If you had a giant tape measure that started at the center of the Earth and went to the highest peak on our planet, you would not see Mount Everest, but rather the tallest mountain on the other side would be Simborazo. Ecuador and Simborazo succeed in that case because the earth is actually slightly compressed at the poles, as if someone were pressing both hands on the top and bottom of the ball.
As a result, the equator – where Ecuador is located – stands alone, and instead of a whole sphere, the Earth is “flat”, meaning it is slightly flattened.
“In fact, most planets and moons are not real spirits; they are usually crushed in one way or another,” said James Dutt-Kane, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Why do the earth and other planets and moons not rotate properly? The barrier is called the centrifugal force, Kane told Live Science, or the apparent external force experienced by the rotating object.
If you rotate in a chair or on your feet, you should feel the position and your arms or legs may throb.
Or if you’ve been sitting on a roller coaster, Kane said, “There’s a little extra force acting on you in that loop, so you feel like you’re being pulled to the side.” As the planets and moons rotate, the centrifugal force causes swelling at the equator.
The effect can be very subtle, but good examples are Jupiter and Saturn, and if you look at the global picture of the gas giant you will notice that they are a little thinner with moderate swelling.
Kane said the shape of these erupting planets is very noticeable because they are the fastest orbiting planets in the solar system. The faster an object spins, the greater the centrifugal force on it.
Kane said a serious example of the impact of centrifugal force on an object is the dwarf planet Haumia, which is located in the Khyber belt, part of the ice outside Neptune’s orbit.
Hummia is about the size of Pluto, but rotates so fast (one complete revolution every four hours) that it is “almost like an egg,” Kane said.
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