Thursday, November 17, 2016


Conclusive Evidence
By Thomas Winship
(Post 44/47)

A Popular Lecture proving that our Earth neither rotates upon its axis nor around the Sun.-—Delivered at Berlin by Dr. Shoepfer.
Gentlemen,—one should be endowed with unlimited courage to dare come out before a large audience with proofs of the erroneousness of a scientific formula which since our earliest youth we had been taught to regard as the only correct and unerring theory. I am pretty certain that at this moment you have come to the same conclusion about me, as four months ago, I would have entertained myself of any man who should have asserted that it is not the earth which revolves around the sun, but the sun which revolves around the earth. I would have considered such a man either an ignoramus or a lunatic; nevertheless, I now consider the immobility of the earth an incontrovertible fact, and even hope that my convictions will be shared by those who without prejudice will reflect upon that which I will now impart to them.

Some time ago we had the opportunity of witnessing the series of experiments with a pendulum which, according to the theory of the celebrated physicist, Leon Foucault, furnish proof of the diurnal rotation of the earth around its axis. I had long neglected to acquaint myself with these experiments, although, while explaining to my pupils the motion of the earth around the sun, I had always found very extraordinary results—absurd, I ought to say—one circumstance pertaining to this motion with which you will acquaint yourselves in my present lecture. So firm was my conviction of the diurnal and annual revolutions of our globe that I had accepted even Foucault's experiments with the pendulum as sufficiently demonstrative.

Meanwhile, I had been appointed to assist in the experiments, and, as they bear directly upon the subject in hand, I will briefly state in substance the results.

If, choosing any given point in space near our globe, we imagine a limitless series of circles, then, in consequence of their parallel position to the equator, we term such series of circles parallels.

From the exterior form of the earth we conclude that these circles go on diminishing as they near the poles. If we fancy two such circumterraneous parallels as dividing this auditorium, then the northern parallel will be shorter than the southern. In the rotation of the earth around its axis in 24 hours both parallels will have to accomplish their rotation in the same space of time; and as they complete the circuit simultaneously, but the southern parallel is longer than the northern, then, consequently, every point of the southern parallel must move with greater velocity than the like points of the northern.

Let us now throw a glance on the apparatus called the pendulum, which is well-known to every one, but in the particular case in point a very equivocal authority. It is easy to demonstrate that the arc of the vibration of the pendulum does not depend upon the change (Drehung) of the point of suspension. This undisturbed regularity of the vibration (the swing) of the pendulum has served M. Leon Foucault as a proof of the rotation of the earth around its axis. If we cause such a pendulum to vibrate across the parallels which we are imagining to pass through our audience, then the arc of the vibration, as Foucault tells us will change from the axial rotation of the emplacement, and will begin, in consequence of this, to gain in rapidity on the northern and less rapidly moving parallel, and will be out-stripped by the southern one, which moves quicker. In such a case, the arc of the pendulum will soon diverge from its direction from north to south, and its point turned to the north will near the east, and with the point turned south will begin more and more to near the west, till, finally, the pendulum's motion will be in the direction from east to west.

Now the reason for a deviation of the pendulum has ceased; it vibrates no more across two parallels, but only across one. The cause of its deviation from its first direction is removed; it would then seem that the deviation itself ought not to take place any longer, but nevertheless it still continues. The pendulum abandons the east and west direction to approach with its points the southeast and northwest until it reaches its starting point, at which it must again deviate according to Foucault's theory.

As the pendulum does not preserve the direction from east to west, but always gets farther and farther away, I conclude that the deviation of the pendulum is not caused by the axial motion of the earth, but is due to some other motion yet unknown.

By a series of careful experiments I have found that all pendulums are not liable to a deviation in the same degree; the heavier the ball, the more rapidly it will deviate. And as the rotation of the earth around its axis—if we admit its existence—ought to be manifested everywhere equally, then its deviation also, for every kind of pendulum, must be equal in time; but this in reality is just what is not the case.

The conviction that Foucault's arguments were erroneous forced me to verify at the same time all other proofs which have hitherto been regarded as demonstrating the rotation of the earth around its axis, and it was then I found that we had no evidence for such a theory.

