A sphere rotating (spinning) about an axis

Rotation or rotational motion is the circular movement of an object around a central line, known as axis of rotation. A plane figure can rotate in either a clockwise or counterclockwise sense around a perpendicular axis intersecting anywhere inside or outside the figure at a center of rotation. A solid figure has an infinite number of possible axes and angles of rotation, including chaotic rotation (between arbitrary orientations), in contrast to rotation around a fixed axis.

The special case of a rotation with an internal axis passing through the body's own center of mass is known as a spin (or autorotation).[1] In that case, the surface intersection of the internal spin axis can be called a pole; for example, Earth's rotation defines the geographical poles. A rotation around an axis completely external to the moving body is called a revolution (or orbit), e.g. Earth's orbit around the Sun. The ends of the external axis of revolution can be called the orbital poles.[1]

Either type of rotation is involved in a corresponding type of angular velocity (spin angular velocity and orbital angular velocity) and angular momentum (spin angular momentum and orbital angular momentum).

  1. ^ a b Wormeli, R. (2009). Metaphors & Analogies: Power Tools for Teaching Any Subject. Stenhouse Publishers. p. 28. ISBN 978-1-57110-758-9. Retrieved 2023-07-27.

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