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From this site, it states that:

The Sun spins faster at its equator than at its poles.

I have also read somewhere that the gas giants (gaseous planets like Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) also rotate faster at the equator than at the poles. Why this is so?

Editor: this is specifically about difference in angular rates, not linear speed.

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    $\begingroup$ Are you asking why the equator is faster in terms of raw speed (e.g. Km/h) or in terms of how long it takes to complete one full rotation? $\endgroup$
    – SirHawrk
    Commented Aug 4, 2022 at 11:23
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, but what is meant by raw speed? I do not know that. $\endgroup$
    – apk
    Commented Aug 4, 2022 at 11:38
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    $\begingroup$ As I said km/h. The earth has a different speed at the equator compared to the poles in km/h but not in rad/h. The sun has a difference in both so I am asking which you are talking about $\endgroup$
    – SirHawrk
    Commented Aug 4, 2022 at 11:45
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    $\begingroup$ Does this answer your question? Why does the outer layer of the sun have differential rotation? $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 6, 2022 at 3:55
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    $\begingroup$ Does this answer your question? What is the exact reason for the Sun's differential rotation to occur? $\endgroup$
    – ProfRob
    Commented Jan 25 at 7:10

1 Answer 1

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The Sun and other planets such as Neptune, Uranus, Jupiter, and Saturn are 'gas -giants' and their rotational speed is influenced by a phenomenon called Differential Rotation. This means that the rotational speeds vary at different regions of the celestial object. The prime factors causing such behavior include the object's composition, its magnetic field, and the convective currents. Convective currents are basically the movement of a fluid from an area of high density to an area of low density. This, thus forms areas of high and low density. The equatorial regions of these celestial bodies experience a more rapid rotation mainly due to these convective currents, present in the outer layers. These convective currents transport heat from the interior to the surface, and the Coriolis effect, resulting from the rotation, causes the gas to move in a swirling motion. This motion amplifies the rotation near the equator, leading to faster speeds compared to the polar regions.

Although this is an incomplete explanation of this topic since convective current can be complex in 'gas giants', but I think it will suffice. Hope it helps!

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    $\begingroup$ "Convective currents are basically the movement of a fluid from an area of high density to an area of low density. This, thus forms areas of high and low density." This seems rather circular. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 12, 2023 at 14:35

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