Why do we not feel the Earth turning?
I teach 5th grade, and we are studying the stars and our solar system. One
of my students asked why we do not feel the Earth's rotation, and would we
notice any difference if we were on Mercury, which rotates faster?
The centripetal force caused by the Earth's rotation is negligible compared
to gravity. Good thing, too, or we would all fly off into outer space!
There is also the Coriolis force that results from the Earth's rotation:
we can see it is effects, but we cannot really "feel" it
Nevertheless, we do "feel" the Earth's turning. The effect is maximum at
the equator, and vanishes at the poles. Your students might enjoy figuring
out why this is true.
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Update: June 2012