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Name: Patty T.
Status: educator
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 4/19/2004

One of my students asked: If you stand at the top of the earth, would you be able to feel it spinning on its axis?

No. One spin in 24 hours where the radius of spin is about 15 cm (one body radius) is not something the inner ear can pick up.

Teacher's Question:

Is the centripetal acceleration at the poles significantly different than at the equator?

At the poles, the centripetal acceleration is essentially zero. At the equator, it is about 0.03 m/s^2. Compared to the gravitational field intensity of Earth to be about -9.8 m/s^2, this is usually considered small. As far as significance is concerned, that is determined by your specifications. For most things, this is insignificant. For weighing (NOT massing) diamonds, it can make a financial difference. That is why small precious things are measured by mass and not weight.

---Nathan A. Unterman

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