Why do we not feel the Earth turning

Something that I get asked a lot, I decided to write a short piece on this topic and answer this puzzling question. I also wanted to share this piece of information with everyone because this is something that gets asked a lot by kids or by students if you are teaching science at school and talking about stars and solar system.

The reason that we do not feel the earth turning is that the centripetal force caused by the Earth’s rotation is negligible compared to gravity.  Now that is the good thing, or we would all fly off into outer space! There is also the Coriolis force that results from the Earth’s rotation: we can see it is effects, but we cannot really “feel” it.

By the way,we do “feel” the Earth’s turning.  Although the effect is minimum at some places,the effect is maximum at the equator, and vanishes at the poles.  This should answer the question to your students now what would be a good question that your students or kids can figure out is why is it that the effect is maximum at the equator and vanishes at the poles?

16 thoughts on “Why do we not feel the Earth turning”

  1. Duuuuhhh where you get this kinda question? I mean answers are cool but I am always amazed at the questions that you find.

  2. Fun factoid centrifugal force is a false term if anyone hears it. The OP named it properly: Centripetal force. If we flew off the earth like a cup slide across a cars dashboard around a corner, there is a LACK of Centripetal force.

    Objects want to travel in a straight line, unless friction or gravity causes negative acceleration (deceleration is another false term). Since the earths gravity is so high vs the force of the earth spin (the force wanting to fling us into space in a straight line), we have a HIGH degree of centripetal force , or in other words, constant, negative acceleration “upwards or outwards”. The earths gravity isn’t going anywhere ;)

    Also some people who live FAR north who go to the equatorial line, can some times feel sick, “off”, balance loss, etc. Far to the north, you aren’t moving at 1000mph. Although most people are unaware no matter where they go
    We are moving though at 1000mph around the earth, and anything in synchronous orbit moves at the same speed

    However space isn’t frictionless, it is just VERY low. Plus forces from the moon. All that adds up to the earth VERY slowly slowing down in rotation. I don’t know if our sun will die before that happens though ;) or at least go red giant and fry us first ;) we are also losing the moon. 2billion years ago, it was MUCH closer to the earth. Earth lacks the gravity to keep the moon. Not sure when we will lose it, or if we fry from an aging sun first. Yes look it up ;) there was also a discovery science documentary about it

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