Already in antiquity Aristarchus of Samos and other philosophers, several centuries before Christ, affirmed that the stellar sphere is motionless, and that the daily rising and setting of the stars can only be accounted for on the theory of the earth's rotation around its axis. But all these men, profound thinkers, had come to the above conclusion only from the fact that otherwise such an incredible rapidity of the celestial bodies as would enable them to accomplish a diurnal circuit around the earth could never be accounted for. Of course every one must agree with me that at the present moment such an argument would be regarded as very small proof. Indeed, if we were able to take a little peasant boy from a country in which railroads were unknown and tell him of the existence of carriages which are able to make a mile in five minutes, of course he could never believe us; such rapidity would seem incredible to him. He is ignorant that light travels with a velocity of 40,000 miles a second, and that the rapidity of electricity is still more considerable! Thus, this argument with respect to the celestial bodies whose nature is as yet so little understood, and the path of whose motion is a vacuum or in a space filled with attenuated matter is only assumed or guessed at upon the strength of an hypothesis—that these bodies cannot have such a velocity of motion as to be able in twenty-four hours to circumscribe the earth—such an argument, to make us reject the possibility of the rotation of the celestial sphere, is certainly weak and futile.

But the contrary position, the one commonly accepted, also proves untenable when we look into it carefully.

It was found in the measurement of the earthly meridians that the globe is flattened towards the poles, and that in consequence of this, the equatorial diameter is greater than the line which passes through the axis of the earth from one pole to the other. Man, who endeavours to penetrate into all the mysteries of nature, tried to find the reason for such a flatness, and then comes Newton and explains it by the rotatory motion of the globe. In consequence of such a rotation all the component parts of the earth, and especially the bodies to be found upon its surface, receive an impulse to abandon the earth. Such an impulse is then named the centrifugal force.

At the poles, where the rapidity of motion is equal to 0, that force is also equal to 0; further from the poles to the equator that force increases in ratio with the increase of the parallels, so that the greater the parallel is, the more rapidly as I have already said, must move each of its points. In consequence of this, they say, the greater part of the earth's mass is gravitating toward the equator; and for the same reason, the centripetal force, acting on the equator with greater intensity, compels the concentration there of the greater portion of the mass. Hence it is finally concluded that the earth must forcibly rotate around its axis, because were there no such rotation there would be no centrifugal force, and without such a force there would exist no gravitation toward the equatorial diameter or zone.

We have laid before you now one of the existing evidences of the rotation of the earth, I do not accept such an argument, but reject it with many other scientists who have discarded it before myself. . . . . .

Therefore, gentlemen, until we have more weighty argument to explain satisfactorily the accumulation of the mass of the earthy matter on the warmer zones, I cannot undertake to accept as a reason for it a certain centrifugal force, appearing as a consequence of the motion of the earth around its axis, and I will not allow the hypothesis, were it but because I know beforehand to what inexplicable contradictions this centrifugal force would bring us. Some of these I will point out presently.

We must now consider the fourth and last evidence of the rotary movement of the terrestrial globe. 

In 1867, M. Richer remarked that a clock of his, which kept good time in Paris, having been transferred to Cayenne, i.e., five degrees north of the equator, began to lose two and a half minutes daily. Richer had to shorten the rod of the pendulum one and a quarter lines to make the clock go right. It is well-known that the time of the vibration or rapidity of a pendulum increases with the diminution of its length, and is arrested proportionately with the elongation of the rod. Later it was ascertained that such a retardation happens also when the clock is carried on a high mountain. As the vibration of the pendulum is based on the laws of falling bodies, and the fall of the bodies itself depends on their weight or otherwise, on the attraction of the earth (?) it was but natural to conclude that if the vibration of the pendulum is not the same everywhere, and the attraction of the earth varies, then this affords us conclusive evidence that the cause of the retardation of the vibrations of the pendulum is a certain centrifugal force, which develops with the motion of the earth around its axis, and that it is this force, which, arrests the swing of the pendulum by decreasing its weight. But such a conclusion is erroneous; and we could far better admit the following conclusion, at which many of our physicists now have arrived—the attraction of the earth diminishes with the recession of the body from its centre, which serves at the same time as the centre for all the attractive force of the globe.

And what if the cause of the retardation of the vibrations of the pendulum at the equator and on high mountains should prove quite different from what is now generally supposed? What if the cause is not at all the decrease of the force of attraction (whether from the recession of the object from the centre of the earth or centrifugal force), but on the contrary, its increase, proceeding from the accumulation of bulk at the equator, in which case the force of attraction increasing, increases at the same time the weight of the body, and in the pendulum the weight of the ball? There is one fact not known to all physicists, I believe, namely, that the rapidity of the vibrations of a pendulum depends not only on the length of its rod, but also on the weight of the ball itself. It might be even more correct to express it thus; the velocity of the motion of the pendulum depends chiefly on the weight of its ball. When I elongate the rod of the pendulum I force the ball to move on a longer level, and increase thereby its own weight; I can also, without elongating the rod, increase its weight by other means; the result will be the same. Thus, for instance, everyone is aware that even people unacquainted with science when their clocks are running too fast, and they wish to make the pendulum vibrate slower, attach to the ball either a stone or a small bit of iron, and thus attain their object. The physicists have made very exact experiments in this direction. They found that a pendulum having a uniform length of rod makes 20,000 vibrations—

