Rockett, Frank H. Engineering Consultant, Charlottesville, Virginia.
- Additional Readings
A pendulum or swinging weight, supported by a long wire, by which J. B. L. Foucault demonstrated in 1851 the rotation of Earth on its axis. Foucault used a 62-lb (28-kg) iron ball suspended on about a 200-ft (60-m) wire in the Pantheon in Paris. The upper support of the wire restrains the wire only in the vertical direction. The bob is set swinging along a meridian in pure translation (no lateral or circular motion). In the Northern Hemisphere the plane of swing appears to turn clockwise; in the Southern Hemisphere it appears to turn counterclockwise, the rate being 15 degrees times the sine of the local latitude per sidereal hour. Thus, at the Equator the plane of swing is carried around by Earth and the pendulum shows no apparent rotation; at either pole the plane of swing remains fixed in space while Earth completes one rotation each sidereal day. See also: Day; Inertial navigation system; Pendulum; Schuler pendulum
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