Measuring rotation::Rotation period


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Measuring rotation For solid objects, such as rocky planets and asteroids, the rotation period is a single value. For gaseous/fluid bodies, such as stars and gas giants, the period of rotation varies from the equator to the poles due to a phenomenon called differential rotation. Typically, the stated rotation period for a gas giant (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune) is its internal rotation period, as determined from the rotation of the planet's magnetic field. For objects that are not spherically symmetrical, the rotation period is in general not fixed, even in the absence of gravitational or tidal forces. This is because, although the rotation axis is fixed in space (by the conservation of angular momentum), it is not necessarily fixed in the body of the object itself.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[citation needed] }} As a result of this, the moment of inertia of the object around the rotation axis can vary, and hence the rate of rotation can vary (because the product of the moment of inertia and the rate of rotation is equal to the angular momentum, which is fixed). Hyperion, a satellite of Saturn, exhibits this behaviour, and its rotation period is described as chaotic.

Rotation period sections
Intro  Measuring rotation  Earth  Rotation period of selected objects  See also  References  External links  

Measuring rotation