Geo-xcentricities part 2; the view from Mars.

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Einstein rings, a spectacular prediction of relativity, taken from Hubble (Image credit Hubble/NASA)

You may remember a little while back I wrote about a conference of modern Geocentrism (Galileo was Wrong). Geocentrism is the belief that Earth is the centre of the Solar system, nay the entire Universe and everything revolves around it.

Todd Wood attended the conference, and you can read the about his growing sense of incredulity in his posts (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5).

It turns out that these folks are relativity deniers.

Image of the crescent Earth and Moon on October 3, 2007, taken by the HiRISE instrument of the NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Which is pretty strange, the usual tack is to argue for Geocentrism based of relativistic frame equivalence. Arguing against relativity is pretty hard, as it is one of the best confirmed theories of physics we have. From gravitational lensing (see images above) to frame dragging, relativity has passed increasingly stringent tests with flying colours.

These geocentricists apparently need relativity disconfirmed so the the Michelson-Morely experiment proves the Earth at rest.

Now there is a lot of problems with this (not the least because they need a non-moving ether to explain the M-M experiment, then a moving ether to explain Foucault’s Pendulum) and other geocentrist positions. Some of the problems can be demonstrated with intensive mathematics, some with not so much maths (like the claim that GPS doesn’t use relativistic corrections, which is untrue.)

Earth as seen from Mars taken by the Spirit rovers’ panoramic camera in 2004.

However, in the spirit of my first post on this conference, where I tried to get people to do observations themselves that disproved first the Ptolemaic then the Tychonian systems, I want to get people to do something much simpler, related to observational astronomy.

Also in the spirit of Einstein, who tried to imagine what the word would look like if you were travelling on a photon, I want you to imagine your are standing on Mars.

The evening sky on Mars on April 29, 2005 as simulated by Stellarium (the location isn’t at the same latitude and longitude as opportunity, so the view is slightly different from the rover).

What would you see from the surface of Mars that would be different in a Tychonian system (the system favoured by our modern geocentricists) versus a heliocentric system system?

As the Tychonican system is an inverted Copernican system, things like the phases of the Earth would be identical (see this JAVAscript model, advance the time to October 3, 2007 to match the image of crescent Earth and Moon above, and flip between the Tychonian and Heliocentric models to see what I mean).

Earth imaged by the panoramic camera of Opportunity an hour after Sunset on April 29, 2005 (Image Credit NASA/JPL).

There is a big difference that would be immediately apparent. Whether in the Tychonian or Heliocentric systems, from the point of view from Mars, Earth would appear to be a morning or evening star that appeared to revolve around the Sun.

However, the geocentricists are using a geostationary model, where the 24 hour day is produced by the Sun rotating about the Earth. So in a period of 24 hours, an observer on Mars (armed with an occultation disk) would see Earth rise from the sun, then fall back, then reappear on the other side of the sun and repeat the process again.

During the period that the Mars rovers took images of the Earth, at maximum elongation Earth was 42-47 degrees from the Sun as seen from Mars. For the Earth to move from maximum elongation to inferior or superior conjunction (at least, as it would appear from Mars, because in the Tychonian system Earth can’t have conjunctions) takes 6 hours (in a 24 hour day there will be four 6 hour segments as the Earth goes out, comes back, goes out and comes back again from the solar disk).

So the Earth will appear to move 42 degrees (taking the lowest figure) in 6 hours, or 7 degrees per hour against the background stars (approximately, it’s slightly more complicated than this, but rough figures are all we need). That’s 14 Lunar diameters per hour! Earth is fairly hooting along compared to the background stars. In one minute Earth would move 1/4 of a Lunar diameter which is quite noticeable.

Now look at the image above. It is a composite of 3 x 15 second images taken with the panoramic camera, you can see the image of Earth is slightly elongated. However, remember that Mars rotates, and any 15 second exposure will cause slight star trailing due to its rotation. The trail we see of Earth is nothing like what we would expect if it was moving to a 24 hour rhythm, as it hares along the sky (roughly 1/5th of a Lunar diameter). Still, for confirmation we have to check Earth’s movement against that of the background stars.

Fortunately, in the original image there is a background star just above Earth (it’s best seen in the TIF file). It has the same degree of elongation that the Earth does. This falsifies the Tychonian system, thus the solar system is heliocentric.

So “Eppur si muove” because it um, doesn’t move (with respect to the background stars as seen from Mars).

Galilean_sunspots.pngImage credit; Topper, D. Galileo, Sunspots, and the Motions of the Earth: Redux Isis, Vol. 90, No. 4 (Dec., 1999), pp. 757-767 Illustration of the annual variation in the paths sunspots take across the sun, and the heliocentric projection which explains it.

