Motions of the Earth

The Earth is constantly in motion, revolving around the Sun and rotating on its axis. These motions account for many of the phenomenon we see as normal occurrences: night and day, changing of the seasons, and different climates in different regions. With a globe ball properly mounted and rotating on its axis, the movements of the Earth around the Sun may be illustrated accurately.


The Earth spins on its axis from West to East (counter-clockwise). It takes the Earth 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4.09 seconds to complete one full turn. Day and night are produced by the rotation of the Earth. The speed of rotation at any point upon the equator is at the rate of approximately 1,038 miles per hour, decreasing to zero at the poles.


While the Earth is spinning on its axis, it is revolving around the Sun in a counter-clockwise direction. It takes the Earth one full year to complete one full revolution around the Sun. This path is known as the Earth's orbit. It is very near a circle. The mean distance of the Earth from the Sun is about 93 milling miles and the distance varies by 3 million miles, forming a slightly oval path.

The revolution of the Earth around the Sun traverse a distance of 595 million miles in 365 days, 6 hours, 9 minutes and 9.5 seconds. This means a speed of 18 miles a second (or 66,000 miles per hour) while at the same time rotating once each twenty-four hours.

Learn about measuring distance on a globe.

Learn how globes show time measurement.

Learn about the analemma.

Learn about the influences of sun and heat on the earth, global warming.