Rotation of the Earth

The spinning of the Earth on its axis from west to east once in 24 hours is known as rotation. Some facts about the rotation of the Earth are

  • The Earth completes one rotation from west to east on its axis in 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4.09 seconds.
  • The Earth is tilted in the same direction as it moves around the Sun.
  • The speed of rotation of the Earth decreases towards the poles.

Effects of Rotation of the Earth

The rotation of the Earth is an important phenomenon. Effects of the rotation of the Earth are

  • The rotation of the Earth causes day and night. The part of the Earth-facing the Sun experiences day, while the part which does not face the Sun experiences night.
  • The speed of the Earth’s rotation has affected the shape of the Earth. Because of the speed of rotation, a centrifugal force is created which leads to the flattening of the Earth at the poles and bulging at the centre.
  • The Earth’s rotation affects the movement of water in the oceans. The tides are deflected because of rotation.
  • The speed of rotation also affects the movement of the wind. Because of rotation, winds and ocean currents deflect to the right in the Northern Hemisphere and to the left in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • It causes a difference in time at various places on Earth. The difference in time of each longitude is 4 minutes.

Inclination of the Earth’s Axis

The Earth is tilted on its axis. This tilting of the Earth on its axis is known as the inclination of the Earth’s axis. Significance of inclination of the Earth’s axis:

  • Days and nights are of different duration because of the inclined axis of the Earth. If the Earth’s axis would not have been inclined, then the days and nights would have been of equal duration throughout the world.
  • The inclined axis of the Earth helps us to determine the time of the day by the height of the Sun in the sky.
  • Seasons are also caused by the inclination of the Earth. If the axis of the Earth would have been vertical, then all the places on the Earth would have experienced only one season throughout the year.

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