A damping gyrometer comprised of at least two and preferably four rotating paddles attached to a common central elevated low-friction pivot point via rising radial arms. A stand with a concave glass element provides a low-friction support as a pivot point seat for the pivot point. All elements of the apparatus are non-conductive. Once set into motion, the only force acting on the gyrometer are the pivot point friction and the damping effects of the medium in which it spins. A laser beam and photodetector (or alternatively a laser displacement sensor), along with customized software algorithms are used to measure the rotational rate and, hence, the deceleration rate of the apparatus which can then be used to determine properties of the medium in which it spins, including changes in density, pressure, and temperature. The measurement can also be directly related to the electron density in the case of weakly ionized gases.
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