A

**rotation** is a

circularIn physics, circular motion is rotation along a circular path or a circular orbit. It can be uniform, that is, with constant angular rate of rotation , or non-uniform, that is, with a changing rate of rotation. The rotation around a fixed axis of a three-dimensional body involves circular motion of...

movement of an object around a

*center* (or

*point*In geometry, topology and related branches of mathematics a spatial point is a primitive notion upon which other concepts may be defined. In geometry, points are zero-dimensional; i.e., they do not have volume, area, length, or any other higher-dimensional analogue. In branches of mathematics...

)

*of rotation*. A

three-dimensionalThree-dimensional space is a geometric 3-parameters model of the physical universe in which we live. These three dimensions are commonly called length, width, and depth , although any three directions can be chosen, provided that they do not lie in the same plane.In physics and mathematics, a...

object rotates always around an imaginary

lineThe notion of line or straight line was introduced by the ancient mathematicians to represent straight objects with negligible width and depth. Lines are an idealization of such objects...

called a

*rotation axis*. If the axis is within the body, and passes through its

center of massIn physics, the center of mass or barycenter of a system is the average location of all of its mass. In the case of a rigid body, the position of the center of mass is fixed in relation to the body...

the body is said to rotate upon itself, or

*spin*. A

**rotation** about an external point, e.g. the

EarthEarth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

about the

SunThe Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System. It is almost perfectly spherical and consists of hot plasma interwoven with magnetic fields...

, is called a revolution or

*orbital revolution*, typically when it is produced by gravity.

## Mathematics

MathematicallyMathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

, a rotation is a

rigid bodyIn physics, a rigid body is an idealization of a solid body of finite size in which deformation is neglected. In other words, the distance between any two given points of a rigid body remains constant in time regardless of external forces exerted on it...

movement which, unlike a

translationIn Euclidean geometry, a translation moves every point a constant distance in a specified direction. A translation can be described as a rigid motion, other rigid motions include rotations and reflections. A translation can also be interpreted as the addition of a constant vector to every point, or...

, keeps a point fixed. This definition applies to rotations within both two and three dimensions (in a plane and in space, respectively.)

All rigid body movements are rotations, translations, or combinations of the two.

A rotation is simply a progressive radial orientation to a common point. That common point lies within the axis of that motion. The axis is 90 degrees perpendicular to the plane of the motion. If the axis of the rotation lies external of the body in question then the body is said to orbit. There is no fundamental difference between a “rotation” and a “orbit” and or "spin". The key distinction is simply where the axis of the rotation lies, either within or without a body in question. This distinction can be demonstrated for both “rigid” and “non rigid” bodies.

If a rotation around a point or axis is followed by a second rotation around the same point/axis, a third rotation results. The reverse (

inverseIn abstract algebra, the idea of an inverse element generalises the concept of a negation, in relation to addition, and a reciprocal, in relation to multiplication. The intuition is of an element that can 'undo' the effect of combination with another given element...

) of a rotation is also a rotation. Thus, the rotations around a point/axis form a

groupIn mathematics, a group is an algebraic structure consisting of a set together with an operation that combines any two of its elements to form a third element. To qualify as a group, the set and the operation must satisfy a few conditions called group axioms, namely closure, associativity, identity...

. However, a rotation around a point or axis and a rotation around a different point/axis may result in something other than a rotation, e.g. a translation.

Rotations around the

*x*,

*y* and

*z* axes are called

*principal rotations*. Rotation around any axis can be performed by taking a rotation around the

*x* axis, followed by a rotation around the

*y* axis, and followed by a rotation around the

*z* axis. That is to say, any spatial rotation can be decomposed into a combination of principal rotations.

In

flight dynamicsFlight dynamics is the science of air vehicle orientation and control in three dimensions. The three critical flight dynamics parameters are the angles of rotation in three dimensions about the vehicle's center of mass, known as pitch, roll and yaw .Aerospace engineers develop control systems for...

, the

principal rotationsAn aircraft in flight is free to rotate in three dimensions: pitch, nose up or down about an axis running from wing to wing), yaw, nose left or right about an axis running up and down; and roll, rotation about an axis running from nose to tail. The axes are alternatively designated as lateral,...

are known as

*yaw*,

*pitch*, and

*roll* (known as Tait-Bryan angles). This terminology is also used in

computer graphicsComputer graphics are graphics created using computers and, more generally, the representation and manipulation of image data by a computer with help from specialized software and hardware....

.

## Astronomy

In

astronomyAstronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth...

, rotation is a commonly observed phenomenon.

StarA star is a massive, luminous sphere of plasma held together by gravity. At the end of its lifetime, a star can also contain a proportion of degenerate matter. The nearest star to Earth is the Sun, which is the source of most of the energy on Earth...

s,

planetA planet is a celestial body orbiting a star or stellar remnant that is massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity, is not massive enough to cause thermonuclear fusion, and has cleared its neighbouring region of planetesimals.The term planet is ancient, with ties to history, science,...

s and similar bodies all spin around on their axis. The rotation rate of planets in the solar system was first measured by tracking visual features.

Stellar rotationStellar rotation is the angular motion of a star about its axis. The rate of rotation can be measured from the spectrum of the star, or by timing the movements of active features on the surface....

is measured through Doppler shift or by tracking active surface features.

This rotation induces a centrifugal acceleration in the reference frame of the Earth which slightly counteracts the effect of gravity the closer one is to the

equatorAn equator is the intersection of a sphere's surface with the plane perpendicular to the sphere's axis of rotation and containing the sphere's center of mass....

. One effect is that an object weighs slightly less at the equator. Another is that the Earth is slightly deformed into an oblate spheroid.

Another consequence of the rotation of a planet is the phenomenon of

precessionPrecession is a change in the orientation of the rotation axis of a rotating body. It can be defined as a change in direction of the rotation axis in which the second Euler angle is constant...

. Like a

gyroscopeA gyroscope is a device for measuring or maintaining orientation, based on the principles of angular momentum. In essence, a mechanical gyroscope is a spinning wheel or disk whose axle is free to take any orientation...

, the overall effect is a slight "wobble" in the movement of the axis of a planet. Currently the tilt of the

EarthEarth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

's axis to its orbital plane (obliquity of the ecliptic) is 23.44 degrees, but this angle changes slowly (over thousands of years). (See also

Precession of the equinoxesIn astronomy, axial precession is a gravity-induced, slow and continuous change in the orientation of an astronomical body's rotational axis. In particular, it refers to the gradual shift in the orientation of Earth's axis of rotation, which, like a wobbling top, traces out a pair of cones joined...

and

Pole starThe term "Pole Star" usually refers to Polaris, which is the current northern pole star, also known as the North Star.In general, however, a pole star is a visible star, especially a prominent one, that is approximately aligned with the Earth's axis of rotation; that is, a star whose apparent...

.)

### Rotation and revolution

While revolution is often used as a synonym for rotation, in many fields, particularly astronomy and related fields, revolution, often referred to as orbital revolution for clarity, is used when one body moves around another while rotation is used to mean the movement around an axis. Moons revolve around their planet, planets revolve about their star (such as the Earth around the Sun); and stars slowly revolve about their galaxial center. The motion of the components of

galaxiesA galaxy is a massive, gravitationally bound system that consists of stars and stellar remnants, an interstellar medium of gas and dust, and an important but poorly understood component tentatively dubbed dark matter. The word galaxy is derived from the Greek galaxias , literally "milky", a...

is complex, but it usually includes a rotation component.

### Retrograde rotation

Most

planetA planet is a celestial body orbiting a star or stellar remnant that is massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity, is not massive enough to cause thermonuclear fusion, and has cleared its neighbouring region of planetesimals.The term planet is ancient, with ties to history, science,...

s in our

solar systemThe Solar System consists of the Sun and the astronomical objects gravitationally bound in orbit around it, all of which formed from the collapse of a giant molecular cloud approximately 4.6 billion years ago. The vast majority of the system's mass is in the Sun...

, including

EarthEarth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

, spin in the same direction as they orbit the

SunThe Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System. It is almost perfectly spherical and consists of hot plasma interwoven with magnetic fields...