The account of sunspot movement that Galileo provides in the Third Day of the Dialogue is easily explained with reference to Figure 1. Let continuous line MN represent the plane of the ecliptic, while EFG, FGH, GHE, and HEF represent projected paths for the sunspots at tri- monthly intervals A, B, C, and D-that is, in one annual circuit along the ecliptic. Viewed at position A, therefore, the sunspots appear to ascend in a straight line from E toward G. At B they seem to describe an upward curve from F through G toward H, whereas at C they appear to descend along a rectilinear path from G toward E. Finally, at D they seem to follow a downward curve from H through E toward F.

Given these general observations, Galileo was able to deduce the basic solar model illustrated in Figure 2, where DABC-the plane of the ecliptic-cuts the solar globe at great circle KFLH. NS, meanwhile, is the axis about which the sun makes a complete spin roughly once a month. So EFGH is the solar equator, along which the direction of motion is counterclockwise from E toward G. The apparent path the sunspots follow at any point in the year is accordingly determined by how the sun’s equator would look from any point on the ecliptic. From A, for instance, it would be seen straight on, as represented by A in Figure 1, whereas from B it would appear as it does in B in Figure 1, and so on. Hence the root cause of these appearances is the tilt of the solar axis with respect to the ecliptic Drake, Galileo Studies, pp. 180, 198 n 17 as quoted in Topper

242 Comments

How on Earth did we manage to get spacecraft to Mars if we subscribe to a faulty (heliocentric) model of the solar system?

Any chance Todd Wood (who seems an honest and intelligent fellow) will realize that the entire bunch – geocentrists, YECs, IDists together – are all a bunch of sorry crackpots and come over to the side of rationality?

Matt G said:

How on Earth did we manage to get spacecraft to Mars if we subscribe to a faulty (heliocentric) model of the solar system?

1. Epicycles. 2. I don’t feel any earth motion, do you? So we must be at the immobile center of the universe. 3. Clearly the photos have all been rigged, it’s part of a grand anti-biblical conspiracy.

; )

Ian, the analysis of what Spirit sees from Mars is interesting, but I don’t think any geocentrist is going to be convinced by photographs (=can be faked) from a government (=part of the conspiracy) mars rover (=really sitting in a bunker in Hollywood).

This is interesting science for us, but to ‘muove’ them, we need to find a different lever.

Ian, the analysis of what Spirit sees from Mars is interesting, but I don’t think any geocentrist is going to be convinced by photographs (=can be faked) from a government (=part of the conspiracy) mars rover (=really sitting in a bunker in Hollywood).

one, those people have never actually been the target of science outreach because:

two, they are entirely immutable to reason, as if the very analysis you just posted doesn’t exactly suggest that.

If the earth were stationary and fixed, what centripedal acceleration would be needed on Mars to rotate around earth in 24 hours? Even at closest approach, 55 million km, perfect circle so distance = 2 * pi * r, or 330 E 6 km for a speed of 3.8 km/sec, a = v^2/r, v = 2 * pi * r / P.

Or simplifying, a = (2 * pi)^2 R / P^2, or 290 m/sec^2. Thirty (earth) Gs, straight away from earth.

People, what we really need to explain is; how does God keep earth at the center? But, you can’t use any numbers or diagrams because God didn’t need any.

What do you think, Robert Byers, FL, Henry and Steve P.? Are these geocentrists kooks or what? You realize, of course, that they are geocentrists because they take the bible literally.

So do they take it TOO literally? Or are they right? If they’re wrong, do you ever challenge them online or elsewhere?

I agree that the geostationary model is bunk of the highest order, but I don’t think your description of what a geostationist would expect to see from Mars matches the predictions of their model. In a given 24-hour period, an observer at any point on earth would (does) observe approximately the same angular distance between the sun and Mars. For this to be true, in addition to the Sun orbiting earth every 24 hours, Mars (under the bunk model) must orbit the sun very nearly every 24 hours. Given this, the angular distance between the sun and Earth would be basically constant as observed from Mars.

@OwnedByTwoCats: Imagine the G-forces experienced by the Cassini lander!

I don’t think you have the neo-Tychonian system correctly characterized. As I understand it, everything rotates about the earth in 24 hours, this motion being added on to the annual earth-orbit-sized ellipse that everything, including the sun, makes, as well as the conventional orbits of those objects. I’m not quite sure what the resulting sum looks like, but it should produce the same observations as the standard view from any location, even Mars. The angle between earth, sun, and Mars should not change in a 6-hour period except infinitesimally, and earth should not change position much against the “fixed” stars, since they’re all making the same 24-hour angular displacement as Mars is.