With a ball attached to it weighing 2 kg    in 1,977    seconds.
 ''                     ''                     ''         4 kg    ''  2,010'55    ''     
 ''                     ''                     ''         6 kg    ''  2,021'31    ''     
 ''                     ''                     ''         8 kg    ''  2,027'04    ''     

Therefore the greater the weight of the ball the slower the vibration of the pendulum. From these experiments, conducted with the greatest precautions and published in the "Comptes Rendus de l' Academie Friancaise," tome xxi., p.p. 117-134, it appears: 1. That the laws of Galileo are not quite exact as to the vibrations of the pendulum; 2. That the explanation of the retardation of the pendulum on the equator by the decrease of the force of attraction of the earth is evidently false; 3. That even the universally accepted laws of the gravitation of bodies are not sufficiently exact; and 4. That, in general, the means employed toward discovering the laws of nature with the help of calculations is not only being proved unreliable, but it serves but the more to darken the truth.

You will have seen from the last two arguments, which have hitherto served as evidence of the rotation of the earth, that as the result of such a rotation was assumed a centrifugal force. Its presence was vainly sought for in the currents of the ocean, as well as in those of the air. And, indeed, it is not easy to explain how or on what principle the air—this soft, yielding incompressible body, agitated by various currents—could have remained unaffected by the rotation of the terrestrial globe. If the greatest physicists admit that hard bodies are influenced by such a rotation, then it appears, it will not be too bold on my part to maintain that the rotation of the earth around its axis should inevitably exert an influence on the air. This influence should be shown first of all in that, during the rotation of the earth from west to east, there would appear immediately an atmospheric current from east to west. 

Indeed, if the earth, together with its atmosphere, rotates in a completely empty space, then in every case it might be possible to admit that the earth rotates without producing any influence on the atmospheric ocean. But against the theory of such a vacuum we have the very quality of the air.

The air, as much as we know of it, has such a great tendency toward expansion that all the hitherto worked out laws of gravitation have remained foreign to it. Were the most exterior, the most rarefied layer of air not to encounter on its way any obstacle toward its expansion in the shape of a new planet, it would scatter itself throughout the whole universe, moving farther and farther into the infinite space; the particles of the air nearer to this layer would follow its example, and, finally, the seas and rivers of the terrestrial globe, all the water would take part in such a process of expansion, to disappear at last from the face of the earth. (We produce first just such a phenomenon with the help of an air pump). On the ground that such a thing does not exist in fact, we must suppose that there is some retaining cause, which according to custom, we will term Ether. Counteraction to the evaporation of the air consists in this, that it forces every upper layer to press upon the next lower, causing by such a progressive pressure the condensation of that layer of the atmospheric air which is next to us.

If such an ether exists in reality, then there must occur in the atmosphere those phenomena so familiar to us, which always take place in cases when the air encounters obstacles to its free motion. Let the earth rotate, then all the atmospheric space, on the ground of the attraction of the earth, will be compelled to participate in the movement, and the consequence will be that the upper layers of the air, finding a resistance in the ether, will either be retarded, or—which would be the same—assume a seeming current in a direction opposite to that of the earth's motion. Such a current of the upper stratum of the air would provoke a resistance in the next lower one, and this one, in its turn, receiving the impulse communicated to it by the upper one, would offer a resistance to its next lower neighbour, etc. Finally these two opposite currents, intermingling in their onward impulse, would form two streams—one from east to west, in which would participate, first, the whole atmospheric ocean world, and then the contents of all the watery basins; the other from west to east, into which would be drawn the very core of the terrestrial globe.

