Gyroscopes have always fascinated me. Even
after taking engineer physics classes and learning the principles, I still find
it amazing that the momentum of a spinning, stationary object will resist an attitudinal
perturbance. This video demonstrates the ability of a gyro to hold up a relatively
heavy mass, and the resulting precession. It is the same phenomenon that causes
the Earth's 26k-year cycle of the
of the equinoxes.
Also demonstrated is nutation, which is the same kind of wobble that occurs with
our moon that causes a slight variation in the lines between the light and dark
sides. It has the period of a lunar orbit. The Earth also experiences nutation,
but its period of 18.6 years is barely noticeable.
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