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Module 3: Earth-Sun Relationships

Figure 3-4 Rotational Velocity
Fig. 3-4. Rotational Velocity

Not all places on Earth rotate at the same velocity.  Rotational velocity decreases as one moves from the Equator and toward a pole.  This is easily demonstrated by thinking of a person standing at the Equator for one solar day.  In that 24 hour period he or she travels a distance of  25,000 miles (the Equatorial circumference).  That person moves at a rotational velocity that exceeds 1,000 miles per hour (24,902 miles / 24 hours = c. 1,038 miles per hour [mph]) (Fig. 3-4). 

A person standing at 60° North Latitude only moves about 12,500 miles in a 24 hour period (remember that 60° North Latitude is only one-half the length of the Equator).  He or she therefore only moves at about 520 miles per hour (12,500 miles / 24 hours = c. 521 mph).

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