Do you weigh less at the equator than at the poles?

13 January 2008

Question

Do you weigh less at the equator than at the poles because of centrifugal force on the rotating Earth?

Answer

Yes, you do. Although your mass is the same so that you've got the same amount of fat, the same amount of you. When you're at the equator you're spinning round so you're getting thrown away due to the centrifugal force (the same force if you've ever sat on a roundabout and it spinning around you can feel yourself being pushed away from the centre). You're actually even lighter than even the centrifugal force would give the impression of because the Earth actually bulges out at the equator so you're further from the centre of the Earth. You're actually even lighter even if the Earth wasn't spinning than you'd be at the poles.

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