But let us make another supposition, and notwithstanding the impossibility, let us admit that there is no ether; that ether is no more nor less than the product of those endless hypotheses in which man has entangled himself from the first in his efforts to investigate nature; even in the latter case it will not be a difficult task to prove that the rotation of the earth must cause the current of the atmosphere to take an opposite direction. On what ground did our physicists base their suppositions when telling us that we don't feel the rotation of the earth? How do they explain the circumstance that objects on its surface are neither upset nor fall? They point to the laws of inertia. Very well! I agree with them! I agree only the better to vanquish my adversaries with their own weapons, as I have hitherto always done. You are probably aware that motion can be imparted to any substance, but that a fluid or gaseous body can be made to move only when it is imprisoned in a hard one. Air is a body which is more than any other disasso- ciated as to its component parts. Let us suppose that the earth has communicated its movement to the layer of air next to the surface, and thus dragged it after her. This layer, perfectly separate and distinct from the next upper one unattached to it, is unable to communicate its motion to the other and upper layers. Hence these upper layers remain unaffected by the motion of the lower one, or what comes to the same, begin to assume a seeming rush (or current) from east to west, with a rapidity equal to the earth's rotation. Every point of the equator during the diurnal rotation of the earth crosses in the same lapse of time 1,250 feet, but in the direction opposite to that of the earth's rotation. But such a rapidity of the atmospheric currents is nowhere to be seen, and it exceeds ten times the speed of the most terrible hurricanes.

I do not belong to those who accept their own conviction of an east and west atmospheric current for a real and already demonstrated fact. And yet all the modern physicists, scientifically convinced of the absolute necessity for the existence of such a current, have accepted it as a fact, resulting from the earth's rotation around its axis, although all their efforts to find it anywhere in nature have been in vain. Even the passats, explained for a certain time by the same rotatory motion of our globe, deprived at the present moment of their once famous periodicity, are now being accounted for a great deal more simply, to wit, by the different degree of heat in the upper envelope of the terrestrial globe.

We have but to represent to ourselves, in thought, all the various atmospheric currents, at one time weakening, at another increasing, and moving in every imaginable direction, called by us sometimes winds, sometimes tempests; we must imagine these winds running very often in direct opposition to each other's course, and then ask ourselves the question: Is there any possibility that such currents could exist when the air is at the same time forced to passively follow the simultaneous rotation of the earth around the sun and its own axis? Is it possible to admit that in case such currents existed in nature, our atmosphere would at the same time continue the constant and faithful satellite of our earth?

Therefore the circumstance that the rotation of the earth around its axis is not at all felt by us; that other circumstance, that this rotation has never been in any form or manner satisfactorily proved, and cannot be proved; the absence, finally, in nature, of those atmospheric currents which in all justice ought to be found as a consequence of the rotation—all this serves us as a refutation of the theory of the rotation of the earth around its axis, perfectly convincing, if it were only because we do not possess a single evident proof in favour of the rotation.

Is it not a cause of wonder that the savants of the whole civilised world, beginning with Copernicus and ending with Kepler, first of all accept such a rotation of our planet, and then for three centuries and a half after that seek for it some proof? But, alas! they seek, and as was to be expected, find it not. All in vain; all unsuccessful!

To prove the impossibility of the second proposition, i.e., the revolution of the earth around the sun, will present no difficulty. We can bring self-evident proof to the contrary. The earth revolves around the sun and is retained in its orbit by the strength of the solar attraction, and these propositions contradict, point blank, the fundamental law of gravitation itself. It is known to everyone that the direction of the weight is perpendicular to the wall, otherwise the grain of dust would fall. In the same way the direction of the weight of our planet must be perpendicular to the sun, as to the centre of its attraction. But such, in fact, is not the case at all. The direction of the earth's weight is not only not perpendicular, but even changes with every moment.

In order to prove the correctness of my observation, we will now examine more carefully the modern theory of the annual rotation of the earth around the sun, and we will examine it under the aspect in which it is treated in the scientific works that discuss this subject. To explain the change of seasons, in other words to demonstrate the solar ecliptic, the scientists have assumed the following position: The earth's axis inclines to its orbit at an angle of 66½°; this angle is preserved by the earth during the whole time of its rotation around the sun, i.e., the axis of the earth is parallel to itself at every point of its transit. We can make this theory approximately clear to ourselves by the following illustration: Taking this candle for the sun, we will now revolve around it this little globe, so that, by a simple practical experiment, we may form for ourselves an idea how the four seasons take place. . . . . . (diagram 1 omitted). Here on the diagram we can plainly see that the axis of the earth does not change its position with relation to the earth's orbit during the whole time of the earth's rotation, i.e., it remains parallel to itself. It is only by conceding this that we can explain the four seasons of the year. To this point the modern theory appears perfectly satisfactory, but if we examine it more carefully, its inconsistency will become evident. Thus I will now touch at once that incomprehensible and, at the first glance, unobserved circumstance, which has always appeared to me absurd, whenever I had to explain to my audience the rotation of the earth around the sun.

