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Aristarchus of Samos

English: The Greek astronomer Aristarchus of S...

The Greek astronomer Aristarchus of Samos (310 BC – 230 BC), in the 17th century atlas of Andreas Cellarius. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Polish mathematician and astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus is commonly regarded as the genius who first devised a sun-centered model of the solar system, but this is a modern fable. Way before Copernicus, another science prodigy, Aristarchus of Samos, (310 – 230 BCE) proposed a heliocentric model—that is, that the earth revolves around the sun.¹

Today it seems amazing that this ancient Greek thinker also accurately predicted that the reason we don’t see parallax (the stars moving relative to each other as the Earth travels around the sun) is because the stars are very far away from the Earth. In essence, Aristarchus was imagining great distances that most ancient people could not really conceive of.

Aristarchus's 3rd century BC calculations on t...

Aristarchus’s 3rd century BC calculations on the relative sizes of the Earth, Sun and Moon, from a 10th century AD Greek copy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But as usual, forward thinkers are rarely rewarded in their day. They almost always meet with resistance from ignorant, possibly stupid, and certainly regimented thinkers. His theory was roundly rejected in favor of the geocentric models (where everything rotates around the earth) of Aristotle (384-322 BCE) and, later, of Ptolemy (90-168 CE).²

¹ Aristarchus was influenced by the ideas of Philolaus (circa 470–385 BCE), who spoke of a “central fire.” Not as precise as Aristarchus’ model, Philolaus’ ideas have given him the honor of being the first in recorded history to propose a non-geocentric (Earth-centered) view of the universe. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philolaus

² His only other ancient follower was Seleucus of Seleucia (born circa 190 BC), who demonstrated Aristarchus’ heliocentric model through reasoning.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seleucus_of_Seleucia

Nicolaus Copernicus - Heliocentric Solar System

Nicolaus Copernicus – Heliocentric Solar System (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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Eratosthenes

Eratosthenes' measurement of the Earth's circu...

Eratosthenes’ measurement of the Earth’s circumference Ελληνικά: Η μέτρηση της περιφέρειας της γης από τον Ερατοσθένη (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Eratosthenes (276-194 BCE) was an Ancient Greek who apparently was the first to calculate the circumference of the Earth with remarkable accuracy using math that involved measuring the angles of shadows.

He also invented the idea of longitude and latitude, the leap day, and may have calculated the distance from the earth to the sun.


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Earth

View of the crescent moon through the top of t...

View of the crescent moon through the top of the earth's atmosphere. Photographed above 21.5°N, 113.3°E. by International Space Station crew Expedition 13 over the South China Sea, just south of Macau (NASA image ID: ISS013-E-54329) - Wikipedia

Earth is the third planet from our sun with orbit between Venus and Mars. The Earth’s diameter is 12,756 km with a distance from the sun of about 150 million km and a circumference of 40,075 km. It’s inner core, the geosphere, is composed of solid, pressurized iron-nickel. This is surrounded by a hot liquid outer core composed of various substances.

The next layer, the mantle, is composed of solid rock which rises, falls and shifts over time due to pressure changes caused by temperature fluctuations. From this, the positioning of the continents is in a constant state of flux. Their slow but inexorable movement is called continental drift.

The next layer, the lithosphere, is composed of different rock forms and lies about 8 to 40 km underneath the visible continents.

The Earth’s atmosphere is mostly composed of oxygen and nitrogen. Theories about the formation and age of the Earth vary, but it’s generally believed that due to gravity a cloud of gas condensed about 4,550 million years ago, forming a ball which eventually took shape as the Earth.

Today the Earth is not a perfect circle. It is flattened at the poles and bulges a little at the equator. The Earth rotates on an axis about 23° off the vertical, this being determined by its orbital path around the sun.

Related Posts » Gaia, Moon


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Gaia Hypothesis

English: A rendition of life on planet earth

A rendition of life on planet earth via Wikipedia

The Gaia hypothesis was proposed by the British scientist, author and environmentalist James Lovelock (1919-). It suggests that the Earth, itself, is a self-regulating entity geared toward sustaining life.

In his own words, Gaia is

a complex entity involving the Earth’s biosphere, atmosphere, oceans, and soil; the totality constituting a feedback or cybernetic system which seeks an optimal physical and chemical environment for life on this planet.¹

This view is alternately accepted and rejected by various scientists. And it’s often mistaken for Lewis Thomas‘ speculation that the Earth, if viewed from space, looks like a single cell.

The Gaia hypothesis is also used out of context by some New Age enthusiasts who uphold it as support for the pantheistic idea that God and the natural, observable world are identical.

¹ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_hypothesis

Related Posts » Great Mother


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Gaia

Deutsch: Anselm Feuerbach: Gaea (1875). Decken...

