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Thread: Why can't we feel the difference of the earth's rotation from equator verses the north pole?

  1. #1 Why can't we feel the difference of the earth's rotation from equator verses the north pole? 
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    It seems like we should be able to feel the differences since it is a completely different spin... We're moving roughly 1000 mph around the equator, but spinning around stationary at the north pole.


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    Forum Sophomore Karsus's Avatar
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    The only reference you have for the spinning is by watching the sky above you. The reason you feel like you're going fast is because you have a reference you can see (stationary objects whizzing past) or feel (the air blasting past you). You don't get that reference when the ground and air are moving at the same speed as you.


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    Forum Professor pyoko's Avatar
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    Because gravity is still (pretty much) 1 G at the equator and at the poles.
    It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
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    KJW
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    The reason we don't feel the differences is that over the distances that we ordinarily experience, the differences are negligible. But, over much larger distances, the differences become significant and Coriolis forces do exist, being responsible for the circulation of air around high and low pressure weather systems.
    There are no paradoxes in relativity, just people's misunderstandings of it.
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    Moderator Moderator Janus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy View Post
    It seems like we should be able to feel the differences since it is a completely different spin... We're moving roughly 1000 mph around the equator, but spinning around stationary at the north pole.
    The linear speed difference is misleading. There is no way to sense a difference between moving at 1000 mph or being stationary. What you could measure is the difference between centripetal acceleration at the equator vs. the pole. However the angular velocity of the Earth is very small. (one rotation per day or 7.29e-5 radians per sec). This would result in a centripetal acceleration of 0.0339 m/s2 at the equator vs. zero at the pole. This would be hard to sense even if it wasn't swamped out by the ~9.8m/sec2 acceleration caused by gravity.
    Granted, if you were suddenly transported from the Equator to the Pole in an instant you would find yourself moving at 1000 mph compared to the pole. And if you tried to travel from the equator to the pole in a very short time period while holding to the same North-South line relative to the surface of the Earth, you would feel a "force" pushing you sideways (Coriolis effect). However, even a jet would take hours to make that trip, making this effect for all intents unnoticeable since your change in velocity would be stretched out over such a long time period. (It is like comparing slamming on your brakes to just letting your car coast to a stop. in the first case you are changing velocity in a short time period and feel it most intensely, in the second case the change is made over a long period of time and you can hardly feel it).
    "Men are apt to mistake the strength of their feelings for the strength of their argument.
    The heated mind resents the chill touch & relentless scrutiny of logic"-W.E. Gladstone


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    Forum Professor astromark's Avatar
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    Janus has answered very well and completely. However just so 'Speedy' gets it clearly.

    The atmosphere is what we are in. All motion of it and the ground we are on is based around the relative possition and the length of time movement between the poles area's and a equatorial position. you can not be in both places at once.
    It is not true that the wind is stronger at the equator.. ( not that anyone said it should be.) Equally you might argue we should weigh less at the equator because you are further from the core and the rotational velocity.. but yes, and no. As Janus said.
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