# How does the Foucault pendulum work?

## How does the Foucault pendulum work?

Foucault’s pendulum is an easy experiment demonstrating the Earth’s rotation. At the north or south pole, the pendulum is moving in a fixed plane (if we disregard the fact that the Earth is also revolving through space), so the plane of the pendulum seems to rotate through 360° as the Earth makes one full rotation.

### What is Foucault’s pendulum and what is its significance?

The Foucault Pendulum is named for the French physicist Jean Foucault (pronounced “Foo-koh), who first used it in 1851 to demonstrate the rotation of the earth. It was the first satisfactory demonstration of the earth’s rotation using laboratory apparatus rather than astronomical observations.

#### Is the Foucault pendulum a clock?

The pendulum is not a clock. However, the time it takes to go around the circle is predictable. Imagine yourself hovering above the Earth’s axis at the North or South Pole. The Earth below appears to be spinning like a merry-go-round. The pendulum would complete the circle in 24 hours.

Does Foucault’s pendulum work at the equator?

At the Equator, 0° latitude, a Foucault pendulum does not rotate. In the Southern Hemisphere, rotation is counterclockwise. The rate of rotation of a Foucault pendulum can be stated mathematically as equal to the rate of rotation of the Earth times the sine of the number of degrees of latitude.

Who discovered the Earth was spinning?

February 3, 1851: Léon Foucault demonstrates that Earth rotates.

## Where is the world’s largest pendulum?

The largest pendulum regulated clock measures 12.8 m (41 ft 11.94 in) in diameter and was commissioned by the Ganzhou Expressway Company Limited (China) as a feature public clock of the Harmony Tower in Ganzhou, Jiangxi Province, China.

### Who discovered the Earth hangs on nothing?

Nicolaus Copernicus

Nicolaus Copernicus
Born 19 February 1473 Thorn, Royal Prussia, Poland
Died 24 May 1543 (aged 70) Frauenburg, Royal Prussia, Poland
Education University of Kraków (1491–95) University of Bologna (1496–1500) University of Padua (1501–03) University of Ferrara (DCanL, 1503)

#### Why does a Foucault pendulum not rotate at the equator?

At the Equator, the relative motion of the Earth is not observable because there is no change in the force imparting an angular velocity to the bob. This is because the central axis of the pendulum is perpendicular with the axis of rotation of the Earth.

What do I need to make Foucault’s pendulum?

Fill the sack with sand.

• Check that the sack has no holes by lifting it up and gently shaking it.
• Seal the sack with the cord.
• Hang the sack from the high structure.
• Poke a hole in the bottom of the sack with the nail.
• Seal the hole with tape.
• Spread a garbage bag under the pendulum,so it covers the surrounding area.
• What was the Foucault pendulum used for?

Foucault Pendulum a pendulum used to demonstrate the diurnal rotation of the earth. A Foucault pendulum is a massive bob suspended on a wire or string whose upper end is secured-for example, by means of a universal joint-in such a way that the pendulum may swing in any vertical plane.

## How could you explain the Foucault pendulum?

A Foucault pendulum is a regular pendulum that swings from a bearing that allows rotation in any direction, like your shoulder joint instead of your elbow, as a demonstration that the Earth is rotating beneath it.

### Does a Foucault pendulum ever stop swinging?

A real pendulum does not swing forever without some source of initial force to get it started. Some Foucault pendulums are started manually by suspending the bob (weight) by a string and then burning through the string to ensure there is no unwanted wobbling during release.

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