Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

What is the cause of the rotation of the planets

  1. Sep 10, 2008 #1
    What is the cause of the planets (and the Suns) rotation
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 10, 2008 #2
  4. Sep 10, 2008 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2015 Award

    vincentm is correct. Particles falling into a gravity well travel in a spiral path. It is not unlike flushing a toilet. Traveling in a spiral path allows them to preserve momentum until absorbed. This imparts spin to the accreting body [star, planet, etc.].
  5. Sep 10, 2008 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Furthermore, the natural state of affairs is that rotating objects will continue to rotate until something comes along to stop it. For the larger bodies in the solar system, there aren't any significant effects on their rotation. But for the smaller bodies....

    The main effect on rotation is tidal forces, which don't work to stop rotation, but to synchronize it with revolution. The Earth is big enough and near enough (and has had enough time) to coerce the moon into making one rotation once per revolution. Similarly, the Sun has locked Mercury into making 3 rotations per 2 revolutions. You also see this with many (most?) of the moons in the solar system.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: What is the cause of the rotation of the planets
  1. Rotating Planets (Replies: 3)

  2. Rotation of planets (Replies: 3)