Re: IDE freeze for seconds

Raymond A. Ingles (
Thu, 3 Dec 1998 14:24:12 -0500 (EST)

On Thu, 3 Dec 1998, Nicholas J. Leon wrote:

> On Wed, 2 Dec 1998, Alex Buell wrote:
> # What is the first thing that ceases when you spin down a planet? That's
> # right, gravity. Everything not tied down would just fly out into space,
> # and that includes the atmosphere. Simple.
> What would happen is that we would all be crushed against the planet's
> surface as the balancing forces of gravity and centrifical would no longer
> be in accord.

Ummm... no. If centrifugal force were that big a factor, people would be
crushed by the Earth's gravity standing at the north pole.

At the equator... let's see, a BOTE calculation...

a = w^2/r -> a = (2*pi/86400 seconds)^2 / 6.4x10^6 meters ~= .034m/s^2

I.e., about .34% of the effect of gravity is cancelled by "centrifugal
force" at the equator. I doubt anyone would notice.

Still, everything would die after a while. Our "days" would immediately
become 365.25 days long. The dark side of the Earth would get *very* cold
before too long, and the atmosphere would start freezing out on that side.
The light side would get pretty warm, too. Of course, at the terminator
lines there would be some thawing and freezing, and I doubt it'd ever be
close to a vacuum, but it sure wouldn't be comfortable.

This is assuming you spin things down relatively gently, say over a few
months. If you do it fast, it would be even uglier. Impressive tides,
dramatic earthquakes, record winds, that sort of thing. *Then* the
atmosphere freezes out.

I'm going to go do something productive with my calculator now...


Ray Ingles (248) 377-7735

"Improvements succeeded each other so rapidly, that machines which had
never been finished were abandoned in the hands of their makers,
because new improvements had superceded their utility."

Charles Babbage 'On the Economy of Manufactures' 1832

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