EARTH’S ROTATION DAY
On January 8th, Earth’s Rotation Day celebrates the discovery that our planet rotates on its axis every 24 hours. It’s also a day to learn more about the French physicist, Leon Foucault.
The axis on which the Earth rotates is an imaginary line that is drawn straight through the earth. The axis connects the North Pole to the South Pole. The Earth rotates on this near-vertical axis every 24 hours. For this reason, there are 24 hours in one day. Additionally, it takes just over 365 days to revolve around the sun. Because of this, 365 days equals one year.
The earth’s rotation doesn’t just determine how long our day or year is, however. The earth’s rotation also determines the seasons. As the earth rotates, the sun intensifies at various angles. The Earth’s various positions in space throughout the year also allows us to see different constellations.
The earth’s rotation is even responsible for the Coriolis Effect, which is the defection of air currents. Air gets deflected to the right (clockwise) in the Northern hemisphere and to the left (counterclockwise) in the Southern hemisphere. Trade winds occur when the high-pressure wind gets blown to the west from 30 degrees N. Westerly winds occur when air currents are deflected to the east.
HOW TO OBSERVE #EarthsRotationDay
On this day, science museums and schools host a variety of events to educate others about the earth’s rotation. Many people go to science museums to see a display of Foucault’s pendulum. To participate:
- Learn more about how the earth’s rotation affects time, weather, gravity, and astronomy.
- Watch a documentary, such as “Orbit: Earth’s Extraordinary Journey” or “If the Earth Stops Spinning.”
- Host a space-themed party.
Spread awareness for this day on social media with #EarthsRotationDay.
EARTH’S ROTATION DAY HISTORY
It’s not known when people began observing this day. It is known, however, that the day is celebrated on January 8th to mark an important scientific event. It’s on this day in 1851 that Leon Foucault proved that the Earth rotates on its axis. Foucault is a French physicist who is also known for inventing the gyroscope and coming up with Foucault’s pendulum.