As it would be absurd to suppose that the sun, during the yearly revolution of the earth, in its turn daily circumscribes the earth, modern theory, to meet the necessity of the case, has to suppose that the terrestrial globe, while rotating yearly around the sun, turns daily around its own axis in the direction from west to east. But such two simultaneous rotations are, as we shall directly see, perfectly inadmissible. During the interval from the 21st of June to the 22nd of September such two simultaneous motions coincide well enough, but from the 22nd of September onward, and back to the 21st of June, the juxtaposition of such two motions carries us on directly to a perfect absurdity; it would follow that the terrestrial globe, rotating diurnally around its axis from west to east, moves onward in a direction quite the opposite. But I believe that everyone is aware that a moving body, according to the nature of its rotary motion, either receives an impulse forward, or, on the contrary, the impulse forward directs its rotary motion. Consequently, if the terrestrial globe rotates from west to east, then it must also proceed onward in the same direction, and, in case of a sudden appearance of some new force, compel the earth to deviate from its primal direction, the force which makes the earth to move around its axis must (if it is the stronger) either overcome the newly manifested force or be destroyed by it.

If we compare the two halves (or parts) of the terrestrial revolution around the sun, to wit, the semi-revolution from W to O, through B, with the semi-revolution from O to W, through A, we find that, from W to O, the direction of the rotation agrees to a certain point with the direction of the motion, and from O to W it is directly opposite to its onward motion. This will best be seen if we rotate this sphere around the lighted candle in the same manner as represented for the earth as Fig. 1. In order to explain such a strange contradiction we ought to suppose that, during the revolution of the earth around the sun, the direction of the terrestrial weight is also changed, but this would amount to an absurdity, and something in direct contradiction to the accepted formula, that the direction of the terrestrial weight depends on the sun, as on a body which keeps the earth in its orbit. Fig. 2 [Fig. II] will explain the whole still plainer. If the globe, e, is compelled to rotate towards O, in the direction pointed to by the hand, and move onward from a to b, and from d to c, then, in its motion from W to O, it must have the direction of its weight on the line a, b, and in its motion from O to W, on the line c, d, to wit, in the first case, have its weight directed downward, and in the second case upward. Although in the universal space there exists neither an up nor down, the question itself is unaffected by that circumstance. Presently we will return once more to this question, and prove that such an incessant change of the direction of the terrestrial weight is in direct contradiction with science.

According to the now prevailing modern view, the earth is kept within its orbit by the force of the sun's attraction. But even this proposition contradicts the assumption of the dual rotation of the earth, unless we make such allowances as will contradict all our scientific notions, for it is impossible to imagine to ourselves two simultaneous motions of the terrestrial globe around its axis, and around the sun, in agreement with the change of years and that of the seasons, during which the direction of the terrestrial weight would be constantly turned toward the sun, as we ought to find it were the earth supported in its orbit by the force of the attraction of the sun. It is supposed that in every circuitous motion there are two forces in action. For instance, if we attach a ball to a string and swing it around so that the cord will be extended out straight, then the one force, which tends to project the ball in a straight line from the centre, is named centrifugal force, and the other, contained in the very cord itself, shows a tendency to draw back the ball toward the centre round which it revolves, and is called centripetal force. During the simultaneous activity of both the forces the ball cannot move on a direct line on which both forces tend to move it, but is forced to adopt a movement in the direction of a diagonal, and from the union of an infinite number of such diagonals, it begins moving in a circle.

If we examine a little more carefully this circuit-motion of the ball, we will find it anything but complex. That point of the ball to which is attached the cord, i.e., near which acts the centripetal force developed by my hand, lies on that side of the ball which is directed to the centre of the movement, i.e., in the direction of the hand, and, if the ball had a propensity at the same time to assume a motion around its axis, then the latter would find itself at the same spot where the thread is tied, and this given point on the ball ought to remain turned toward the hand. That which is law for one body is law for all other bodies, placed in the same conditions as the first. The moon—the only heavenly body so close to our planet as that we can observe it in detail—is placed, in relation to her revolution around the earth, under precisely the same conditions as the ball we are now examining is, in relation to the point where the thread is fixed. Let us fancy the ball as the moon, the hand as the earth, and the thread as the terrestrial attraction, invisible in reality, but acting like the thread, and we will see that the moon is turned toward our globe always on the same side, for the force of attraction has deprived it forever of the slightest possibility to effect any change in the direction of the weight and rotation around its axis. Why, then, not derive from the laws of motion regulating the moon, a very close deduction for our own planet? Indeed if the terrestrial globe revolves around the sun, and is kept in suspension in its orbit through the attraction of the sun, then this globe, as well as the moon, must find it impossible to rotate around its axis. In such a case, the one side of the earth would be constantly lighted by the sun, while the other would find itself in perpetual darkness. But we see no such thing, therefore we must infer that the modern explanations of the movements of our planet around its axis and the sun are devoid of the least probability, and disagree entirely with the exigencies of experiment.

