Equitorial vs Polar Centripetal Acceleration
Name: Patty T.
One of my students asked:
If you stand at the top of the earth, would you be able to feel it
spinning on its axis?
No. One spin in 24 hours where the radius of spin is about 15 cm (one body
radius) is not something the inner ear can pick up.
Is the centripetal acceleration at the poles significantly different
than at the equator?
At the poles, the centripetal acceleration is essentially zero. At the
equator, it is about 0.03 m/s^2. Compared to the gravitational field
intensity of Earth to be about -9.8 m/s^2, this is usually considered
small. As far as significance is concerned, that is determined by your
specifications. For most things, this is insignificant. For weighing (NOT
massing) diamonds, it can make a financial difference. That is why small
precious things are measured by mass and not weight.
---Nathan A. Unterman
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Update: June 2012