Ghost Gravity

SciCast film goes here

If you're reading this text, try visiting directly. If you're already there you probably need to update Flash

  • Currently 0/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(votes cast: 0)
License: Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike Ghost Gravity Woodbridge High School Science Club 2008
Views: 927
29 Jan, 2009


Using a levitating magnetic top to measure the effect of the moon’s gravity.

Director's Notes:

Say the film-makers:

Levitron levitating spinning tops can be purchased from Amazon and other suppliers. You need to run the experiment for several months in the same location, measuring the weight needed to balance the levitating top.

We calculated the Moon’s position using this Java applet.

SciCast Notes:


Did this work? Really? Really? Amazing!

Levitron tops, in my experience, are fiddly little things to get working. They have a bit of a mind of their own, and seem highly sensitive to temperature (I’ve twice tried to film them in TV studios, under the hot lights. It’s not a happy experience). So, I’m a bit skeptical about this, and whether the experiment is really detecting the moon’s effect on net gravitational force.

Indeed, the only references I can find on the web about Levitron top mass balancing are either crackpot theories about hyperdimensional gravity disturbances (no, really), or this page from the manufacturers which cites temperature as being the key factor.

So I’d love to see the rest of this team’s work. I think it’s an amazing experiment to have done, and a model of perseverance. And I really really hope they’re right. I’m just going to maintain a healthy dose of scientific skepticism.

What do you think?

— Jonathan.