. The exceptions are

VenusVenus is the second planet from the Sun, orbiting it every 224.7 Earth days. The planet is named after Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty. After the Moon, it is the brightest natural object in the night sky, reaching an apparent magnitude of −4.6, bright enough to cast shadows...

and

UranusUranus is the seventh planet from the Sun. It has the third-largest planetary radius and fourth-largest planetary mass in the Solar System. It is named after the ancient Greek deity of the sky Uranus , the father of Cronus and grandfather of Zeus...

. Uranus rotates nearly on its side relative to its orbit. Current speculation is that Uranus started off with a typical prograde orientation and was knocked on its side by a large impact early in its history. Venus may be thought of as rotating slowly backwards (or being "upside down"). The

dwarf planetA dwarf planet, as defined by the International Astronomical Union , is a celestial body orbiting the Sun that is massive enough to be spherical as a result of its own gravity but has not cleared its neighboring region of planetesimals and is not a satellite...

PlutoPluto, formal designation 134340 Pluto, is the second-most-massive known dwarf planet in the Solar System and the tenth-most-massive body observed directly orbiting the Sun...

(formerly considered a planet) is anomalous in this and other ways.

## Physics

The speed of rotation is given by the

angular frequencyIn physics, angular frequency ω is a scalar measure of rotation rate. Angular frequency is the magnitude of the vector quantity angular velocity...

(rad/s) or

frequencyFrequency is the number of occurrences of a repeating event per unit time. It is also referred to as temporal frequency.The period is the duration of one cycle in a repeating event, so the period is the reciprocal of the frequency...

(

turnsA turn is an angle equal to a 360° or 2 radians or \tau radians. A turn is also referred to as a revolution or complete rotation or full circle or cycle or rev or rot....

/s, turns/min), or

periodFrequency is the number of occurrences of a repeating event per unit time. It is also referred to as temporal frequency.The period is the duration of one cycle in a repeating event, so the period is the reciprocal of the frequency...

(seconds, days, etc.). The time-rate of change of angular frequency is angular acceleration (rad/s²), This change is caused by

torqueTorque, moment or moment of force , is the tendency of a force to rotate an object about an axis, fulcrum, or pivot. Just as a force is a push or a pull, a torque can be thought of as a twist....

. The ratio of the two (how heavy is it to start, stop, or otherwise change rotation) is given by the

moment of inertiaIn classical mechanics, moment of inertia, also called mass moment of inertia, rotational inertia, polar moment of inertia of mass, or the angular mass, is a measure of an object's resistance to changes to its rotation. It is the inertia of a rotating body with respect to its rotation...

.

The

angular velocityIn physics, the angular velocity is a vector quantity which specifies the angular speed of an object and the axis about which the object is rotating. The SI unit of angular velocity is radians per second, although it may be measured in other units such as degrees per second, revolutions per...

*vector* also describes the direction of the axis of rotation. Similarly the torque is a vector.

According to the

right-hand ruleIn mathematics and physics, the right-hand rule is a common mnemonic for understanding notation conventions for vectors in 3 dimensions. It was invented for use in electromagnetism by British physicist John Ambrose Fleming in the late 19th century....

, the direction away from the observer is associated with clockwise rotation and the direction towards the observer with counterclockwise rotation, like a

screwA screw, or bolt, is a type of fastener characterized by a helical ridge, known as an external thread or just thread, wrapped around a cylinder. Some screw threads are designed to mate with a complementary thread, known as an internal thread, often in the form of a nut or an object that has the...

.

## Aviation

In

flight dynamicsFlight dynamics is the science of air vehicle orientation and control in three dimensions. The three critical flight dynamics parameters are the angles of rotation in three dimensions about the vehicle's center of mass, known as pitch, roll and yaw .Aerospace engineers develop control systems for...

, the principal rotations are known as

*pitch*,

*roll* and

*yaw*. The term rotation is also used in aviation to refer to the upward pitch (nose moves up) of an aircraft, particularly when starting the climb after takeoff.