Or am I missing something?

You’ve got to deny relativity if you’re going to maintain a geocentric cosmology. The fixed stars apparently rotate around the Earth every day so that if they are really moving, at Ptolemy thought, their orbit can’t be more than a light day in circumference, if we assume that Einstein was right about the cosmic speed limit. That makes for a mighty small universe, indeed one that doesn’t quite have enough room for the orbit of Neptune.

As far as the stars moving faster than the speed of light: Yes, they can simply deny relativity, but they can also make the claim that it is space itself which is moving faster than the speed of light, and the stars are moving at sub-light speeds within space. (Cosmologists can accept that the universe expands faster than the speed of light.) (BTW, a circle with a radius of about 4 billion kilometers has a circumference of one light-day. That’s about the distance to Neptune.)

What seems to be an added complication for the geocentrists is the daily rotation of large objects. When the heavenly bodies make their revolution about the earth, they must also make a rotation in order to keep the same side facing the earth. Consider an object which has a radius greater than 1 light-day/2 x pi, and at a greater distance than 1 light-day/2 x pi. (Ignore the small heliocentric (real) motions.) It must be embedded in space which is moving faster than light, but the surface of the object is also moving faster than light within that space.

There are no solid objects which are that big, but there are objects like nebulas and stellar clusters - the Pleiades, for example, are clearly gravitationally bound, share common movement, and we see the same relative orientation of its members. So, geocentrically, the Pleiades are rotating daily with relative velocities much greater than the speed of light.

I suppose that a geocentrist could make the claim that there is a distortion of space in the neighborhood of such a rotating object, which gives a local rotation of space.

Just Bob asked:

What do you think, Robert Byers, FL, Henry and Steve P.? Are these geocentrists kooks or what? You realize, of course, that they are geocentrists because they take the bible literally.

So do they take it TOO literally? Or are they right? If they’re wrong, do you ever challenge them online or elsewhere?

Elsewhere FL (posting as “mellotron”) says that nowhere does the Bible say anything about the sun orbiting the earth. Therefore the geocentrists are mis-using Scripture.

Now you have to understand that all this is in breathless Argumentum per Bolds, ~Weird Punctuation,~ and mammmapajamarealmealdeal phony hipster slang, ummmm??? Lots of us have tried, and he tapdances, evades, and finally disappears for a while.

I can’t speak to the others you mention, but I think that Robert Byers has an organic problem, so I’m always saddened by his condition.

Comes from being married to a Special Ed teacher for nearly 4 decades, I guess.

fusilier

James 2:24

I saw a quote from Conservapedia printed in an issue of Science a month or two ago. They defined Einstein’s Theory of Relativity as a liberal pseudoscience designed to encourage moral relativism and discourage people from reading the Bible.

This is not mathematics, physics, or rational.

What it is could be described as a perfect example of how religion specifically a sub set,(rapidly becoming a full set), of the xian religion, allows the inherent brain rotting mythology to dominate the cognitive functions.

So desperate to preserve and boast about the delusion they will lie about, misrepresent and twist reality to shoe horn it into their delusional framework.

The delusion has made their cognition issues insane, there is no lesser diagnosis. I would not trust them with a rubber knife, but that is me!

I’d point out that nowhere does the Bible say anything about the fixity of species (or of “kinds”), or “separate descent” (that is, denial of common descent). And for some 2000 years the reading of Genesis raised such issues for no one. Between 500 BC and AD 1500, nobody even thought of fixity of species, despite plenty of Bible-reading. But lots of people thought that the Bible said that the earth was fixed.

If you’re a geocentrist, Relativity is the least of your problems. You have to throw out Newton’s entire theory of gravitation. One body does not rotate around another body’s center. Two bodies rotate around a common point, and that point is going to be closest to the more massive body. It’s impossible to have a fixed earth with the sun, planets, and stars rotating around it in a Newtonian universe.

ppb said:

If you’re a geocentrist, Relativity is the least of your problems. You have to throw out Newton’s entire theory of gravitation. One body does not rotate around another body’s center. Two bodies rotate around a common point, and that point is going to be closest to the more massive body. It’s impossible to have a fixed earth with the sun, planets, and stars rotating around it in a Newtonian universe.

