Home » Do You Know » Brain Teaser: If Earth is spinning to the east, why isn’t it faster to fly west?

Brain Teaser: If Earth is spinning to the east, why isn’t it faster to fly west?

Want to indulge in a bit of physics related brain teaser? If the Earth is spinning to east, should it be quicker to fly to the west? Well, not really.

If you’re quick at Physics you might get satisfied with the fact that since the plane also gets affected by the spinning of the Earth, we are literally dragged away from our destination when we’re flying to the west. The detailed explanation to this brain teaser would however, include theories of relative velocities and that too, vary with different locations.

The earth spins towards east with a velocity of 1,180 km/h but the ground travels faster with a spin at a velocity of 1,670 km/h. The air above the ground also spins towards east at the same speed. So, the plane has to be faster than the relative motion of the earth’s spin in order to get anywhere at all. The speed of the plane itself gives it the additional driving force required to get ahead of the planet’s movement but, when the plane has to move west then it technically has to be slower than the earth’s rotation in order to not get dragged towards the east.

Still confused and curious about this conundrum? You should really check out the MinutePhysics video below which explains the mechanism in detail.

Image: MinutePhysics

h/t: Sicence Alert

Join the discussion

It's good to have you here!
We would like to stay in touch :)
FOLLOW US.