## Amusement rides

Many

amusement rideAmusement rides are large mechanical devices that move people to create enjoyment. They are frequently found at amusement parks, traveling carnivals, and funfairs.-Notable types:*Afterburner*Ali Baba*Balloon Race*Booster...

s provide rotation. A

Ferris wheelA Ferris wheel is a nonbuilding structure consisting of a rotating upright wheel with passenger cars attached to the rim in such a way that as the wheel turns, the cars are kept upright, usually by gravity.Some of the largest and most modern Ferris wheels have cars mounted on...

has a horizontal central axis, and parallel axes for each gondola, where the rotation is opposite, by gravity or mechanically. As a result at any time the orientation of the gondola is upright (not rotated), just translated. The tip of the translation vector describes a circle. A

carouselA carousel , or merry-go-round, is an amusement ride consisting of a rotating circular platform with seats for riders...

provides rotation about a vertical axis. Many rides provide a combination of rotations about several axes. In

Chair-O-PlanesThe Chair-O-Planes is a fairground ride that is a variation on the carousel in which the chairs are suspended on chains from the rotating top of the carousel...

the rotation about the vertical axis is provided mechanically, while the rotation about the horizontal axis is due to the

centripetal forceCentripetal force is a force that makes a body follow a curved path: it is always directed orthogonal to the velocity of the body, toward the instantaneous center of curvature of the path. The mathematical description was derived in 1659 by Dutch physicist Christiaan Huygens...

. In roller coaster inversions the rotation about the horizontal axis is one or more full cycles, where inertia keeps people in their seats.

## Sports

Rotation, usually called

*spin*, plays a role in many sports.

*Topspin* and

*backspin* in

tennisTennis is a sport usually played between two players or between two teams of two players each . Each player uses a racket that is strung to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over a net into the opponent's court. Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society at all...

.

*English*,

*follow* and

*draw* in billiards and pool. Curve balls in baseball and

spin bowlingSpin bowling is a technique used for bowling in the sport of cricket. Practitioners are known as spinners or spin bowlers.-Purpose:The main aim of spin bowling is to bowl the cricket ball with rapid rotation so that when it bounces on the pitch it will deviate, thus making it difficult for the...

in cricket.

Table tennisTable tennis, also known as ping-pong, is a sport in which two or four players hit a lightweight, hollow ball back and forth using table tennis rackets. The game takes place on a hard table divided by a net...

paddles are specialized to allow

## See also

- Absolute rotation
- Balancing machine
A balancing machine is a measuring tool used for balancing rotating machine parts such as rotors for electric motors, fans, turbines, disc brakes, disc drives, propellers and pumps. The machine usually consists of two rigid pedestals, with suspension and bearings on top supporting a mounting...

- Mach's principle
In theoretical physics, particularly in discussions of gravitation theories, Mach's principle is the name given by Einstein to an imprecise hypothesis often credited to the physicist and philosopher Ernst Mach....

- Rotating locomotion in living systems
- Rotation representation (mathematics)
In geometry a rotation representation expresses a rotation as a mathematical transformation. In physics, this concept extends to classical mechanics where rotational kinematics is the science of describing with numbers the purely rotational motion of an object.According to Euler's rotation theorem...

## External links

- Product of Rotations at cut-the-knot
Cut-the-knot is a free, advertisement-funded educational website maintained by Alexander Bogomolny and devoted to popular exposition of many topics in mathematics. The site has won more than 20 awards from scientific and educational publications, including a Scientific American Web Award in 2003,...

. cut-the-knot.org
- When a Triangle is Equilateral at cut-the-knot. cut-the-knot.org
- Rotate Points Using Polar Coordinates, howtoproperly.com
- Rotation in Two Dimensions by Sergio Hannibal Mejia after work by Roger Germundsson and Understanding 3D Rotation by Roger Germundsson, Wolfram Demonstrations Project
The Wolfram Demonstrations Project is hosted by Wolfram Research, whose stated goal is to bring computational exploration to the widest possible audience. It consists of an organized, open-source collection of small interactive programs called Demonstrations, which are meant to visually and...

. demonstrations.wolfram.com
- Rotation and Geometry, circumsolatious.blogspot.com