Earth rotation and orbital motion
McCarthy, Dennis D. Formerly, Time Service Division, U.S. Naval Observatory, Washington, DC.
Last reviewed:November 2019
- Rotation of the Earth
- Observations of rotational speed
- Causes of variations
- Revolution about the Sun
- Orbit of the Earth
- Period of revolution
- Mean radius of orbit
- Eccentricity of orbit
- Other Motions
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The rotation of the Earth about its axis is demonstrated by the classical Foucault pendulum experiment. Its revolution in its orbit around the Sun is shown by the annual parallactic displacement of relatively nearby stars with respect to the background of more distant stars. However, because the Earth is not truly a rigid, symmetric body and because it interacts with other members of the solar system gravitationally, these motions vary with time. See also: Foucault pendulum; Orbital motion; Parallax (astronomy)
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