Why does the earth rotate counterclockwise?

1 Answer
Jan 11, 2016

Earth rotates counter clockwise because it was formed from material rotating counter clockwise.


The solar system was formed from a disc of material which started to rotate counter clockwise as we know it. As the Sun and the planets started to form from the material they too were spinning counter clockwise due to the conservation of angular momentum.

Venus is unusual in that it rotates clockwise. It is thought that Venus was tipped over by the Sun's gravity.

The fact that we call the direction of rotation counter clockwise is quite arbitrary. When clocks were invented the most popular direction which the hands rotate was called clockwise. We chose to refer to the direction planets and other bodies rotate as the direction of rotation when viewed looking down from the North pole. The direction the Earth spins happens to be the opposite direction to which clock hands turn. Hence counter clockwise.