(ORDO NEWS) — If you take an incredibly large measuring tape in your hands, place it in the very center of our planet and start moving towards the highest peak on Earth, it would not be possible to find yourself next to Mount Everest. The highest peak will be located in Ecuador.
The Chimborazo volcano, which has been extinct for quite some time, will be the highest point, because the Earth is not perfectly round and is slightly flattened at its poles. Because of this, the Equator, where Ecuador is located, will “protrude” a little.
Our planet has the shape of a flattened spheroid, and not a sphere, as many might think. James Tuttle Keene from NASA noted that the majority of all existing not only planets, but also moons, do not have the shape of a sphere and, just like the Earth, are slightly flattened.
The reason that the Earth and other space objects are not round is the centrifugal force. It is she who will act on the object that is constantly rotating. Centrifugal force is a special force with which a material point can affect bodies, limiting their movement to a certain extent and forcing them to move in a curve.
Due to the fact that the planets and their satellites rotate, under the influence of centrifugal force they will be convex precisely in the region of the equator. Saturn and Jupiter are considered ideal examples of such objects. If you look at the image of these gas giants, you can see that they are slightly flattened, but have a convex middle.
Their irregular shape is best seen because the speed of their rotation is higher than that of other objects in the solar system. It is worth noting that the higher the speed of rotation, the stronger will be the effect of centrifugal force.
Keane notes that a very good example of the influence of centrifugal force can be considered the dwarf planet Haumea. The dwarf planet is located in the Kuiper belt – far beyond Neptune. This planet is about the same size as Pluto, but it rotates at an enormous speed. Because of this, its shape resembles an egg.
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