Science Assignment- Term 1 33623257428230By Aimee Fleming 5-1 00By Aimee Fleming 5-1 right236601000The Discovery of Spherical Earth 3476625000The idea that Earth is a sphere has been a common belief for centuries
Science Assignment- Term 1
33623257428230By Aimee Fleming 5-1
00By Aimee Fleming 5-1
right236601000The Discovery of Spherical Earth
3476625000The idea that Earth is a sphere has been a common belief for centuries, however, it wasn’t always a common belief. Many people used to (and still do) believe that the Earth is a huge flat disc sitting in our universe. This all changed in Ancient Greece when many mathematicians began to question this and start running tests of their own.
Who discovered that Earth is a sphere isn’t actually known, however, most scientists believe it was first proposed by Pythagoras in around 500BC. He made this proposition by stating that the moon is round so Earth must also be round. Anaxagoras built on this by using solar and lunar eclipses to prove that Earth is actually a sphere. Aristotle also made the proposition that Earth is round around 350BC based on observations made about what constellations were visible as your travelled further from the equator.
Eratosthenes, an ancient Greek scientist, is also noted for the discovery of a spherical Earth. He stated that on the Summer Solstice (the longest day of the year) the sun would lie directly above him and wouldn’t cast a shadow. This wasn’t quiet right, as he was in Alexandria, which is north of the Equator. He did an experiment by measuring the movements of the shadows and from that, he could work out the angle at which the Sun’s rays hit that certain point. He did it in Syene also, which is located on the equator and no shadow was cast when the Sun was directly above. From this, he realised that the sun’s rays were parallel and for this to be correct, Earth had to be curved. He then found the circumference of the Earth, which he believed to be approximately 39 375 km. This is only off by less than 2% of the modern understanding that Earth has a circumference of 40 041 km.
The idea that Galileo Galilei was the first to propose a spherical Earth is a myth. He believed it, however, he was not the first one to point it out and he never added any extra evidence to the theory. Galileo did however did believe in and research the heliocentric model which put the Sun in the middle of our Solar System as opposed to the geocentric model which puts Earth in the centre of our planetary system, which was the common belief at the time.
The first practical demonstration the Earth is round was made between 1519 and 1522 when Ferdinand Magellan and Juan Sebastián Elcano circumnavigated the globe.
The discovery of round earth had a huge impact on society. It changed the way people perceived the Earth around them. Many people were sceptical (and still are) about this discovery, however, after a few centuries, things started to change.
More and more people began believing after many religious leaders and respected mathematicians started using science and maths to prove older theories. An example is Bishop Isidore of Seville who wrote about a spherical Earth in his well respected encyclopaedia, The Etymologies. The idea of a spherical Earth also impacted Islamic astronomy as early Islamic scholars recognised that Earth is a sphere and from that created spherical trigonometry. They used this to calculate the distance from any place on Earth to Mecca and it determined the Muslim direction of prayer. Today, it is common belief that Earth is a sphere, however, there are a few who believe otherwise.
Many people are still sceptic about the idea of a spherical Earth. Some Christians and Jews believed that the Earth is a flat disc, based is what is said in the Bible. Their arguments for a flat Earth are based on scriptures from the Bible. Some of these scriptures are:
4133850000Isiah 40:22, “It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in”
Matthew 4:8, “Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory”
The Bible also frequently mentions the four corners of the Earth, which flat-Earth believers interpret as literal, thus making it one of their arguments as a sphere doesn’t have corners. An example of what some Christians and Jews believe the Earth looks like is on the right.
right33845500The belief in a flat Earth is becoming more and more popular with the growing popularity of conspiracy theories, such as those who state the Earth is flat (or some other shape) and the governments are lying about pictures. One of the arguments of these conspiracy theorists is that the flag of the United Nations is a map of a flat Earth and that is a message from the government about the co called ‘truth’ about flat Earth. The image on the right compares a map of flat Earth and the United Nations flag.
I believe it is an important discovery as it changed the way we thought about the world completely. From this, the idea of the heliocentric system came about and it led to what we now view as our Solar System. The discovery of a spherical Earth is one of the most important scientific discoveries of all time and its discovery has lead to many more great discoveries.
NASA Starchild (Author unknown) 2003 https://starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/StarChild/questions/question54.htmlThe Biblical Flat Earth: The Teaching From Scriptures by Philip Stallings, June 2015 http://www.philipstallings.com/2015/06/the-biblical-flat-earth-teaching-from.htmlSpherical Earth (Author and Date unknown) http://www.wikiwand.com/en/Spherical_EarthWhy has the Flat Earth theory had a resurgence? By Matthew Dunn, June 2017 http://www.news.com.au/technology/science/space/the-flat-earth-theory-has-seen-a-resurgence-with-people-trying-to-prove-our-planet-is-not-a-sphere/news-story/0bd1226fbe2e2bc819ec12733591e8c9