Which direction does the Earth rotate?

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    Earth's rotation is the rotation of the solid Earth around its own axis. The Earth rotates towards the east. As viewed from the North Star Polaris, the Earth turns counter-clockwise.
    The North Pole, also known as the Geographic North Pole or Terrestrial North Pole, is the point in the Northern Hemisphere where the Earth's axis of rotation meets its surface. This point is distinct from the Earth's North Magnetic Pole. The South Pole is the other point where the Earth's axis of rotation intersects its surface, in Antarctica.
    The Earth rotates once in about 24 hours from the point of view of the sun and once every 23 hours 56 minutes and 4 seconds from the point of view of the stars (see below). Earth's rotation is slowing slightly with time; thus, a day was shorter in the past. This is due to the tidal effects the Moon has on Earth's rotation. Atomic clocks show that a modern day is longer by about 1.7 milliseconds than a century ago, slowly increasing the rate at which UTC is adjusted by leap seconds.'s_rotation


    One way to visualize how the earth turns is to hold out your right fist with your thumb extended and pointing straight up (the traditional hitchhiker fist). If you visualize that your thumb points north, then your fingers are curling in the direction of Earth's rotation. Because of this easy set up, we say that the earth rotates in a "right-handed" manner (because you are using your right hand as a model).

    You can take this model a step further by visualizing that the base of your thumb is where Europe and Africa are located (Europe is above Africa of course when North is up). The Atlantic Ocean would be on your fingers and the flat part of your fist by your knuckles are the Americas. The back of your hand is the Pacific Ocean, which leaves Asia to rest where your wrist is. If you keep this simple model in mind, you will always have an Earth-globe to check directions by. This is not so different from counting using your fingers.

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