and made of dust, not ice.

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Saturn

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The farthest planet from Earth discovered by the unaided human eye, Saturn has been known since ancient times. The planet is named for the Roman god of agriculture and wealth, who was also the father of Jupiter.

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