Friday, January 8, 2016

Earth's Rotation Day

We Now Know the Earth Rotates

Today every child learns in school that the earth is round and rotates on its axis. It was no always so. Until Ferdinand Magellan sailed around the world and proved it was round even many scientists still believed the earth was flat. However since the 5th Century BC most Greek writers had believed the earth was round.

 Earth's Rotation Day
Sunset Is Visual Proof that the Earth Rotates, © B. Radisavljevic

It took longer for ordinary people to start believing what scientists did, and even longer for scientists to start believing and demonstrating that the earth rotates on its axis. In 499 AD the Indian astronomer Aryabhata first wrote about the earth's rotation on its axis. By the end of the 17th Century, Galileo and Newton's work supported this theory. Before that, even most scientists who believed the earth was round thought that the earth stood still and the sun and moon rotated around the earth.

Photographic "Proof" the Earth Rotates

I'm afraid I don't have photos of the earth rotating, but I do have proof it rotates. If the earth did not rotate, the sun would not set and the moon would not rise. Without the earth's rotation, we would not have day and night. 

In September, I took this shot of the sunset while I was facing west, just as the sun was almost down.

Today is Earth's Rotation Day
Sunset, © B. Radisavljevic

Then I turned to face the east as the moon was rising. Same day. Same time

Today is Earth's Rotation Day
The Moon in September, © B. Radisavljevic

It is the earth's rotation that causes the moon to rise as the sun sets.

Resources That Help Explain the Earth's Rotation

This video helps us understand the earth's rotation.

If you'd like some more help in explaining how the earth rotates and why we have day and night to your children, you might try one of these books.

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