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Q & A: A Bird and the Rotating Earth

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
If a bird is straight over a worm on the ground and go straight down for it, why would it not miss it if the earth is moving?
- chris lee (age 15)
neosho jr. high school, neosho mo usa
A:
Chris -

The reason that the bird would not miss is that not only is the Earth rotating, but the bird is rotating with it. The Earth, the air, and everything in the air (like the bird) rotate together. So when the bird is going 'straight down,' it's actually going straight down and rotating with the Earth at the same time. So it won't notice that the Earth is moving, too. This is the same reason that the Earth doesn't rotate out from under you if you jump up.

Another example of this is if you and your friend are each riding in separate cars. If the two cars are next to each other and going at the same speed, it may look as if your friend isn't moving at all - since you're both moving at the same speed.

-Tamara

(published on 10/22/2007)

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