Gyroscope Earth

Many of us as a child enjoyed a toy called a gyroscope. It was a small spoked wheel in a round frame. The wheel was spoked and fairly heavy, and it had a hole drilled in the axle that a string went through. You wound up the string by winding the gyroscope wheel backward and then pulled the string hard, making the wheel spin faster and faster. When the string finally ran out, the spinning gyroscope would do many strange things. If you put the axis straight up and down, the gyroscope would be an ordinary top-although very stable. If you put the axis parallel to the ground and put the end of the gyroscope on a point, it would hang in mid air, seemingly in defiance of gravity slowing turning around the end by which it was supported.

Many of our favorite toys were and are really gyroscopes. A two-wheel bicycle has two gyroscopes (the wheels) which keep it stable as long as it is moving at a good speed. A football pass or punt thrown or kicked as a spiral is a gyroscope. Our yo-yos, Frisbees, and tops are all toys that work on the principle of the gyroscope. The gyroscope is much more than a toy. Gyroscopes are used in planes, rockets, submarines, and spacecrafts to maintain directions and provide stability. Many airplanes use a standard 4" gyroscope for the guidance and navigation of the plane. This near-relative of the toy gyroscope is driven by an electric motor and spins at 9,000 RPM (revolutions per minute). At that speed, the instrument is incredibly steady and reliable, and people's lives are at stake each time the instrument is in use.

How does Earth itself compare to the standard aircraft gyroscope? Planet Earth spins at one revolution per day. Earth has a diameter of 8,000 miles as opposed to 4" for the aircraft gyro. If you shrunk Earth to the size of a 4" gyroscope, the tallest mountains on the Earth would not be visible. When a figure skater or a ballet dancer spins, pulling their arms and legs into their bodies, their rate of spin increases to conserve angular momentum. Glen Byars, of Radiation Research, Inc. in San Antonio, Texas, calculates that, if you accomplish the shrinking described above, the rotational velocity of the Earth would be about 88,000 revolutions per minute or nearly ten times as fast as a standard aircraft gyroscope.

It is this incredibly high rate of spin that allows man to survive on this planet. Not only does Earth remain stable through meteorite strikes, volcanoes, atomic bombs, and other catastrophic events, but the rapid spin also generates Earth's magnetic field which shields us from the radiation of outer space. Earth is incredibly well designed to allow life with all its fragility to exist, and just looking at the basic physics involved is enough to convince the true seeker that God exists through the things He has made (Romans 1:19-22).


Back to Contents Does God Exist?, Nov/Dec 1996