Can the sun rise from the west on Mars?
No. Mars rotates in the same rotational direction as earth. The rotational direction is defined as the direction in which the thumb would point if the fingers of the right hand were curled in the direction of Mars's rotation. That direction is the same for both Mars and Earth. Interestingly, the direction of revolution is also the same for both planets.
This common direction (in which the right-hand thumb would point) identifies North of the ecliptic plane (the plane defined by the Earth's orbit). Most planets (both rotation and revolution) of our solar system as well as the Sun (rotation) share this direction due to their common origin from a rotating mass of particles and gas.
So Earth and Mars both rotate in the same sense (counterclockwise if you look down on the solar system from North of the ecliptic). The Sun will always rise on Mars in the East, with East in the same sense as East on Earth.
Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:
- Podcast? Subscribe? Tell me about the Ask an Astronomer Podcast
- Subscribe to our Podcast | Listen to our current Episode
- Cool! But I can't now. Send me a quick reminder now for later.
How to ask a question:
If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.Table 'curious.Referrers' doesn't existTable 'curious.Referrers' doesn't exist
This page has been accessed 13202 times since October 23, 2007.
Last modified: November 27, 2007 11:36:50 PM
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.
Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)