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Is earth an inertial frame of reference?

7 years ago


Answers : (1)


Is earth an inertial frame of reference


Earth rotates around its axis as also revolves around the sun. In both these motion. Centripetal acceleration is present. Therefore, strictly speaking earth or any frame of reference fixed on earth cannot be taken as an inertial fame. However, as we are dealing with speeds  » x 108 ms-1 (speed of light) and speed of earth is only about 3 x 104 m/s, therefore when small time intervals are involved effect of rotation and revolution of earth can be ignored. Furthermore, this speed of earth can be assumed to be constant. Hence earth or any other frame of reference set up on earth can be taken as an approximately inertial fame of reference.


On the contrary, a frame of reference which is accelerated or decelerated is a non-inertial frame.


Other examples of inertial frames of reference are:


(i)         A frame of reference remaining fixed w.r.t. stars.

(ii)        A space ship moving in outer space, without spinning and with its engine cut off.

            Inertial frames of reference are important because:

(iii)       All fundamental laws of Physics have been formulated in respect of inertial frames.

(iv)       The fundamental laws of Physics have the same mathematic form in all the inertial frames of reference.

(v)        The optical experiments performed in an inertial frame in any direction will always yield the same results. This is isotropic property of the inertial frames of reference.

7 years ago

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