Anselm Feuerbach: Gaea (1875). Ceiling painting, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna via Wikipedia

Gaia (also Ge) is the Greek Goddess of the Earth who arose from Chaos. She was worshipped at Delphi, where her temple was guarded by a Python. The temple was rededicated to Apollo after he destroyed Gaia’s serpent.

Gaia gave birth to the Furies, assisted by heavenly intervention. She was also the mother of Uranus, with whom she gave birth to the Titans and the Cyclopses. She also gave birth to the Giants and other monsters. Her Roman equivalent is Tellus.

Some anthropologists believe that Gaia was worshipped in Neolithic times as a Great Mother, although this academic position has been disputed by most contemporary scholars. Gaia’s Roman counterpart is Tellus.

In the 1970s, the British scientist, author and environmentalist James Lovelock proposed the Gaia hypothesis, where the planet Earth, itself, is seen as a self-regulating entity geared toward sustaining life.

In his own words, Gaia is

a complex entity involving the Earth’s biosphere, atmosphere, oceans, and soil; the totality constituting a feedback or cybernetic system which seeks an optimal physical and chemical environment for life on this planet.¹

Today, Neopagans revere Gaia as The Goddess.

¹ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_hypothesis


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Lovelock, James

Painting by artist Christine Lovelock (daughte...

Painting by artist Christine Lovelock (daughter of the Gaia Theorist James Lovelock) "View of Craigenputtock in 2006" via Wikipedia

James Lovelock (1919-) is a British scientist, author and environmentalist best known for his proposal of the Gaia hypothesis, where the Earth, itself, is seen as a self-regulating entity geared toward sustaining life.

In his own words, Gaia is

a complex entity involving the Earth’s biosphere, atmosphere, oceans, and soil; the totality constituting a feedback or cybernetic system which seeks an optimal physical and chemical environment for life on this planet.¹

This view is alternately accepted and rejected by different scientists. And it’s often mistaken for Lewis Thomas‘ speculation that the Earth, if viewed from space, looks like a single cell.

¹ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_hypothesis

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Moon

Lunar libration. see below for more descriptions

Lunar libration via Wikipedia

The Moon is the Earth‘s natural satellite with a diameter of 3,476 km, orbiting our planet from a distance of approximately 384,400 km.

American astronauts first walked on the Moon on July 21, 1969. Although this was a uniquely American achievement, most everyone in the word rejoiced and those with TV access watched in wonder as the event signified “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

For many years it was thought that the moon had next to no water on its surface. But recent discoveries of ice have revolutionized this view, as well as the moon’s prospects for future habitation.

In mythology, lunar deities are both male and female and take on a wide variety of meanings and functions.¹

¹See, for instance, this list at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_deity

Search Think Free » 2001: A Space Odyssey, Apollo, Artemis, Cancer, Diana, Luna, Rona, Sin, Swedenborg (Emanuel)

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Thomas, Lewis

Earth, courtesy Apollo 17

Earth, courtesy Apollo 17

Thomas, Lewis (1913-93)

American biologist, physician and author of several books.

In The Lives of a Cell (1974) Thomas says that the Earth behaves like a huge single-celled organism.

Often misquoted, Thomas makes it clear that he doesn’t say the Earth is a living amoeba. He simply says that if viewed from space, the Earth would seem to behave like one.

I have been trying to think of the earth as a kind of organism, but it is no go. I cannot think of it this way. It is too big, too complex, with too many working parts lacking visible connections. The other night, driving through a hilly, wooded part of southern New England, I wondered about this. If not like an organism, what is it like, what is it most like? Then, satisfactorily for that moment, it came to me: it is most like a single cell (Cited at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lives_of_a_Cell).

Nevertheless, his idea has been misappropriated to fit with New Age pantheistic beliefs and various end-time prophecies, many focusing on the year 2012. » Gaia Hypothesis, Lovelock (James)

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Vishnu

Vishnu backlit

Originally uploaded by JotoLo02

Vishnu

In Hinduism Vishnu is the second deity of the Hindu Trimurti (i.e. triad) of Brahma, Visnu, and Siva.

He rides the great eagle Garuda with his consort, the goddess of prosperity and good fortune, Lakshmi, at his side.

Hindus believe that the universe passes through endless cycles of creation and destruction.

While Brahma is seen as the creator of the universe, Vishnu is the benevolent preserver and Siva is at times regarded as the cosmic destroyer.

Vishnu is said to have had nine incarnations (avatars) on Earth, including Krishna. The tenth avatar, Kalki, is yet to come and will ride on a white horse.

It is believed that Kalki will reestablish dharma in our present age of alleged moral decline, the Kali-yuga.

On the World Wide Web

» AUM , Avatar, Underworld, Visistadvaita, Yuga

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