0
votes
1answer
75 views

Purely mechanical description of how gravity causes a gyroscope to precess

I know the vector equation that relates torque to moment of inertia and angular momentum. What I want to know is what physical mechanisms actually occur to keep the gyroscope from falling. Where is ...
0
votes
0answers
43 views

Torque-free Precession of a Barbell

I'm looking at torque-free precession, occurring when the angular velocity isn't aligned with a principal axis of an object. I've looked at some Euler arguments, some decompositions of $\vec{\omega}$ ...
8
votes
2answers
226 views

Intuitive explanation of why orbits are closed?

Yesterday my brother asked me how orbits work. Suppose for the sake of the question that you are trying to put a rocket in orbit around the Earth. I explained that orbiting is essentially being in ...
0
votes
2answers
65 views

Possibility of low-radius orbit?

Please bear with me, as I'm not in the field of physics, this question may seem a bit simple. This question is concerning stable circular orbits around celestial bodies. I know the equation relevant ...
2
votes
1answer
79 views

What are the determining factors for the velocity of orbiting bodies?

Please bear with me, as I'm not in the field of physics, this question may seem a bit simple. The scenario is the following; A specific stable orbit radius of a small body, say a satellite, to ...
3
votes
3answers
301 views

Are elliptical orbits really elliptical?

I have wondered for a long time how elliptical orbits can work. It seems awkward for a freely-moving object to come very close to a source of gravity and then return to the exact point where it ...
16
votes
8answers
5k views

Why don't spinning tops fall over?

One topic which was covered in university, but which I never understood, is how a spinning top "magically" resists the force of gravity. The conservation of energy explanations make sense, but I don't ...