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.

Image Courtesy: hidayaresearch.com, geography4kids.com

Top 10 Most Searched Differences Most Searched in Computers and Internets
Most Searched in Arts and Humanities Most Searched in Home and Garden
Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra vs Sony Xperia T
Mexico vs New Mexico
Common Law vs Statutory Law
Aluminum vs Steel

Comments

Great way to get the hang of it

this is a poor explaination. How can rotate and revolve be "different processes altogether" if the words themselves are used in each others definitions? If I analyze the definitions you have given, the 2 terms actually appear to be quite similar with them meaning different things only sometimes. And it would seem through your explaination that you are noting a difference based purely on established usage in a particulary field (astronomy). This however doesn't at all establish that the terms themselves convey different meanings when applied to other fields so taht we can understand the conceptual difference (if there really is any) between rotate and revolve. not helpful unless you just want to know how the two terms are applied in astronomy...

Add new comment

Plain text

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.