Perceptions updateIndex of PerceptionsPerceptions site mapsearch Perceptions
comment + criticism welcome
`Perceptions' ITEM
Copyright © 2012 Ray Dickenson
Welcome - Chinese Peace - Arabic
Dream - Russian Soul Duty - Sanskrit

Spinning-Top Effect

A Spinning-Top

this "precession-stuff" is all about a spinning-top.

Nothing else!

That's a Japanese toy,
but 'tops' all behave the same,
that's why an African 'top' and a Scandinavian 'top' look the same

(All spinning objects `grab-hold' of the Universe's fabric)

Although when you look for this small effect - called "precession" - maybe you'd better use one of these gyroscope-like 'tops' shown here


Only because they are more stable and tend to spin for a longer time
So the "precession" effect is more visible

So - what's "precession"?

Well - before you spin the 'top' - check which way it's going to spin

If it's a gyro-top and you're pulling a toothed-string the odds are it spins anti-clockwise

If you're spinning it with your fingers, then it'll probably be spinning clock-wise


Right - Spin the 'top' and you'll notice it'll start to wobble in a circle - more and more - before it finally falls over and stops

And that the rotation of wobble goes in opposite direction to spin of the 'top'!

You'll know it's doing that because - as a top leans over and finally touches the table, looking as if it's going slowly - it'll suddenly skip and rush a little way !

That's because the top itself was spinning one way - say anti-clockwise but the wobble (the precession) goes the opposite way and makes the top appear to spin slowly that way!

Well, the precession stops immediately the 'top' touches-down - but the 'real' spin of the top has enough force to give a last kick, showing which way it was really spinning

[Check that last bit out - we've lost our 'gyro-top' and can't verify it just now

If yours behaves differently - patent it!]

Well - that's it ! That's all "precession" is about

working gyro

A spinning-top is really just a gyroscope turned on its side - Yes?

That one is `precessing' or turning anti-clockwise because a small weight is hung on one side of its axis (or `axle' line).

The precession movement is caused by the inertia of the mass of a rotating body reacting against the `tilt' that the added weight is trying to impose.

`Inertia' note:

remember from `inertmass' that objects don't easily move, or stop if they're already moving?

It's always known as inertia if not moving, & sometimes called momentum if moving, but it's the same phenomenon

objects tend to carry on doing what they were doing

working gyro

Why the gyroscope is `precessing' - here's how we can picture it, in conventional terms:-

Let's say the vertical roter is spinning anti-clockwise when you hang a weight on the near-side of its axis (so you're tilting the top of the rotor towards you - bottom away from you).

But the right-hand-side of the rotor is spinning upwards and wants to carry on, so its inertia acts against the top-tilt, pushing that side away from you - - while the left-hand-side of the rotor is spinning downwards and wants to carry on [bottom's tilting away from you] and has to push against that tilt - so the left-hand-side gets a push towards you.

Result - the vertically spinning rotor will also begin to turn laterally (precess), around its vertical axis - as you can see above.  The speed and mass of the rotor mainly influence the amount of precession -

where Is is the moment of intertia, Ts is the period of the rotor, and Q is the applied torque - turning power of weight - of rotor:-

Tp (precession period) = 4 pi2 Is / Q Ts

Down here on Earth the large `precession' effect, which, along with plain old friction, slows and stops our `spinning-top' so quickly, is mostly due to a large mass being very close - yes that's the Earth itself!

Astronomers know the Earth behaves exactly the same as a "spinning-top." It's just that one complete wobble - where the top moved in a backwards circle in maybe a second - takes the Earth about 26,000 years to do.

Yes, nearly twenty-six thousand years!
ref 1

The Age of Aquarius

What's that about?

That backwards-wobble called precession - taking almost 26,000 years remember - gradually moves our view of the star-patterns, which was noticed on the two big days, in March and September, when Earth's tilted axis is exactly sideways-on to the Sun.

Why? - & How?

