I am thinking in terms of the Coriolis Effect, atmospheric circulation and specifically Hadley Cell latitudinal width here, but the base question still stands.

For ease of reference, if we take a satellite of a gas giant, assuming somehow it overcame the tidal lock, perhaps by a collision that knocked it around a bit, and started spinning in a retrograde rotation in orbit around the giant, would the absolute speed that it rotates increase or decrease relative to a base tidally locked spin when it comes to determining how physics like the Coriolis effect work?

If it was spinning faster then the Coriolis Effect would make more extreme longitudinal winds and banding, but if it spun slower then the Hadley cell would feasibly stretch all the way to the poles.

I don't know enough about physics to know which would be correct, unless it depends on how the planet developed a retrograde spin in the first place?

  • $\begingroup$ When people were convinced that the Earth stood still and the sun revolved around it the Coriolis force continued to act without concerns about it. What makes you think that the perception of rotation influences physics? How do you perceive the rotation? $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Commented May 25, 2023 at 3:36
  • $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch I believe I misphrased my question, I will edit it - but essentially I am wondering if the total rotation, combined with the orbital period, would be added or subtracted together when factoring in retrograde orbits when it comes to things like the Coriolis effect $\endgroup$
    – Rexotec
    Commented May 25, 2023 at 3:54
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The absolute speed at which it spins is the same no matter how it orbits. Why would it be different? $\endgroup$
    – Cadence
    Commented May 25, 2023 at 5:10
  • $\begingroup$ I don't know enough about it, but look into the different ways to measure a day. Are we talking a sidereal day, a solar day, or what. Looking this up should help you find an answer. $\endgroup$
    – Ryan_L
    Commented May 25, 2023 at 6:00
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ There seems to be some confusion here... to state the obvious, a planet spins at the rate it is spinning, and effects caused by that spinning will have a magnitude proportional to its spin. The direction of its spin isn't relevant. $\endgroup$ Commented May 25, 2023 at 8:24

1 Answer 1


A planet with a retrograde spin would appear to be spinning slower when compared to a planet with a prograde (normal) spin.

The spin of a planet refers to its rotation on its axis. In a prograde spin, the planet rotates in the same direction as it orbits around its star. This is the typical rotation pattern observed in most planets, including Earth, where the rotation is from west to east.

  • $\begingroup$ The OP isn't asking about appearance, but actual measurable things like coriolis effects. $\endgroup$ Commented May 25, 2023 at 11:56

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .