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What is the velocity of the Earth?

"The Day the Earth Stood Still" may be a great title for a movie, but it certainly doesn't have any bearing in reality. While an evening of stargazing may give you the impression that all the world is still, the truth is that the Earth is always in motion.

The gravitational pull between the Earth and Sun causes the Earth to orbit the Sun at a velocity of 29.8 km/sec. At the same time, the Earth also rotates on its axis causing the daily cycle of day and night. This "rotational velocity" is approximately .47 km/sec.

This means that at the same time we're hurdling through space at nearly 67,000 mph, we're also spinning at over 1000 mph! Whew! Almost makes you dizzy, doesn't it?

Submitted by Arthur
(August 6, 1997)

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF