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Look at Lecture 1, Video 1 – Gyroscopic Precession

As an exercise, you can convince yourself that in the scenario in the video, the precession frequency Ω of the gyroscope about the gravitational field g (on earth this is 9.8 m/s2 pointing toward the ground) can be written


where we take a constant value for Γ = mgr/(Lspin), where m: mass of the gyroscope r: distance from wheel to pivot Lspin = angular momentum due to wheel’s spin only (additional angular momentum due to gyration is not included in the term Lspin).

We now repeat the experiment twice and compare the result to the original one, with initial setup so as to maintain the same value for Γ each time. 1) If we repeat the experiment on the moon where gmoon = 1/6 gearth, the precession frequency’s magnitude on the moon will be A) less than | Ωearth | B) greater than | Ωearth | C) equal to | Ωearth | 2) If we repeat the experiment in an elevator which accelerates upward constantly during the trial, and again compare results, we’d find A) | Ωelevator | > | Ωearth’s field only | B) Ωelevator | < | Ωearth’s field only | C) | Ωelevator | = | Ωearth’s field only |