lab 4 - Precession Laboratory 4 Objective: In this...

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Precession Laboratory 4 Objective: In this laboratory the motion of precession will be investigated and how it affects the appearance of the night sky over a long period of time, particularly the North Star. Background: Precession Since the Earth is not a perfect sphere and bulges at the equator the axis slowly changes its position in space. The direction the axis is pointing traces out a circle that takes 26,000 years to complete. This motion is called precession . Precession refers to a change in direction of the axis of a rotating object. The most familiar example of precession can be observed in spinning tops. As a top begins to slow down it axis begins to rotate in a circle (it begins to wobble). Currently the Earth’s northern axis points almost exactly to the star, Polaris which is more commonly referred to as the North Star. However, because of precession the position of stars will change slowly but continuously over a period of 26,000 years. In approximately 13,000 years Earth’s northern axis will point to the star Vega , at which time it will be referred to as our North Star. With The Sky 6 software it is possible to simulate what the sky looked like at any given time between 4173 B.C.E and 10000 C.E at any latitude and longitude on Earth. It is this flexibility in time that we will utilize today, and verify the precession of Earth’s axis. Astrology Astrology is a set of traditions or beliefs in which the knowledge of apparent positions of celestial objects is considered useful in understanding human affairs. If you place faith in Astrology you believe your life is determined by the position of the Sun and Planets at the
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lab 4 - Precession Laboratory 4 Objective: In this...

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