March 5, 2024 at 7:38 am

If The Earth Is Spinning So Fast, Why Don’t We Feel It?

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Shutterstock

There are so many interesting questions about how life on this planet works – not just for human beings, but for every last plant, animal, bug, etc that spins around on it.

Speaking of spinning – if we know Earth rotates pretty quickly, why aren’t we all down here stumbling around like a kid who went too many times on a merry-go-round?

The Earth spins at around 1,000 miles per hour, but unlike when we’re on a merry-go-round, we don’t feel the centrifugal force pushing us outward.

That is, the tendency for objects in motion to remain in motion in a straight line at the same velocity unless another force acts upon it.

Source: Shutterstock

You must experience the same feeling of being pushed outward as the Earth spins, so why don’t you feel it?

The answer is gravity, according to University of North Carolina physics professor Greg Gbur.

“The acceleration of gravity is about 9.8 m/s^2 on the Earth’s surface, and the reduction of that due to the rotation of the Earth at the equator, where things are moving the fastest, is about 0.03 m/s^2, which is measurable but really tiny compared to what we feel from gravity itself, so we don’t notice it.”

Relative motion also plays a role, which is like, why don’t we feel the air rushing past us the way we do when we stick a hand out of the car’s window.

Source: Shutterstock

The answer to this one is that as the Earth spins it drags our atmosphere along with it, resulting in a relatively smooth motion. This can be interrupted by things like earthquakes, but for the most part, we don’t feel any jerks along the way.

The answer is, then, that we don’t feel the speed because our senses are already overwhelmed with feeling a lot of other things.

So long as the planet doesn’t stop spinning, we can continue on our merry ways.

If you liked that post, check this one about a guy who got revenge on his condo by making his own Christmas light rules.