Perhaps we might suppose that the terrestrial globe occupying a central position, revolves in twenty-four hours around its axis, while the sun describes annually above it that circle which is shown by the ecliptic. But there is no room for such a supposition until the rotation of the earth itself around its axis is demonstrated on more solid proofs; and, besides, as I have shown, it is the contrary, which can be most easily proved. The immobility of our planet is chiefly maintained by me on the principle that we cannot find in Nature any constant atmospheric current always running from east to west. On the same principle, if our planet revolved around the sun, its whole atmosphere ought to be retarded and forced in a direction contrary to the forward motion of the earth, and would have to follow our planet like a long tail, as we see in the case of comets. Of whatever substance may be the tail of the latter, we are forced to examine it as the atmosphere of these as yet but little known bodies, and if the comets themselves travel in the universal space, then their atmosphere is compelled to follow them in the shape of a luminous tail.

Finally, let us return once more to the law of gravitation in order to demonstrate conclusively that the rotation of the earth around its axis and the sun is an utterly improbable hypothesis. A little further back, while repeating to you in substance the theory now thoroughly accepted of the earth's revolution, I have shewn that, as the theory now stands, the position of the terrestrial weight must inevitably be shifting at every second. Out of this would result the following: If the sun really retains the terrestrial globe in its orbit, then the direction of the terrestrial gravity must constantly tend from the centre of the earth toward the point fixed on its surface at that side which is turned to the sun; on this point acts, immediately, all the centripetal force proceeding from the sun, and, therefore, as in the instance of the moon when the centre of all the lunar gravity is concentrated on that side of her which is turned to us, it is to this point that must gravitate all the weight of the terrestrial globe as all the weaker and lighter bodies. But our experiments show to us quite the contrary: the centre of the earth's gravity does not change in the least, and placed in its middle, depends only on the terrestrial mass; no outward force of the kind of the sun's attraction is able to affect it any way, or can force it to displace itself. And if so, then do not such facts prove fully and clearly (1) that the terrestrial globe is not kept in its orbit by the sun's attraction, because such an enormous force could not but affect the point where is concentrated the centre of the earth's gravity; and (2) that the centre of the earth is at the same time the centre of its weight, and also the center of all the visible universe? Of course, I do not reject entirely the influence on our planet not only of the attraction of the sun, but also of the moon, but I only maintain that the force of their attraction is not so powerful as to influence, in any serious way, the solid portions of terrestrial body, when we find that even with fluid and gaseous bodies, especially such as the air, this influence is felt but to a very feeble extent. If the attraction of the sun is so trifling that it can act but in quite a slight and to us as yet not quite clear manner on fluidic bodies, then we have still less reason to suppose that such a weak force could neutralize the centrifugal force of the earth and keep it in its orbit. For such an effect as this a force of gigantic proportion would be required—a force under whose action all the terrestrial atmosphere would long since have been carried off to the sun, in the same way as the force of attraction of the terrestrial globe is ever ready to attract to itself every just-forming lunar atmosphere.

Let us now see what changes would be called for in the same department of astronomy were my assertions to be some day verified, and it should be found that the earth is motionless, and occupies the central position of the visible universe. Such changes would be in some respects important, in others unimportant. They would chiefly consist in our henceforth regarding the hitherto seeming motion of the heavenly bodies as a real motion, as the astronomer Tycho de Brahe did before. He maintained that the earth stands still in the centre of the universe, and around it, as around its natural centre, moves diurnally the whole heavenly sphere; the moon and the sun in addition to the above motion describing around the earth independent movements on special curves, while Mercury with the rest of the planets describes an epicycloid. . . . . . I may also add that the position assumed by our scientists who consider the fixed stars as suns of the same nature as our own, and all the other planets as bodies identical in substance with our earth, will be found to be without foundation. Such a theory is irrational, if it were only because of the principles on which are based the determination of circumferences and weights of the celestial bodies. The weight of the sun, for instance, was determined in accordance with the amount of the expression of its imaginary attractive force on the surrounding planets. As soon as it is found that the sun must surrender its office of principal star and become simply a planet revolving around the earth, directly depending on the force of the latter's attraction, all previous calculations will naturally be proved erroneous. The sizes of the heavenly bodies have been determined on no less false principle.

