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Updated January 15th, 2024 at 21:39 IST

What Would Happen If Earth Stopped Spinning, Can You Guess?

If one day, the Earth stops spinning, it may lead to the catastrophic and disastrous consequences.

Digital Desk
earth
The Earth's rotation that results in day and night. | Image:NASA
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Our planet Earth rotates at about a thousand miles an hour, the motion at its fastest. The blue and green habitable planet, the only one to sustain life due to presence of oxygen, spins on its tilted axis relative to the sun every 24 hours, resulting in the day and night. According to NASA, “rotation"of the planet Earth can be defined as object's spinning motion about its own axis, which is inclined at 23.45 degrees.

The Earth’s rotation relative to "fixed" stars is 3 minutes 56.55 seconds shorter than the overall mean solar day, which, NASA says is equivalent of one solar day per year. When facing the sun, the planet has daylight, and as it continues to spin, it moves to the side away from the sun. And hence, the nighttime befalls. Often, astronomers have wondered what would actually happen if the Earth suddenly stopped spinning.

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All planets, including Earth, spin. Some planets rotate faster than the Earth resulting in relatively shorter days. Venus, for instance, spins once in 243 days on its axis, while mercury spins one and a half times during each orbital revolution around the sun. Due to Earth’s spinning, there’s an average of 12 hours of light in locations close to the Earth equator. Therefore, if one day, the Earth stops spinning, it may lead to the catastrophic and disastrous consequences.

 

Because light is scattered in the Earth’s atmosphere, the terminator — the boundary between the day and night sides — is not sharply defined. (NASA)

An apocalyptic consequence

Given that if the Earth stops rotating, everything including the buildings, houses, people, infrastructure will fly eastward due to the immense force. As the day and night are used due to Earth’s rotation, if the planet stops spinning there will be no apparent motion to the sun and a single day could last half a year. The rocks and oceans will face propulsion of an intensity that there will be earthquakes and tsunamis while the continents that are separated by the waterbodies will all clash and collapse into one another, bringing about hazardous consequences for the planet’s life forms.

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The satellites, meanwhile, on which the humanity relies for communication, internet and GPS will start experiencing issues and disruption. According to the scientists, the geostationary satellites in space are synchronised with the motion of the Earth that help maintain the telecommunication. Earth not spinning anymore. Not just that, one part of the Earth will fade constant freezing winters, and will plunge into the dark while locations close to the equator will face extreme heat, that could render Earth inhabitable. The darkness and lack of light will eventually extinct the lifeforms that photosynthesise or depend on photosynthesising organisms for survival. The weather patterns will be disturbed, and the life will die out. Moreover the eastwards and westwards winds will clash into eachother, and the winds towards the poles, would unite. They could possibly create huge swirls of wind the size of entire continents destroying the planet.

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Published January 15th, 2024 at 21:39 IST

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