nutation(redirected from Nutation (astronomy and mechanics))
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1. The act or an instance of nodding the head.
2. A wobble in a spinning gyroscope or other rotating body.
3. Astronomy A small periodic irregularity in the precessional motion of the earth's polar axis with respect to the pole of the ecliptic.
4. Botany A slight curving or circular movement in a stem, as of a twining plant, caused by variation in growth rates of different parts.
[Latin nūtātiō, nūtātiōn-, from nūtātus, past participle of nūtāre, frequentative of -nuere, to nod.]
1. (Astronomy) astronomy a periodic variation in the precession of the earth's axis causing the earth's poles to oscillate about their mean position
2. (General Physics) physics a periodic variation in the uniform precession of the axis of any spinning body, such as a gyroscope, about the horizontal
3. (Botany) Also called: circumnutation the spiral growth of a shoot, tendril, or similar plant organ, caused by variation in the growth rate in different parts
4. the act or an instance of nodding the head
[C17: from Latin nutātiō, from nūtāre to nod]
nu•ta•tion(nuˈteɪ ʃən, nyu-)
1. an act or instance of nodding one's head, esp. involuntarily or spasmodically.
2. spontaneous movements of plant parts during growth.
3. the periodic oscillation observed in the precession of the earth's axis and of the equinoxes.
4. the variation of the inclination of the axis of a gyroscope to the vertical.
[1605–15; < Latin nūtātiō, derivative of nūtā(re) to nod one's head in assent, rock, sway (compare adnuere to nod, beckon); compare numen]
the periodic oscillation that can be observed in the precession of the earth’s axis and the precession of the equinoxes. See also head. — nutational, adj.See also: Earth
the periodic oscillation that can be observed in the precession of the earth’s axis and the precession of the equinoxes. See also 133. EARTH. — nutational, adj.See also: Astronomy