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What if the Earth suddenly stopped spinning?

What if the Earth suddenly stopped spinning?

The Earth not only revolves around the sun, it revolves around itself towards the east, and there are good reasons for that. If the Earth didn’t revolve around our sun every 365 days, we probably wouldn’t have seasons. If it did not also rotate on its axis, then our days would not be 24 hours. But that wouldn’t be the worst that could happen if the Earth stopped spinning for even a second.

a thought experimentThe Earth suddenly stops rotating. “That would be disastrous,” said American astrophysicist and TV presenter Neil deGrasse Tyson. in an interview. At that moment, anything that was not significantly attached to the Earth would be dislodged from the Earth as fast as the Earth was spinning. And how fast is that?

The earth stops and we rush away

At the equator, the Earth is measured approximately 1674 kilometers per hour – about 465 meters per second – its highest rotational speed. The further you are from north or south, the slower the rotational speed. The speed at 50 degrees north latitude – which runs across Germany – is still about 1070 kilometers per hour.

At this speed, everything not tightly bound to the earth will be thrown from the earth towards the east: people, animals, plants, buildings – including the oceans. The high-speed winds are still spinning at exactly the same speed as the planet’s rubbing against the surface, He also writes the astronomy magazine “Astronomy”.. “People were flying out of windows,” DeGrasse Tyson said in an interview. “This would be a bad day on Earth.” The astrophysicist explains it would have the same effect as a car crash. A person who drives into a wall without belts Safety that maintains the vehicle’s speed in the event of a collision – Result: Fly in or out of the vehicle.

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Tsunami, heat, cold and a new continent

However, there is one way to survive this first hurdle. Anyone at the North or South Pole at this time, that is, at two degrees of 90 degrees latitude of our planet, would probably hardly notice the stop rotation. Because the speed of rotation at these points is equal to zero kilometers per hour. But it probably won’t be spared: those who survived will likely be swept away by the massive waves at the poles by then. “Flying rocks and whipping oceans would cause earthquakes and tsunamis”, Geologist Jim Zimpelman told “Smithsonian Magazine,”. Entire livelihoods will be wiped out.

The planets of the solar system revolve around their star – the sun. If the Earth loses its rotation, half of it will face the sun for several months and as a result will become very hot. © Quelle: WikiImages / Pixabay

If the earth suddenly stopped revolving around itself and then only revolved around the sun, then the days and nights would be six months, It was assumed that NASA astronomer Sten Odenwald a few years ago. Scientist Karl Kruszelnicki has a similar opinion. Half of the planet will be exposed almost continuously to the heat of the sun, while the other half will be exposed to the coldness of space. Kruszelnicki tells Australian radio station “ABC”.. In his opinion, life would only be possible in some kind of twilight zone between these two halves. However, due to the rotation around the Sun, this region will not remain stationary at one point.

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Assuming that the oceans will not evaporate on the hot side and will not freeze on the cold side, Kruzelnicki also assumes that there is a new ocean around the equator “Giant Continent” will arise. Since the Earth is not perfectly round, but rather wider at the equator, the water will migrate towards the poles if the rotation stops. Then there will be two separate oceans on each side of the new continent at the poles, which will cover entire parts of the original continents. “You can travel around the Earth on the equator and stay completely dry – apart from the icy cold on the night side and sweltering heat on the day side.”

The probability is zero

However, scholars agree that: Probably An event like this will happen in the next billion years Practically at zero. Physicist and chemist Dave Consiglio says the Earth will never stop spinning. “Earth spins in the purest and most complete vacuum in the entire universe—in empty space. Space is so empty, so empty of anything that can slow the Earth down, that it rotates and turns with practically no friction,” zitert das “Forbes” -Magazin Council.

Space dust and the moon’s gravity would take minimal energy from spinning, but that was “really insignificant”. This slows the rotation of the Earth, But only about 1.8 milliseconds per century.

Earth slowing down over billions of years – what are the consequences?

So it can not be stopped suddenly. But what happens if the Earth continues to slow down for billions of years? Astrophysicist Degrasso Tyson doubts that we will slow down with Earth. A process we can live through. “People think this will somehow make us weightless or lose our vibe,” he said. Answer: No. The days will be very long.”

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According to NASA astronomer Sten Odenwald, this wouldn’t be a completely halted rotation, but it would be “As close as the laws of physics allow to Earth. “In this case, the Earth can rotate at some point in time ‘sun synchronously’, i.e. it only rotates every 365 days. Then one side is constantly oriented towards the Sun and the other is constantly in darkness. Similarly, the Moon revolves around the Earth – also called finite rotation But Astronomy magazine also ranks this theory as unlikely, as they say the Earth is too far from the Sun.


NASA shows time-lapse video of the sun

Ten years in one minute: This video shows our sun in time lapse © RND / NASA

Physicist Consiglio also believes that slowing the Earth’s rotation over billions of years is also possible – We won’t test that, though. He compares the Earth to a train traveling at 1,670 km/h: the only thing that would slow it down would be a collision with mosquitoes. At one point this train would stop, but until then, Consiglio suspects, it won’t be around anymore. The same is true on Earth. At the latest when the sun expands into a red giant in five billion years and gradually devours our solar system, our planet will be history. However, researchers say the expansion will make Earth uninhabitable within a billion years. So a stunted Earth wouldn’t be a realistic problem for us — not until the Sun made our planet uncomfortable anyway.