Well, Earth's north pole leans Sunwards for half an orbit, then that North pole points away from the Sun for the other half of the year [see diagram below].

So, twice a year, Earth is `sideways-on' - that's change-over time.

Each twice-yearly changeover is called an 'equinox' - 'cos daytime and night-time are about equal that day.

At the 'vernal' equinox
  (beginning of northern Springtime - around March 21)  the Earth is sideways on.  After the vernal equinox the Northern hemisphere leans towards the Sun.

Second equal day is in September, the 'autumnal' equinox
  (beginning of southern Spring - around September 23)  after that, the Southern hemisphere tilts towards the Sun.

And yes - people in the North got to name the equinoxes - so they called the March one the "Spring" (or "Vernal") equinox - although it's the start of autumn / winter for people in the Southern hemisphere.

Equinoxes (equal length day/night) and Solstices (longest or shortest day/night)

going anti-clockwise
(Earth orbits - and spins - anti-clockwise)
Actual Solstice & Equinox Times/Dates - WIKI

Latin sol-stice means `sun stop' - I.e. in the Northern hemisphere the Sun seems to `pause' then start to `rise' from late December (thus our `pagan' mid-winter festival * ), and to `pause' then start to `sink' from late June.  Of course just the opposite in Southern hemisphere.

Earth's elliptical orbit brings us closest to the Sun (perihelion) about Jan 3, and furthest away (aphelion) around July 4.
Yes - you're right, the Earth is closer to the Sun during northern hemisphere's winter; clearly Earth's `tilt' is more significant for heat-regulation than our precise distance ref 2 from the Sun.

And why's an `equinox' a Big Day?

The ancient astronomers ref 3 - like some modern ones - were obsessed with finding some "fixed" reference in the dance of the stars.

Thinking Earth was center of the Universe and that the Sun was next powerful, they chose to look East at dawn of the spring equinox day - to find which star constellation would "rise with the Sun".

By their logic they maybe hoped / thought this would give them a fixed point.

Well, they were probably shocked to find that the constellation visible just before dawn was actually moving away and another constellation - the next 'sign of the Zodiac' ref 4 - was coming into view.

But so slowly! More than two thousand years for each Zodiac sign.

Below there's a picture of what's happening, very slowly, as the constellation of Aquarius begins to show up behind the horizon at dawn (about March 21).  That's the beginning of the "Age of Aquarius" - the Caring Age. ref 5

And it should last just as long as all "Ages" - a bit more than two thousand years.

[ dont forget all of the Solar System IS REALLY INSIDE that distant circle of constellations ]

backwards wobble

ZODIAC is the narrow band of star constellations lying behind the apparent path of the SUN - the `ecliptic'

"Zodiacal Precession" diagram was originally from "Fingerprint of the Gods" by Graham Hancock - Mandarin, ISBN 0-7493-1454-0,
which gave impetus to finally making Sphinx page and this one - thanks Graham

You can see we're just coming to "Aquarius" now
(check out Beth Napier's great ecliptic & zodiac chart)

So that's all "Precession of the Equinoxes" is about!

NOTE: If the Solar System's planets were stable and undisturbed from origin, there would be very little precession and all planets would orbit in the same plane - making a perfect disk seen from side-on.

In reality all planets are tilted at, and orbit at, different angles - some extreme!

[One or two planets even rotate the `wrong way' or at the `wrong rate':
for instance, Venus is spinning slowly backwards; Uranus has been knocked sideways, now rotating `up' and `down'.]
Even our Moon has an orbit tilted at 10 degrees to a `normal' equatorial orbit:  the sign of at least one disturbance.


NOTE 2: Just got a question (2006) - "Why do planets rotate round their axes?"

It's down to `angular momentum' - that is, like an ice-dancer spinning faster as she draws limbs (body mass) inwards.

So contracting clouds of material start to spin, some very fast indeed, as they `condense' into planets, or Suns, or even into neutron stars.

Same effect, gravitational in-falling and subsequent angular momentum spinning, seems to work at least up to galactic-sized objects.

Here's physical description of the process.

For "coders" and "de-coders" :- If you wanted to leave a sign from our coming age of Aquarius you could make an immovable image of the Water-Carrier facing to the East (to indicate the constellation's `helical rising').

The Sphinx - carved out of the immovable bedrock to face the East - was probably first sculpted as a Lion - a `Leo'.

You can see right away the simplest reading indicates a build-date of c. 12,000 years ago, during the Age of Leo.

Although Graham Hancock (from Bauval, West, Antoniadi ref 6 et al) has quite correctly stated that tracing Earth's precessional history would give us approx. 26,000 years for a complete cycle, and maybe 39,000 years as an interpretation of that Egyptian astronomer's statement, that is only accurate if we take the present rate as unchanging!

From your own experiments with a spinning-top we've seen that, as the top slows down, the rate of precession (how it reverse-wobbles in a circle) also slows. ref 7

We know our length-of-day is increasing - Earth's spin is slowing.  How much we aren't sure.

This necessarily means precession is slowing - so going back in time we would find precession happening faster and faster the further back we go.

That means all calculations tend to overstate elapsed time ref 8 - again we are not sure by how much.

[Ie. Was a "year" really a year if the Earth was rotating say, twice as fast, both on its own axis and maybe around the Sun ?]

Alternative reading?

The Palermo Stone ref 9  contains a reference to a calendar of 320 days used very early on, during `Old Kingdoms'.

So if Palermo Stone's calendar - 320 days - has a basis in historical reality, then we'll have to rethink History's timing!



2 - 370,000,000 year-old Devonian corals which added rings each day; they added 400 rings per year.  Also, their rings have a recurring (tidal and therefore monthly) cyclic pattern of 30.6 months per year!

Don't panic though.  After all, their days would have been quite a bit shorter, their month was still one orbit of the Moon (however long that was), and even their years might have run quicker than ours.

3 - Much later, about 225,000,000 years ago, at the beginning of the Mesozoic era, the year had 385 days, each a bit less than 24 hours long.  By the end of the Mesozoic, 65,000,000 years later, the day count had dropped to 371.

Hold on!  The theorists say:- the Moon was originally SPINNING very fast - on its own axis, and also ORBITING very quickly around the the Earth.

Then gravitational & tidal processes - [a land-tide, estimated at about 8 inches (20 cms) is our present slow roller-coaster] - slowed down the Moon's SPIN until locked facing Earth, and that the Moon's ORBIT speed somehow also decreased significantly.

But continual transfer of Earth's spin-energy (angular momentum) to the Moon, through those same effects, now causes the Moon's ORBIT - circling the Earth - to increase.  This drives the Moon out to greater orbit distances - at an estimated rate of 4 metres per century.

Here's some more workings-out at -'s Astronomy page

And let's not forget - but the academics often seem to - that Earth and Moon are not an isolated couple (that's an engineering / physics pun).

All masses are mutually coupled - if only slightly in most cases - by 'gravitational' & inertial (UEF) effects.  That means continual transfer of angular momentum!

See below - re: Solar system clockwork; & anomalous precession.

Actually, anomalously short calendars might help explain some other mysteries (some here) - from folk-lore, religious texts and ancient writings - of stronger 'shielding' effects of the Moon.
Eg: 1 Chinese, 2 Arabic, & many more around the world.

Either these references have been preserved for incredible time spans, or we've got to rethink the timing of our Solar system clockwork.


This is getting confusing

Geological & theoretical evidence says there were many more days per year & months per year and that days get longer / less per year & also months get longer / less per year - and recent records support that? - YES

BUT there appear to have been glitches - giving longer/shorter years? - YES

THEN - afterwards - slow-down process resumes? - YES


- Well, one increasingly likely hypothesis is major collisions,
impacts serious enough - short of shattering - to jar & alter Earth's spin!



