Which direction is the rotation of the Earth: clockwise or counter-clockwise?

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belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator


Although directions in space are relative, a general "up/down" based on a line drawn from the Earth's North Pole is usually used to form the Solar System's plane of orbit; a common point of reference is Polaris, the North Star, which is close to the Earth's Celestial North Pole (Wikipedia). The planets, including Earth, orbit the Sun in this general area. By this standard, accepting a top-down view (that is, looking directly down at the Earth from above the North Pole), the Earth rotates in a counter-clockwise direction, from West to East. This allows the Sun to "rise" in the East and "set" in the West, although it is really the Earth that is moving. The Earth is tilted, and so the total area exposed to the Sun during the day varies throughout the Solar year. There are several other factors that affect the Earth's status in the Solar System, but rotation and orbit generally remain constant; the Earth rotates at a speed of about 1,000 miles per hour (1,609 km per hour), and orbits the Sun at a speed of about 66,487 mi/h (107,000km/h).


nicoledesilva | Student

It spins on its axiscounterclockwise. The Earth rotates on its axis from West to East with its axis in the North/South direction.

And it revolves around the sun counterclockwise too.

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