# What is the Difference Between Orbital and Angular Velocity?

The angular velocity $$\boldsymbol{\omega}$$ always points in the direction of the rotation axis (i.e. perpendicular to the rotation disk) and does not change its direction during a uniform circular motion. It indicates the angle covered by a mass point of the disk per time. In contrast to the orbital velocity, the angular velocity of a rotating disk is the same for all mass points (of which the disk is composed).

The orbital velocity $$\boldsymbol{v}$$ on the other hand, is tangential to the circular orbit and points in a different direction at every point on the disk (because of the rotation). The orbital velocity is larger the farther away a point of the circular disk is from the axis of rotation. The point which is closer to the axis of rotation must cover a smaller circumference of the circle than a point which is further away from the axis of rotation.

The magnitude $$\omega$$ of the angular velocity and the magnitude $$v$$ of the orbital velocity are linearly related:

Formula anchor

Here $$r$$ is the perpendicular distance of a point from the axis of rotation.

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