Foucault Pendulum

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A Foucault pendulum

A Foucault pendulum, also known as Foucault's Pendulum, was named after Léon Foucault, a French physicist, and was used to demonstrate the rotation of the Earth as a function of the Coriolis effect. The Foucault pendulum is a long pendulum that oscillates freely in every vertical axis, and it employs certain motor components to guarantee that it operates continuously by overcoming air resistance that might dampen its motion. In 1851, the first public exhibition of a Foucault pendulum took place in the Meridian Room of the Paris Observatory. Besides, the Foucault pendulum became the first dynamical proof of the Earth’s rotation in an easy-to-see experiment, thereby creating a justified understanding or sensation in both the civilized and everyday worlds.

The Foucault pendulum and astronomy

The Foucault pendulum relates to astronomy in the sense that it shows various events involved in the Earth's rotation process. At either the South Pole or the North Pole, the pendulum's plane of oscillation remains to point in a similar direction as the Earth rotates below it, taking one day to finish or complete a rotation. When the Foucault's pendulum gets suspended anywhere on the equator, then its plane of oscillation co-rotates with the Earth's rotation at all times. What occurs at the other latitudes is a merger or combination of such two effects. However, away from the equator, the pendulum's co-rotation with the Earth gets diminished, while in between the equator and the poles, the pendulum's plane of oscillation rotates relative to both the stars and the Earth.

Galileo’s Telescope

In the year 1961, Galileo Galilei, an Italian astronomer, looked up at the skies using a telescope of his own design and what he observed revolutionized the field of astronomy, the people’s understanding of the Universe, as well as their position in it. The telescope got named the Galileo’s Telescope, which is today a vital research tool in the field of astronomy. Galileo's initial version of the telescope could only magnify objects 8x. However, it was later improved and refined to 20x magnification, which he used for his several observations, including Sidereus Nuncius. The primary challenge with Galileo's Telescope was its narrow field of view, almost half the moon's width.

Galileo's Telescope and its significance in astronomy

Galileo's Telescope relates to astronomy in the sense that Galileo used it in making key discoveries including the moon and the sunspots. Galileo used his telescope to discover that the moon's surface is neither smooth nor perfectly spherical. Instead, he found the surface of the moon to be rough, uneven and crowded with bulges and depressions. Along with other astronomers, such as Christoph Scheiner, David Frabicius, and Thomas Harriot, Galileo used his telescope to discover various dark regions that seemed to move across the Sun's surface, which resulted in a debate on whether they were Sunspots or satellites of the Sun. Galileo, however, supported the sunspot interpretation and used it to prove the Sun’s rotation. Other discoveries made by Galileo using his telescope included the Phases of Venus, Stars in the Milky Way, Moons of Jupiter, and the "Appendages" on Saturn.

Mirror Telescopes

Mirror telescopes, also termed as reflecting telescopes, refer to telescopes that use one or more curved mirrors for reflecting light and forming images. A mirror telescope got invented during the Seventeenth century as a substitute for the refracting telescope, which had problems relating to severe chromatic aberration or abnormalities. Although mirror telescopes also produce other forms of optical aberrations, their design accommodates objects with large diameters. Several telescopes used in astronomy research today are mirror telescopes, and they come various models with some making use of extra optical elements to boost image quality.

Significance of Mirror Telescopes in Astronomy

Mirror telescopes are of great significance amongst other telescopes because they do not have the problem of chromatic aberration due to their capability of reflecting all wavelengths off the mirror along the same path. Besides, mirror telescopes have supports for the outside mirrors along the back side, which allows for higher magnification of the images. Making mirror telescopes is also cheaper compared to other telescope types.

Jupiter Storms

The surface of planet Jupiter is very violent with huge hurricane-like storms, thunder, winds, and lightning. One of the Jupiter’s storms is the Great Red Spot, which is a zone of persistent high pressure that produces an anticyclonic storm periodically on planet Jupiter, about 22 degrees south of the equator. The Great Red Spot has been observed by astronomers continuously since the year 1830, with earlier observations between the year 1665 and 1713 also linked with the same storm. At the beginning of the year 2004, the Great Red Spot was believed to have about half the longitudinal dimension it had a century earlier when its diameter size was 40,000 kilometers. Given its current reduction rate, the Great Red Spot is expected to be circular by the year 2040. However, it is not known whether such changes are as a result of ordinary phenomena, or even how long the spot will stay or last.

Importance of Jupiter's storms in Astronomy

Jupiter’s storms relate to astronomy in the sense that they distinguish planet Jupiter from other planets in the context of unique natural phenomena. Besides, the Great Red Spot exhibits planet Jupiter as having a rough atmosphere characterized by a spinning, giant storm comparable to twice the size of the Earth, with high-speed winds of about 270 miles per hour.

Apollo 14

Apollo 14 refers to the United States Apollo Program’s eighth manned mission, and the third to reach or land on the moon. Apollo 14 marked the last or final of the "H missions,” which aimed at landing on the moon with two-day stays and moonwalks (lunar EVAs). Lunar Module Pilot Edgar Mitchell, Command Module Pilot Stuart Roosa, and Commander Alan Shepard launched their nine-day mission to the moon on the 31st of January 1971, at precisely 4:04:02 p.m. local time after experiencing a delay of 40-minutes, 2 second due to launch site-related weather restrictions. In fact, the delay experienced in Apollo 14 was the first in the Apollo Program. Commander Shepard and his team achieved their lunar landing on the 5th of February 1971, in the Fra Mauro formation, which was the original target of the Apollo 13’s aborted mission.

Importance of Apollo 14 in Astronomy

Apollo 14 relates to astronomy in the sense that it helped in the exploration of the Fra Mauro region through the deployment of the ALSEP (Apollo Lunar Surface Scientific Experiments Package), lunar field geology investigations, as well as the use of other non-ALSEP instruments. Apollo 14 also made it possible for the collection of material samples from the moon for use on the Earth, as well as the performance of various communication tests using VHF and S-band signals to determine the lunar surface's reflective properties.

My experience of the Findings

I greatly enjoyed my study of the above topics, and I learned a broad range of new things, including the importance of the topics to the field of astronomy. Besides, my study of the above topics has made me understand and appreciate the great efforts and risks undertaken by different scientists to make people have a better understanding and sensation of the universe. I have previously visited an observatory, and I would wish to go again and have such a great experience.

January 05, 2023

Environment Science


Nature Scientific Method

Subject area:

Earth Understanding Theory

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