Ring Laser Senses Earth's Spin

Science  05 Sep 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5331, pp. 1435-1436
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5331.1435b

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The time it takes the Earth to make a full turn fluctuates by a few milliseconds per day because tides, atmospheric changes, and perhaps movements in the Earth's core are constantly shifting the planet's mass. Now the world's largest ring laser gyroscope, a glass block more than a meter across threaded by counterrotating laser beams, will keep track of Earth's vagaries from a cave in New Zealand.