Synchronization of the Solar System

Most text books simply say that Earth's precessional cycle is due to the influences of Sun and Moon.  In fact Venus and Mars and even the more distant bodies in the System all lend a hand in that 26,000 year quadrille.

We already know that all the planets have complex interlocking and synchronization of their orbits and / or rotations - Mercury locked with Venus, Venus locked to Earth, Earth locked to Mars and Saturn and so on, making up 'short' and 'long' cycles of Solar System synchronization.

The longer the interlocked cycles, the more exact the alignments tend to be - resulting in greater shielding (tectonic) effects.

Ie. every eight years we see Venus return to almost exactly the same place, but at larger multiples, say each 32nd or 64th year, that exactness will increase or decrease.

This also applies to the Solar System's interlocked precessional cycles.
F'rinstance: the Moon has its own precessional cycles - mainly but not entirely dominated by Sun and Earth.
These give the Moon an 18 year variation in the angle of its path, as seen from Earth.
This is the short period of Moon's eclipses, although a more exact repetition occurs after 3 such cycles - ie. 54 years.

Here's John Britton and Christopher Walker on what was inherited, along with the Sumerian Zodiac, from Babylonian times -
"... the known period relations betwen repeating phenomena of the moon and the five planets:  71 years and 83 years for Jupiter,  8 years for Venus, 46 years for Mercury, 59 years for Saturn, 79 years and 47 years for Mars, and 18 years for the moon".
p. 51 of `Astronomy Before the Telescope' - (Chapter - `Astronomy and Astrology in Mesopotamia') - British Museum Press 1996

Anomalous Precession

But there is 'anomalous precession' in the Solar System - Why?


Well, there's lots of controversy there, depending who you ask.

Some is due to facts above which 'experts' overlook.

But after everything is taken into account, anomalies, though 'small', still exist.   We believe a solution might be available - but some 'experts' are claiming total knowledge (which no-one has) and are mostly refusing to consider it.

What is it ? All precession - obviously - is caused by reaction to nearby masses' gravitational entanglements.  The nearer and larger the mass - the more influence on precession.

If any amount of precession is unaccounted for we say we have to look for either an uncharted small mass close by (which doesn't seem to fit the facts), or an uncharted large mass farther away.

Which is when 'experts' start to throw fits.

"Hidden planets?" - "Black Stars?" - "Twin Systems?" they exaggerate and mis-quote, often incredulously and mockingly, although they have almost no real information to counter these - more mildly worded - suggestions.

Yet, check reality - from a great scientist and communicator:- "Most stars in the sky are members of double or multiple star systems.  Our solitary Sun is something of an anomaly" - Carl Sagan in "Cosmos"

So, here's a speculative conclusion, from different facts, on what was going to be a separate subject.

Check the Nemesis Theory from the Muller Grp at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory.

NEWS Mar. '04 - Tenth Planet "SEDNA"

`Inertia' note:

remember from `inertmass' that objects don't easily move, or stop if they're already moving?

It's always known as inertia if not moving, & sometimes called momentum if moving, but it's the same phenomenon

objects tend to carry on doing what they were doing

Inertial Mass in Rotation

Reaction of mass held in rotation, or released:
"Centripetal or Centrifugal Force"

Reaction of mass to varying radius of rotation:
"Conservation of Angular Momentum"

Reaction of mass to varying angles of rotation:

Reactions of mass to other movements:
"Coriolis Force"




"Spinning-Top Effect of PRECESSION Forces"

"Hurricane, Whirlwind & Bathtub Effects of CORIOLIS Forces"

"Catherine Wheel Effect of CENTRIFUGAL / CENTRIPETAL Forces"

[new window]

Possibly Linked

Great Cycle?
Magic or Mass

[ Google ]

Perceptions MAIL

can we

take off the blindfolds?

Visit W3Schools
Help build the largest human-edited directory on the web.
Submit a Site - Open Directory Project - Become an Editor


struggling editor ?



broken link? - please tell
mail Perceptions

Copyright © 2012 Ray Dickenson

this page

Share This