These guys are tychonians. They agree with sane people that all the other planets rotate around the sun. They just think that the sun rotates around the earth/moon system, dragging all the other planets with it. So for them, the planets travel through giant spirograph-shaped loops. Sort of like someone sitting at the center of the sun might percieve the moons of jupiter to move in spirograph-loops, only for the tychonians the effect is orders of magnitude larger.

I am not a physicist, but I have a simple experiment that would confirm or disprove whether or not the earth does not rotate.

Fly an airplane (rocket, space shuttle, etc) in one direction around the equator using a specific amount of thrust for a specific distance (point A to point B) on the Earth’s surface. Fly the same vehicle in the opposite direction (point B to point A) for the same distance over the Earth’s surface with the same amount of thrust. If the Earth does not rotate, then the the amount of time for each flight should be the same (accounting for wind, of course). If the Earth does rotate, then the flight going against the rotation of the Earth should take less time than the flight going with the rotation of the Earth.

Is my experiment valid? Is it too simple? Seems to me like an easy way to test this and be done with it.

I remember Todd. His blog was linked here a year or two ago and I noticed an entry in which he off-handedly said he accepted the account of the flood and the tower of Babel. I sent him an email outlining the evidence and explanatory theory linguists have developed to explain the last 10,000 years of language development and asked how to criticize it in detail, or at least explain how, if modern English came into being at babel, where were its speakers until the 14th century, and how they all managed to supplant the native Middle English speakers in England. Or if that was a case of Micro Evolution, how about the Old English Speakers–how were they supplanted by Middle English Speakers? And so on back to Proto-Germanic and P-I. I never got an answer.

Newton’s genius was that he unified the terrestrial and celestial spheres. The same laws of motion that are observed here apply out there.

Geocentrism says that Newton was wrong. Despite the simplicity and elegance of his laws of motion, despite the theory’s verified predictions all kinds of behavior of macroscopic objects here on earth, and verified predictions of the motions of planets other than Mercury. That’s all wrong, and the bible is right.

You can’t move them from that tenet, that their interpretation of the bible is right, and anything that contradicts that is wrong.

Ed Hensley said: Is my experiment valid?

Nope. Your airplane starts on the ground, i.e., with the same rotational momentum as the surface of the earth. This means trip time, fuel use, etc. will be the same east-west as it is west-east. Hypothetically I think you could tell if you compared fuel required to go the same distance in the same time east-west vs north-south. I could be wrong about that, but it probably doesn’t matter - the Earth is big, planes are small, and our planet has an active atmosphere. If there was any difference, it would be in the measurement noise.

A much better way to tell if you are in a rotating frame of reference is to build a Focault pendulum. :)

There was an old sci-fi novel where the protagonists had to figure out they were on a rotating ring (with inclined floor) on the surface of the earth, and not on a rotating space station. I forget exactly what they did. It wasn’t a great book, but I’ll try and find the title/author.

OwnedByTwoCats said: Newton’s genius was that he unified the terrestrial and celestial spheres. The same laws of motion that are observed here apply out there.

How do they account for the fact that the rockets that explore the planets continue to follow the same laws of motion? I won’t bring up the Apollo missions (I don’t know whether they would accept their reality), but what about the successful Mars rovers? If they go so far as to deny all of the interplanetary missions, what about the Space Station and other satellites?

Follow-up: it was James P. Hogan’s “Endgame Enigma.”

eric said: There was an old sci-fi novel where the protagonists had to figure out they were on a rotating ring (with inclined floor) on the surface of the earth, and not on a rotating space station. I forget exactly what they did. It wasn’t a great book, but I’ll try and find the title/author.

TomS said: If they go so far as to deny all of the interplanetary missions, what about the Space Station and other satellites?

Seems to me they should have no problem with anything in a sub-lunar orbit (actually, anything on a non-earth-escape trajectory). It’s only beyond that where it gets weird to imagine how spacecraft can navigate around a solar system that doesn’t work anything like the way Newton (plus Einsteinian tweaks) says it does.

Ed Hensley said:

I am not a physicist, but I have a simple experiment that would confirm or disprove whether or not the earth does not rotate.

Fly an airplane (rocket, space shuttle, etc) in one direction around the equator using a specific amount of thrust for a specific distance (point A to point B) on the Earth’s surface. Fly the same vehicle in the opposite direction (point B to point A) for the same distance over the Earth’s surface with the same amount of thrust. If the Earth does not rotate, then the the amount of time for each flight should be the same (accounting for wind, of course). If the Earth does rotate, then the flight going against the rotation of the Earth should take less time than the flight going with the rotation of the Earth.

Is my experiment valid? Is it too simple? Seems to me like an easy way to test this and be done with it.

