Learning more about the Foucalt Pendulum at HMNS


January 8, 2019
829 Views

This week we hung out with the Houston Museum of Natural Science’s vice president of astronomy Dr. Carolyn Sumners and talked about the Foucalt Pendulum here at the museum.

The occasion? January 8 is Earth’s Rotation Day, one of those wild not-a-real-holiday holidays that we only celebrate on the internet.

VISITING THE STARS: Learn more about the Burke Baker Planetarium

During our Facebook Live Dr. Summers gave us the lowdown on the pendulum, which has been a landmark inside the museum for decades now. There is a lot more to it than just a swinging weight that knocks over wooden pegs.

And yes, someone has to put those pegs back up every day as Dr. Sumners explains in the video.

Named after 19th century French scientist Léon Foucault who created the first one ever, it is one of the best ways we can prove that the Earth is a sphere and that it rotates once on its axis every 24 hours. We know its working because the Earth is spinning.

BECOME A MEMBER: Snag an HMNS membership and be awesome

According to Dr. Sumners the best pendulum on Earth would be located at the North Pole. Next time we hang with Santa Claus we will ask him if he has one.

The pendulum here at HMNS, with a cable length more than 60 feet long, is a mesmerizing must-see for anyone visiting our museum.

Craig Hlavaty
Authored By Craig Hlavaty

Craig Hlavaty has been covering Houston pop-culture since 2006 at various outlets around the city. He is currently the social media manager at the Houston Museum of Natural Science and eats his tamales with ketchup.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Become An HMNS Member

With a membership level for everyone; Don't just read about it, see it.

View All Membership Levels

Editor's Picks Is Darwin relevant today? Oh The Hermannity! The Story of Houston’s Most Beautiful Green Space A Few Member Benefits Most HMNS Members Don’t Know About What The Loss Of The Museu Nacional in Rio de Janeiro’s Collections Means To The World What Is The Deal With Brontosaurus?! Lou The Corpse Flower : Why He Smells So Bad And Why We Should Be Excited When He Blooms
Follow And Subscribe
HMNS at Hermann Park

5555 Hermann Park Dr.
Houston,Texas 77030
(713) 639-4629


Get Directions Offering varies by location
HMNS at Sugar Land

13016 University Blvd.
Sugar Land, Texas 77479
(281) 313-2277


Get Directions Offering varies by location
George Observatory

21901 FM 762 Rd.
Needville, Texas 77461
(281) 242-3055

Hours
Tuesday - Saturday By Reservation
Saturdays 3:00PM - 10:00PM
Saturdays (DST) 3:00PM - 11:00PM
DST = Daylight Savings Time.
Please call for holiday hours. Entry to Brazos Bend State Park ends at 9:30 p.m. daily
Get Directions Offering varies by location

Stay in the know. Join our mailing list.