What If Earth Stops Spinning? Scientist Explains the Terrible Consequences

What If Earth Stops Spinning? Scientist Explains the Terrible Consequences

The world seems perfect for us humans to live in. The Sun gives us enough heat, not too much to burn us alive and not too little to make us freeze to death. Our planet is rich in resources to feed everyone. The night and day that we need so much to organize our time around are formed through the spinning of our planet around its own axis.

But what if our planet stops spinning? In fact, what’s making it continually spin in the first place? And what would happen if it spins no more? If you’ve also asked your physics teacher those questions, you’re not alone. Luckily enough, science does provide some compelling answers, at least in this case.

Devastating changes would kick in

According to Express.co.uk, astronomer Jacco Van Loon of Keele University explains why our world keeps spinning and reveals what would happen if it stops. The reason for the spin that creates both day and night is simple: there’s no force present to stop the spin itself. He added that because there’s almost no friction in space, there’s nothing to push against the planet’s spin to slow it down.

Source: Pixabay
Source: Pixabay

However, there is a space object out there that actively slows down our planet: the Moon. The slow is practically nonexistent: one second added to the length of a day once every 50,000 years. How is that possible? The motion of the side of our planet that’s facing our natural satellite is not completely balanced by gravity. The side of the Earth that’s facing away from the Moon is also unbalanced enough.

Only the impact with another planet could stop Earth’s spin

Van Loon believes that only if another planet crashes into ours, the spinning of the Earth would stop. Under such circumstances, it’s not mandatory to be Einstein’s reincarnation to figure out what apocalyptic aftermath such an event would cause for us all. But even so, it’s more probable that the collision with another planet would change the way Earth spins rather than stop it.

The astronomer explained as Express.co.uk quotes:

If Earth were to stop spinning but continue to orbit the sun, a ‘day’ would last half a year, and so would the night. It could warm up much more during the day and cool down much more during the night. This would affect the climate on Earth.

A large temperature difference between day and night would cause strong winds, which would move warm air towards the cooler, nighttime side of the Earth.

Wind would also blow from the warm regions around the equator to the cold polar regions.

On a spinning Earth, this does not happen because the wind is deflected sideways.

He added that the magnetic field of our planet would get severely damaged, and massive swirls of winds the size of continents would kick in. Therefore, let’s all be thankful that the Earth keeps on spinning!

Cristian Antonescu

Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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