Monday 28 October 2013

Screaming roller coaster? Earth's spin and orbit

Your pupils will look puzzled when they are asked to face east and to hold on tightly to something in front of them as we gradually ascend a very steep roller coaster. We go up and up and up and then scream loudly as we hurtle down the other side. Whatever is going on? We are demonstrating the speed of the Earth's spin; in London we are travelling at about 647 miles per hour (1042 km/h)! On the Equator, the spin-speed is 1,040 mph (1674 km/h). You can calculate the spin-speed where you are by multiplying 1,674 km/h by the cosine of your latitude. All this is explained in our new Earthlearningidea 'Screaming roller coaster; how fast am I travelling (due to Earth's spin and Earth's orbit)?
This activity is in the 'Earth in Space' category on our website; more will follow.

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