What would it take to make the earth stop spinning? This scenario is not unheard of in B-movies and bad sci-fi shows. It isn’t uncommon to have plots involving the Earth’s core slowing down or aliens from a different galaxy stopping the Earth’s rotation. A lot of these plots have the Earth stop spinning either instantaneously or within a very short period of time. Intuitively, we know that spinning bodies have energy. The Earth is a pretty massive spinning body. How much energy would the Earth have to shed to stop rotating? How would that energy affect us worldly inhabitants?
Here, I will discuss the physics behind rotation and rotational energy. We shall use simple facts about the Earth’s rotation to calculate what would happen to it were it to stop spinning.