Who but is more or less acquainted with that phenomenon which shows us an object diminishing in proportion to the distance, so that if an object is placed at a distance which exceeds 5,000 times its diameter, the human eye is unable to see that object? It is on the basis of this law that the sizes of all the heavenly bodies have been calculated. According to their seeming size and the ratio of their distance from the earth, science has endeavoured to determine the number of times that their real size surpasses their seeming one. But in determining by that principle our scientists have neglected to consider one of the most important points; they forget that the law which makes objects apparently diminishing in proportion to their distance from the observer does not affect luminous bodies; the brighter the light of the body the longer its bulk will remain unchanged in our sight, whereas an object but faintly lighted becomes invisible, as I have said, at a distance which exceeds its diameter 5,000 times. If the said law extended to luminous bodies, then a flame one inch wide could not be seen at the distance of 225 yards, whereas we know from experiment that the size of its apparent bulk does not change even when the candle is carried to a distance of several thousand yards. As the sunlight is extremely bright, the bulk of the sun must therefore seem unchangeable at an extremely long distance, and IT IS VERY POSSIBLE THAT THE SUN IN REALITY IS BUT LITTLE BIGGER THAN IT SEEMS TO US AT THE DISTANCE. Besides that, it is not only possible but a great deal more plausible to accept the assumption that the laws which shew to us an object diminishing with the distance are applicable only to our own dense atmosphere which surrounds us, and are not operative in a medium so rare as that of the upper spheres. When, after a clear and cold night, the vapours of the air are drawn down to the earth, and the rising sun illuminates the air cleared from the mist, then the mountains, the villages, the environs and edifices, at other times hardly delineated in the blueish atmosphere, suddenly rise before our eyes as if growing up by enchantment; they seem nearer and allow us to examine the slightest details of their structure. In this case the law of the diminution of objects is evidently changed. And there in the ether, in that attenuated matter—or rather let us only speak of ether as empty space—in this vacuum of the universe how can these laws be ever applied? Generally speaking, as far as I know from personal experience, the science of optics is not quite accurate, the sight of the human eye is more or less influenced by the purity of the atmospheric air.

. . . . . Equally erroneous will be found all the determinations of distances of the fixed stars, once that we have to regard the earth as fixed. According to the now accepted and wholly dominant theory, on the 21st of December the earth is 40,000,000 miles (185,000,000 ?) from the point at which it stood on the 21st of July (June ?). On these same dates, with the help of the telescope, directed to one and the same point of the heavens, is observed a certain star which crosses the meridian in the same direction and in the same point of the heavens. It results then that a distance of 40,000,000 miles (185,000,000 ?) counts as nothing in our comparison of the distance of the observed star! But even such an evident proof of the recession of the fixed stars from the earth loses certainly all its weight if we assume the earth to be motionless.

And now, gentlemen, allow me to lay before you one more contradiction, which, had it been insisted upon before, might have shewn to our scientists long ago the erroneousness of our astronomical calculation. It was found from the determination of the sun's attraction that every body which exerts on the terrestrial globe a pressure of one pound exerts on the sun a pressure of 27 pounds. If all bodies act on the sun with such an increased pressure, it would then seem that the mass of the sun ought to be likewise and in the same proportion more compact than the terrestrial mass, i.e., it would consist of a more dense matter; and yet, by comparing the calculations of the weight with those of the circumference of the sun, it has been found that the sun's matter is just four times less in density than the substance out of which the earth is formed. The result, then, would be that one and the same body would weigh on the sun 27 times more than when on earth, and its weight would act on the sun 108 times more than it would on our planet; and yet the substance of the sun would present but ¼ of a part of the density of the matter of the terrestrial globe! This I must say, is incomprehensible to me, and I view such a theory as the result of correct calculations based on a false principle.

