Sunday, December 13, 2020

[ujokxgwv] largest intermediate axis theorem

the story goes (, Soviet cosmonaut Dzhanibekov observed the intermediate axis theorem in zero gravity, but the Soviet Union kept it secret because of fear of mass panic because people might fear that the effect could happen to the Earth itself: maybe the Earth's axis of rotation is not stable and the Earth might suddenly violently flip over at any moment.  maybe the reason for magnetic pole reversals has not been due to Earth's internal dynamo flipping, but the core staying put and the rest of the Earth flipping.

it turns out the Earth is safe from the Dzanibekov effect because it is not rigid.  this begs the question, what is the largest object in space which does exhibit this phenomenon, flipping its axis of rotation periodically or chaotically?  is it something man-made?  are there natural objects rigid enough over billions of years?  there are probably asteroids small enough, but what is the threshold?

the mechanism that causes magnetic pole reversals remains unknown.

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