- Earth's rotation
Earth's rotation is the
rotationof the solid Eartharound its own axis. The Earth rotates towards the east, which can be observed by orientation with a magnetic compassat sunrise. As viewed from the star Polaris, the Earth turns counter-clockwise.
Earth's rotation period relative to the Sun (its mean solar day) is 86,400
seconds of mean solar time. Each of these seconds is slightly longer than an SIsecond because Earth's solar day is now slightly longer than it was during the 19th century due to tidal acceleration. The mean solar second between 1750 and 1892 was chosen in 1895 by Simon Newcombas the independent unit of time in his Tables of the Sun. These tables were used to calculate the world's ephemerides between 1900 and 1983, so this second became known as the ephemeris second. The SI second was made equal to the ephemeris second in 1967. [ [http://tycho.usno.navy.mil/leapsec.html Leap seconds by USNO] ]
Earth's rotation period relative to the
fixed stars, called its "stellar day" by the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service(IERS), is nowrap|86164.098 903 691 seconds of mean solar time (UT1) nowrap|(23smallsup|h 56smallsup|m 4.098 903 691smallsup|s). [http://hpiers.obspm.fr/eop-pc/models/constants.html IERS EOP Useful constants] ] [Aoki, the ultimate source of these figures, uses the term "seconds of UT1" instead of "seconds of mean solar time". Aoki, "et al.", " [http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1982A&A...105..359A The new definition of Universal Time] ", "Astronomy and Astrophysics" 105 (1982) 359–361.] Earth's rotation period relative to the precessing or moving mean vernal equinox, misnamed its " sidereal day", is nowrap|86164.090 530 832 88 seconds of mean solar time (UT1) nowrap|(23smallsup|h 56smallsup|m 4.090 530 832 88smallsup|s). Thus the sidereal day is shorter than the stellar day by about 8.4 ms. ["Explanatory Supplement to the Astronomical Almanac", ed. P. Kenneth Seidelmann, Mill Valley, Cal., University Science Books, 1992, p.48, ISBN 0-935702-68-7.] The length of the mean solar day in SI seconds is available from the IERS for the periods 1623–2005 [ [http://hpiers.obspm.fr/eop-pc/earthor/ut1lod/lod-1623.html IERS Excess of the duration of the day to 86400s … since 1623] Graph at end.] and 1962–2005. [ [http://web.archive.org/web/20070813203913/http://hpiers.obspm.fr/eop-pc/earthor/ut1lod/figure3.html IERS Variations in the duration of the day 1962–2005] ] Recently (1999–2005) the average annual length of the mean solar day in excess of 86400 SI seconds has varied between 0.3 ms and 1 ms, which must be added to both the stellar and sidereal days given in mean solar time above to obtain their lengths in SI seconds.
The mean angular velocity of Earth is nowrap|7.2921150 E|−5 radians per second. The equatorial radius of Earth in the
WGS84ellipsoid is 6378137.0 m. Multiplying Earth's equatorial radius by its angular velocity yields Earth's rotational speed at the equator, 465.1 m/s or 1674.4 km/h (factors of 2π needed to convert equatorial radius to circumference and angular velocity to rotational period cancel each other).
The permanent monitoring of the Earth's rotation requires the use of
Very Long Baseline Interferometrycoordinated with the Global Positioning System, Satellite laser ranging, and other satellitetechniques. This provides the absolute referencefor the determination of universal time, precession, and nutation. [ [http://hpiers.obspm.fr/eop-pc/techniques/techniques.html Permanent monitoring] ]
Over millions of years, the rotation is significantly slowed by gravitational interactions with the
Moon: see tidal acceleration.
The axis of the Earth's rotation tends, like the axis of a gyroscope, to maintain its orientation with respect to
inertial space. External forces acting on Earth from the Sun, Moon, and planets cause deviations from the fixed orientation. The large, periodic shift of the Earth's axis is called precession, while the smaller corrections are nutation and polar motion.
velocityof the rotation of Earth has had various effectsover time, including Earth's shape (an oblate spheroid), climate, oceandepth, and tectonicforces. [ [http://novan.com/earth.htm Physical effects] ]
Origin of rotation
It is theorized that Earth formed as part of the birth of the
Solar System: what eventually became the solar system initially existed as a large, rotating cloud of dust, rocks, and gas. It was composed of hydrogenand heliumproduced in the Big Bang, as well as heavier elements ejected by supernovas. Then, as one theory suggests, about 4.6 billion years ago a nearby starwas destroyed in a supernovaand the explosion sent a shock wavethrough the solar nebula, causing it to gain angular momentum. As the rotating cloud flattened out, some of the gas and dust clustered together due to gravity (eventually becoming planets). Because the initial angular momentum needed to be conserved, the clustered mass started rotating faster (much in the same way an ice skater rotates quicker with his/her arms "clustered" closely to his/her body). [cite web
url = http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/ast99/ast99318.htm
title = Why does the earth spin?
work = Ask a Scientist Astronomy Archice ] The current rotation period of the Earth is the result of this initial rotation and other factors, including
tidal frictionand possibly the giant impact hypothesis.
One remarkable piece of evidence for Earth's rotation was built by physicist
Léon Foucaultin 1851. By attaching an iron sphere to a very long wire, Foucault constructed a pendulumthat was 67m long. Physicists of the time knew that once a pendulum is set in motion, its direction of swing would not change. Foucault, however, observed that the direction of swing of his pendulum seemed to change. Each hour it shifted about 11 degrees in a clockwisedirection. After eight hours the pendulum was swinging at a right angle to its starting direction. Because the pendulum itself could not have changed its direction of swing, Foucault concluded that the shift he saw was caused by Earth's turning beneath his pendulum. The Foucault pendulumis now a famous demonstration of Earth's rotation.
* Important publications in geodesy
History of geodesy, Space techniques
World Geodetic System, WGS 84
* Geodesic (in physics)
History of Earth
Formation and evolution of the Solar System
* [http://www.boutichesaid.cv.dz/Earth/SimpleEarth.htm Interactive 3D Earth rotation]
* [http://hpiers.obspm.fr/eop-pc/ Earth rotation data and interactive analysis)]
* [http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=416 Reason for Earth's rotation]
* [http://ivarun.blogspot.com/2007/07/who-pushed-earth-in-past.html Why is the earth rotating ?]
* [http://www.livescience.com/forcesofnature/060626_earth_wobbles.html Weather Makes Earth Wobble]
* [http://www.agu.org/reference/gephys/24_dickey.pdf Earth rotation by Jean O. Dickey]
* [http://www.iers.org/ International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS)]
* [http://badc.nerc.ac.uk/data/aam/science.html AAM Scientific Background Information] (1.36 MB pdf file)
* [http://hbar.phys.msu.ru/gorm/atext/steph2003.pdf Historical Eclipses and Earth’s rotation by F. Richard Stephenson] (242KB pdf file)
* [http://novan.com/earth.htm The geophysical effects of the the earth's slowing rotation]
* [http://earthrotation.blogspot.com/ EarthRotation]
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