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Name: Georgia
Status: educator
Age: N/A
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Date: 1993 - 1999


Question:
I teach 5th grade, and we are studying the stars and our solar system. One of my students asked why we don't feel the earth's rotation, and would we notice any difference if we were on Mercury, which rotates faster?

Thanks for your help.


Replies:
The centripetal force caused by the earth's rotation is negligible compared to gravity. Good thing, too, or we'd all fly off into outer space!

John (e-mail hawley)


Nevertheless, we do "feel" the earth's turning. The effect is maximum at the equator, and vanishes at the poles. Your students might enjoy figuring out why this is true.

J Lu


There is also the Coriolis force that results from the Earth's rotation: we can see it's effects, but we can't really "feel" it.

John (e-mail hawley)



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