MadSci Network: Astronomy

Subject: Can precession occur in the opposite direction?

Date: Mon Sep 3 13:16:53 2001
Posted by Arthur
Grade level: nonaligned School: No school entered.
City: Philadelphia State/Province: PA Country: USA
Area of science: Astronomy
ID: 999537413.As

    The equinox moves westward along the celestial equator.  This is called 
precession and is supposed to result from a wobble of earth's axis due to an 
applied torque.
    Spin a gyroscope.  Apply a torque by pushing the tip of the axis.  The 
gyroscope wobbles.  The wobble is in the direction of spin.
   The earth rotates anti-clockwise (as seen from space above the north pole).
The wobble should be in the same direction.
  When that wobble is translated to a path among the stars (as seen from earth's
surface) the direction is reversed.  It is clockwise. The pole should trace a 
path clockwise among the stars if that path results from a precessional wobble of
the axis.
  Can anyone make a gyroscope precess in a direction opposite to its direction 
of spin? If so, there may be an explanation of how the earth's axis could follow 
such a path among the stars.
  If not, then the standard explanation of what causes precession of the equinox
 is wrong;  there is no torque, no wobble, and why there is a gradual change in
the pole star and of the place of the equinox remains a mystery.

Re: Can precession occur in the opposite direction?

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