What is the difference between rotation and revolution?


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Iris Phillips answered
Rotation is an object spinning around its own internal axis, while a revolution consists of an object spinning around another object on an external axis, or orbital path. Earth is an excellent example of both processes, or movements, in action.

  • Earth and rotation
As stated above, rotation consists of an object moving around its internal axis. Earth spins around its axis, an imaginary line connecting the North and South Poles. A complete rotation of Earth takes approximately 30 days.

  • Earth and revolution
Revolution, as mentioned earlier, is the movement of an object following an orbital path around another object. All the planets, including Earth, in this solar system revolve around the sun on different paths. It takes Earth 365 days, or a year, to revolve around the sun.

  • The Moon
The Moon is another example of both rotation and revolution. It rotates around its own axis while revolving around earth.

  • Other differences between rotation and revolution
Apart from the difference described above, there are two other differences, namely velocity and distance. The velocity of a rotating object can be very different from the revolving object. This can be seen in the example of Earth. During a rotation, the distance covered is also smaller than the distance of revolution.

Although it is quite possible for an object to both rotate and revolve at the same time, as can be seen in Earth, Moon and all other planets, it is also possible to see either one of the two movements on its own. A motor, for instance, spins around its axis, so it rotates.

A car driving on a circular track revolves around the track. There are many examples such as this, like a spinning ball rotating around its axis, or playful children revolving around a tree; the list goes on.

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