- an act or instance of nodding one's head, especially involuntarily or spasmodically.
- Botany. spontaneous movements of plant parts during growth.
- Astronomy. the periodic oscillation observed in the precession of the earth's axis and the precession of the equinoxes.
- Mechanics. the variation of the inclination of the axis of a gyroscope to the vertical.
Origin of nutation
Examples from the Web for nutation
Its position at a given time, independent of aberration and nutation.
The position of the equinox independent of the effects of nutation.
Sometimes this path is loopy, and its little nods correspond to nutation.Pioneers of Science
This is scientifically denominated the nutation of the earth.Everyday Objects
W. H. Davenport Adams
If, then, a part of the mass be latent, nutation will give too small a value.Outlines of a Mechanical Theory of Storms
- astronomy a periodic variation in the precession of the earth's axis causing the earth's poles to oscillate about their mean position
- physics a periodic variation in the uniform precession of the axis of any spinning body, such as a gyroscope, about the horizontal
- Also called: circumnutation the spiral growth of a shoot, tendril, or similar plant organ, caused by variation in the growth rate in different parts
- the act or an instance of nodding the head
Word Origin and History for nutation
1610s, "action of nodding," from Latin nutationem (nominative nutatio), noun of action from past participle stem of nutare "to nod," from PIE *neu- "to nod" (see numinous). Astronomical use is from 1715. Related: Nutational.
- The act of nodding the head, especially involuntarily.
- A small, cyclic variation of the Earth's axis of rotation with a period of 18.6 years, caused by tidal forces (mostly due to the gravity of the Moon). Nutation is a small and relatively rapid oscillation of the axis superimposed on the larger and much slower oscillation known as precession. Although discovered in 1728 by the British astronomer James Bradley (1693-1762), nutation was not explained until two decades later.
- A slight curving or circular movement in a stem, as of a twining plant, caused by irregular growth rates of different parts.