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Earth’s Rotation Definition

Earth's rotation is the spinning around its axis (center), causing day and night. For example, as Earth spins, parts face the sun (day) or away (night).

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Earth’s Orbit & Rotation

Fun Facts

  • Earth rotates once every 24 hours, causing day and night.
  • Shadows are longer in the afternoon than at noon due to Earth's rotation.
  • Stars appear to move across the night sky because of Earth's rotation.

Why Do We Need To Know About Earth's Rotation

Understanding how Earth spins helps us know why we have time zones, which are important for working together worldwide. This is key for jobs in international business, moving goods around, and making computer programs that need to work in many places at once.

Also, the way Earth spins affects the what we see stars in the sky, which is important for astronomers.  The rotation of the Earth led to the development of the earliest watches — sundials.  A Foucault pendulum provides evidence that the Earth is rotating on its axis.  Inventions throughout history are based on the study of space.

Frequently Asked Questions

The shadow of a groundhog (or anything else) is determined by what?
The length of a shadow is determined by where the sun appears to be in the sky. If the sun is close to the horizon, a shadow will be long. If the sun is directly overhead, the shadow will be very short.
What happens when Earth rotates on its axis and how long does it take?
Earth rotates on its axis once every 24 hours. During that time, all locations on Earth experience day and night because they will be facing toward the sun for part of the day and away from the sun for another part (night).
How many times does Earth rotate on its axis in one year?
Earth rotates (spins) 365.25 times in a year. It rotates once every twenty four hours, while also orbiting the sun once every 365.25 days. These two motions are happening at the same time.
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