Ed,

In practice it would be very difficult to see the underlying effect with variable winds and the uncertainties in their measurements, and the uncertainties in the measurement of thrust, etc.

But it is possible by sending two synchronized atomic clocks on opposite trips around the Earth. It has been done. The difference between the clocks when reunited agrees to good precision with the expected difference based upon a rotating Earth. It’s been reported in the journal Science in the 1970’s. See the Hafele-Keating experiment in Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hafele[…]g_experiment

The background of stars in the night sky, and the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation, both provide a reference frame for concluding that the Earth rotates. The CMB also allows us to measure the proper motion of the Earth. This was computed in the last few years. (See 3rd paragraph in Wikipedia for “Sun”.)

As Ian’s article points out, if observations from Mars show that the Earth rotates around the solar system center of mass close to the Sun, then no rational person can argue for an Earth-centered Universe.

But then, are YECreationists rational?

eric said:

Ed Hensley said: Is my experiment valid?

Nope. Your airplane starts on the ground, i.e., with the same rotational momentum as the surface of the earth. This means trip time, fuel use, etc. will be the same east-west as it is west-east. Hypothetically I think you could tell if you compared fuel required to go the same distance in the same time east-west vs north-south. I could be wrong about that, but it probably doesn’t matter - the Earth is big, planes are small, and our planet has an active atmosphere. If there was any difference, it would be in the measurement noise.

A much better way to tell if you are in a rotating frame of reference is to build a Focault pendulum. :)

There was an old sci-fi novel where the protagonists had to figure out they were on a rotating ring (with inclined floor) on the surface of the earth, and not on a rotating space station. I forget exactly what they did. It wasn’t a great book, but I’ll try and find the title/author.

The rotation of the Earth is used to add additional kinetic energy to the launch of vehicles into orbit. Launching in the easterly direction uses less fuel.

Researchers at NIST Boulder, CO have built some optical clocks that have such high precision that they can measure gravitational redshifts over distances of only 33 cm.

There is a report in this November 2010 issue of Physics Today of an article in Science 329, 1630 (2010).

Matt G said:

I saw a quote from Conservapedia printed in an issue of Science a month or two ago. They defined Einstein’s Theory of Relativity as a liberal pseudoscience designed to encourage moral relativism and discourage people from reading the Bible.

That was also reported in Scientific American.

Just Bob said:

Matt G said:

I saw a quote from Conservapedia printed in an issue of Science a month or two ago. They defined Einstein’s Theory of Relativity as a liberal pseudoscience designed to encourage moral relativism and discourage people from reading the Bible.

That was also reported in Scientific American.

I had to look that up for giggles. The phrase ‘liberal pseudoscience’ doesn’t occur in the main article (any more). One of the references even says the attempt to link relativity to moral relativism is a mistake. However, there is a small table at the bottom listing related links, in which this row occurs:

Liberal pseudoscience [as the row header]: Black holes • Dark matter • Moral relativism • Wormholes

Although the entire entry is ridiculously critical of relativity, I only give it a 5 to 7 on the crazy scale. To see world class crazy (even the Russian judge would give it a 9.8), you should read their entry for Dinosaur.

I’m not prepared to make much of a defense of the explanatory power of the ways of the aether.

I do rather like your comparison between the “micro”evolution/”macro”evolution barrier and the distinction between the ways of aether on Earth and everywhere else.

Perhaps I should mention that I am a newcomer to the world of geocentrism, just beginning to find out what’s up (so to speak).

TomS said:

For all of its faults, geocentrism is in much better shape than creationism.

[snip]

Moreover, the geocentrists do feel the need to give some sort of account for natural phenomena. They do have a description of what is going on with the planets. They do have an explanatory factor, the aether. Quite unlike the creationists, who are famous for not having a description of what happened or an explanation for the variety of life.

Not really, both the geocentricists and the creationists introduce ad hoc explanations that sound superficially plausible, but fall apart on close inspection. Need to explain the paralax motion of the stars? The stars orbit the Sun, not the earth (lets ignore the fact that this is inconsistent with their expalanation of how the Earth can be stable at the centre of the universe). For everything elese, invoke aether (ignoring the fact that several aether explanations are directly contradictory erg Mitchelson-Morely vs Morely-Gage).

This is directly comparable to the creationists an the flood, hydroplate theroy and the RATE programe to explain away radioactive dating of Earth.

As fun as this has been, as I have limited internet access during the holidays, I’m going to have to close the comments.

Cheers! and Happy Holidays!

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This page contains a single entry by Ian Musgrave published on November 15, 2010 2:24 PM.

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