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A Short Foucault Pendulum Free of Ellipsoidal Precession

Reinhard A. Schumacher, Brandon Tarbet
Arxiv ID: 0902.1829Last updated: 11/17/2020
A quantitative method is presented for stopping the intrinsic precession of a spherical pendulum due to ellipsoidal motion. Removing this unwanted precession renders the Foucault precession due to the turning of the Earth readily observable. The method is insensitive to the size and direction of the perturbative forces leading to ellipsoidal motion. We demonstrate that a short (three meter) pendulum can be pushed in a controlled way to make the Foucault precession dominant. The method makes room-height or table-top Foucault pendula more accurate and practical to build.

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