I also deny the existence of the atmosphere on any planet whatever. A heavenly body crossing the universe with a velocity hardly comprehensible cannot be possessed of an atmosphere similar to the air of our earth. And here, as before, the moon—a planet with the qualities with which we are best acquainted—gives us a fully correct comprehension, or rather it corroborates all that is shown to us by the natural laws. The moon has no atmosphere, and, therefore, there is but little probability that the other planets would have any more than she has. All the observations tending to show that the moon must have an atmosphere are based, no doubt, on equally erroneous principles; they could be accepted with any degree of certainty only when the experimenter could be carried beyond the atmosphere of the earth, or, at the least, when we should build our observations on the summit of Dhawalaghiri. The outer surfaces of the body of the sun, moon and other planets cannot be similar in appearance to the surface of the terrestrial globe; they must consist of strongly compacted matter, such as we see sometimes in the substance of the frequently falling aerolites. All the non-solid bodies, the strata of the earth, and the rocky portions would be torn off and precipitated on the earth by the force of its attraction. Thus, on the ground of these premises, the assumption that some of the planets may be inhabited is void of any probability and has to pass into the realm of fiction. . . . . .

Man, while determining the distance of the stars most important to us, on the strength of an imaginary rule of distance and falsely applied laws of the diminution of objects in proportion to their recession, began to calculate the size of these stars, and, astonished at their dimensions, mistook the fixed stars for bodies similar to our sun, and our earth for a very unimportant portion of the whole universe. Arrived at the latter conclusion, it very naturally appeared absurd to him that all these powerful, all these gigantic and numerous celestial bodies should revolve around our little globe, obey it, and submit to its desires. At that time appeared a new hypothesis: the earth is not motionless, it revolves around itself and around the sun. This theory is accepted as the correct one, and step after step are now built new suppositions, new combinations deduced from the union and combination of imagination with correct mathematical calculations.

Here I end my dissertation, although it would be but an easy matter to point out a great many more contradictions on which rests the modern theory which I now combat and is opposed to mine. We cannot help desiring and hoping that perchance there may be found at least one astronomer who, armed with all the weapons of modern speculative science and its apparatus, will undertake to re-create the whole system of Tycho de Brahe. The result of such an attempt would doubtless prove something scientifically grand. All that now under the Copernican system appears to us so incomprehensible and diametrically opposed to the fundamental laws of nature would be finally explained in the simplest and most rational way. We can now see how right was the venerated astronomer Bandes, when expressing his opinion on Tycho de Brahe's system, he remarked: "This theory presents in itself a great deal more of probability, as it explains so well all of the individual phenomena of nature." Unfortunately, Bandes was mistaken when he imagined that this system contradicted the laws of attraction. But I believe I have fully disposed of such a misunderstanding, and proved that it was not Tycho de Brahe's system, but that of Copernicus, which contradicts all the laws of gravitation. To add a few more proofs to our assumption we will say:

1. That the form of the continents contradicts the theory of the rotation of the earth. If our globe were revolving around its axis, then the outlines of the continents ought to elongate themselves in a direction from east to west, when in reality this elongation of configuration extends from north to south. Besides that, the width of their northern edges arises from the attractive force of the northern pole, and the points turned south from the repulsive force of the south pole.

2. There are no fixed stars in the sense of this word, because it has been observed that these stars, besides their diurnal revolution around the earth, perform independent circuitous movements. Vain have been all the efforts of the astronomers to find a central body whose force of attraction might account for the fact that these stars are kept within their orbits; and such a body must exist somewhere. This central body is our earth. May it not also explain the fact that the greater the accumulation of soil in the northern hemisphere the larger is the number of stars above?

3. Various changes in the fixed stars have been often remarked, namely a change of colour or the intensity of light, and sudden appearance and as sudden disappearance of single stars—which does not at all agree with the assumption that they are as large and independent bodies as it has been hitherto supposed.

4. The similarity in the component parts of all the meteorological masses, that is to say, of the bodies attracted by the force of gravity within the earth's atmosphere, gives us chiefly some idea of composition of the mass of all the heavenly bodies, and proves that they cannot be inhabited. The greatest aerolites known to us had a diameter of 7 to 7½ feet.

5. According to the exact researches of Wilhelm Malman, in the middle latitudes of the temperate zone the prevailing atmospheric current appears to be W.S.W. Although agreeably with the law of terrestrial rotation the prevailing winds ought to be found in those regions easterly, we see the contrary and find them westerly. 

As my following work will tend to demonstrate the agreement in the progression of the creation of the universe with truth and fact, and taking into consideration that this pamphlet of mine (the only reasonable refutation of the earth's rotation) shows a similarity with the opinions of many scientists who preceded me, in conclusion I wish to quote a few words from Goethe. The poet, whose prophetic views remained during his life wholly unnoticed, said the following: "In whatever way or manner may have occurred this business, I must still say that I curse this modern theory of cosmogony, and hope that perchance there may appear in due time some young scientist of genius who will pick up courage enough to upset this universally disseminated delirium of lunatics." . . . . From the "Scientific American," April 27th, 1878.

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