Difference between Rotate and Revolve

Key Difference: Rotate and Revolve describe different processes altogether. In layman’s terms, remember that the Earth rotates around its axis and revolves around the Sun.

Rotate and revolve often create confusion when one tries to define them. There is a difference between rotate and revolve that shows how our solar system is organized, and how our planet relates to it.

According to Dictionary.com, ‘Rotate’ is:

• To cause to turn around an axis or center point; revolve.
• To turn around on or as if on an axis.

A rotation is basically a circular movement. An object rotates around the fixed point of rotation. One rotation is completed when a planet turns on its axis once. Earth rotates from west to east around an imaginary line, which passes through the poles, i.e. north and south poles.

According to Dictionary.com, ‘Revolve’ is:

• To move in a circular or curving course or orbit: The earth revolves around the sun.
• To turn around or rotate, as on an axis: The wheel revolves slowly.
• To proceed or occur in a round or cycle; come around again in the process of time; recur.

The earth revolves around the sun. Revolve is when something, usually a planetary body, moves around something in a usually elliptical path. In revolving, the moon is a little different. The moon rotates once about every 27 days, and revolves once about every 27 days. So every time the moon goes around Earth it turns around one time; this is the reason it always looks the same.

In simple terms, remember that the Earth rotates around its axis and revolves around the Sun.

Comparison between Rotate and Revolve:

 Rotate Revolve Definition Rotate is when something spins on an axis. Revolve is when something, usually a planetary body, moves around something in a usually elliptical path. Origin of the word Latin word rotare, meaning ‘to cause, to spin, roll, move in a circle’ Latin word revolver, meaning ‘to roll back’ Earth Earth takes only 24 hours to rotate on its axis. Earth takes 365 days to revolve around the sun. Moon Moon rotates around its axis. Moon revolves around the Earth in the same amount of time, 27 days. Causes Rotation causes day and night. Revolution causes different seasons. Relative speed Relative speed of rotation is utmost at the equator and slowest at the poles. Relative speed of revolution is fastest when the sun is nearest to the Earth and is slowest when it is at the farthest end.

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