Earth  ID: 20196

Earth Orientation Animations

When you think of the Earth's orientation, you'd probably imagine something like a globe, where it always rotates around an axis, called the spin axis, defined by the north and south poles. And while this generally makes sense, in reality, the Earth's orientation is constantly changing very slightly, and this change can be described in three ways. Learn more about how the Earth's orientation changes by watching the animations below!

Note: All motion in these animations is greatly exaggerated for clarity.

Animation Credits

Chris Smith (HTSI): Lead Animator
Chris Smith (HTSI): Video Editor
Chris Smith (HTSI): Producer
Chopo Ma (NASA/GSFc): Scientist
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab

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SVS >> Earth
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Solid Earth >> Geodetics/Gravity >> Polar Motion
NASA Science >> Earth
SVS >> Very Long Baseline Interferometry
SVS >> Nutation
SVS >> Procession
SVS >> UT1

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version