Astronomy by William T. Skilling; Robert S. Richardson

By William T. Skilling; Robert S. Richardson

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The axis of the Precession of the equinoxes The axis of top moves in the direction that the top rotates; direction opposite to that of the earth's rotation. of the earth's attraction force of the is tending to tip the the axis of the earth in the This is because the force top farther over, whereas the moon's attraction upon the equatorial bulge of the earth is tendup the earth's axis. Both the earth and the top obey the ing to straighten law of gyroscopic motion. Since the gyration of the earth's axis the motion of the equinoxes is also clockwise, or westward.

In the first effort that was made to find the mass of the earth, was only strong enough to draw a pendulum, hung close to This would mean that a it, over 5|" toward the mountain. 001 inch. ILven this little deflection from the perpendicular was sufficient to give the attraction of the mountain. A cylinder of iron weighing 140 pounds used in another experiment exerted only as much force on a 1 -ounce ball of gold near it as would be about equal to the weight of ink in a period in print! How can such a minute force be measured?

The earth's orbit. The orbit in which the earth performs annual passage around the sun is slightly elliptical rather than circular. The sun is not at the center of this ellipse but is at a focus, about 1^0 of the way from the center toward one end; that is, about 1,500,000 miles from the center (Fig. 14). The method of finding the shape of the orbit is explained in Chapter 7. The nature of ellipses. In order to appreciate the meaning of an elliptical orbit, such as all planets have, the student its should draw several as follows (Fig.

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