# How long does it take the earth to rotate on its axis?

A complete rotation of the earth on its axis takes approximately 23 hours, 56 minutes and four seconds with respect to the background stars. However, the sun returns to the same place in the sky (correcting for seasonal differences) every 24 hours. The reason for this difference is that the journey of the sun back to the same spot is a solar day, while the period of rotation is known as the sidereal day.

The reason for the difference between solar and sidereal days is that the earth is orbiting the sun in a period of time that takes 365 1/4 days. Dividing 24 hours by 365 days, you have about 4 minutes left over. This means that the sun's position goes ahead about 4 minutes each day, which is the difference between the two types of days.

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Q&A Related to "How long does it take the earth to rotate on..."
 Several things most of them bad, the most obvious would be that our days would be shorter. There would also be an increase in the amount of gravity we felt. Depending on how much http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_would_happen_if_the...
 The time it takes the Earth to rotate once about its http://www.chacha.com/question/what-is-the-time-re...
 If you stand at the Earth’s equator, you are moving approximately 25,000 miles (40,075 kilometers) in each 24-hour day. To calculate this speed, divide the distance around the http://www.answers.com/topic/how-fast-does-the-ear...
 Well, if you go Noon to Noon, it's 24 hours. If you go by how long it takes for a star to get back over the same meridian, then it's 23 hours and 56 minutes. http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=201309...
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