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If the earth is rotating counter clockwise, and we are on the crust or outside of the earth, why doesnt everything on the crust of the earth fly of into space?
- Kena (age 12)
Actually, whether you say the earth rotates clockwise or
counterclockwise depends on whether you view it from the North or South
Anyway, stuff (like us) on the earth doesn't fly off because the
force of gravity holds us down. If the Earth were spinning much faster,
gravity wouldn't be strong enough and we would fly off.
The earth does bulge a bit at the equator for exactly this reason,
and the effective gravitational field strength is a bit less at the
equator (you'd weigh a tiny bit less at the equator than you do in
North Carolina for two reasons -- one is that you're speed of going
around in circles is faster, and the other is that you are farther away
from the center of the earth).
Mike W. and Tom
(republished on 07/12/06)
Follow-up on this answer.