History of Astronomy From the Roman Empire to the Present, Part 8
The “Theory of Perpendicularity” tells us that all stars are perpendicular to the centre of the earth, no matter what direction they may appear to be in as we see them from different points on the surface; and proves it by “Geocentric Parallax.” . . If that is so, then every two observations to a star must be parallel to each other, the two angles at the base must inevitably equal 180 degrees, and consequently there can be no angle whatever at the star! But the word perpendicular is a relative term. It has no meaning unless it is referred to a line at right angles. Moreover, no thing can be said to be perpendicular to a point; and the centre of the earth is a point as defined by Euclid, without length, breadth or thickness; yet this theory supposes a myriad stars all to be perpendicular to the same point. The thing is false.
The fact is that the stars diverge in all directions from the centre of the earth, and from every point of observation on the surface. (See diagram 13.) It would be as reasonable to say that all the spokes of a wheel are perpendicular to the hub.
So much for the theories; but Bessel believed in them, because they are among the tenets of astronomical faith; and he discovered that “61 Cygni” appeared to move by an 11,613th part of a degree, as compared with another star adjacent to it. So he deduced the parallax 0.31” as the angle of “61 Cygni,” the other star (the star of reference) being presumed to be so much further away as to have no angle whatever.
It appears that—in spite of the fact that the theory of Perpendicularity makes it impossible to obtain any angle to a star— Bessel is supposed to have found an angle by means of parallax; for although the two lines of sight are as nearly parallel as possible, the parallax 0.31′ indicates that they are really believed to converge by that hair’s-breadth.
Unfortunately for this idea, however, the theory of Perpendicularity is supported by another theory— that of Geocentric Parallax, which makes every line of sight taken at the surface of the earth absolutely parallel to a line from the centre of the earth to the star, wherefore astronomy has the choice of two alternatives, viz.: if these two theories are right, neither Bessel nor anyone else could ever get an angle at the star; while, on the other hand, if he did obtain an angle,— then the two theories are wrong. Still we have not done with this matter, for the triangulation was made still further impossible by the use of Sidereal Time.
Hipparchus had observed that whereas the sun crossed the meridian every 24 hours, the stars came round in turn and crossed in a little less, so that, for example, Orion would cross the meridian every 23 hours 56 minutes 4.09 seconds. This is called a Stellar or Sidereal day. It is divided into 24 equal parts, or hours, each a few seconds less than the ordinary hour of 60 minutes which is taken by the sun, and it is this Sidereal Time which is used by all modern astronomers, their clocks being regulated to go faster than the ordinary clock, so as to keep pace with the stars as they pass. As Sidereal time is designed to bring every star back exactly on the meridian every 24 hours by the sidereal clock, it follows of necessity that the stars re-appear on the meridian with perfect regularity; (if they do not the clock is altered slightly to make them do so.) The agreement between the star and the sidereal clock becomes a truism, and a law invincible. It is certain, therefore, that if “61 Cygni” did not appear to be exactly in its appointed place by the astronomer’s time, the clock was wrong.
We have now two theories and the sidereal clock to prove that every line of sight to “61 Cygni” is parallel to every other; that they cannot possibly converge, and consequently that no triangulation was obtained. Let us illustrate it in a diagram: 14.
An observer at A sees the star 61 Cygni, and also R, the star of reference; both on his meridian. The earth is supposed to be moving round the sun in the direction of the arrow, until in 182 or 183 sidereal days the observer is at B, and then sees both the stars on his meridian exactly as he saw them before. The two meridians and lines of sight are parallel, so that if continued for ever they can never meet at a point, and the two angles at the base equal 180 degrees, yet the stars are on both lines.
It is obvious, therefore, that the stars have moved to the left (east), precisely as much as the earth has moved to the left in its orbit. If the earth has moved, so have the stars; that is clear. We have proved that Bessel did not get a triangulation to ” 61 Cygni,” because it is impossible to do so by the semi-annual method; and that the apparent displacement, or parallax 0.31″ was due to error. No such displacement could be discovered unless the clock was wrong, or unless Cygni itself had moved in reality, more or less than the star of reference; wherefore, as every astronomer since 1838 has used the same method, it follows that no triangulation to a star has ever been successfully made ; and that every stellar distance given in the modern text-books on astronomy is hopelessly wrong.
Though my case is now really won, and students of astronomy will see the justice of my conclusions, this chapter may not be quite complete without the following comments with reference to diagram 14:— Reasoning entirely from the standpoint of the Copernican Theories, we have seen that if the earth has moved from one side of the sun to the other (from A to B), so also have the stars; but astronomers know as well as I do that the stars do not move eastward, neither do they— in nature— even appear to do so; their movement (real or apparent) being beyond all doubt— to the westward. So it is established that the stars have not moved eastward from A to B, and this— added to the fact that they really would be in the same positions with respect to the meridian as shown in the diagram, proves that the earth has not moved eastward either. And as the earth has not moved from A to B, as Dr. Hailey and Bessel behaved, the base-line disappears, the orbit no longer exists; and with the orbit falls the whole solar system of Nicholas Copernicus.
N.B.— If the earth remained at A rotating on its
axis once in every sidereal day, the stars
would appear always as shown at A— on the
meridian at the end of every revolution ;
but then we could not account for the fact
that the sun is on that meridian at the end
of every solar day— which is nearly fom‘
minutes longer than the stellar day. On the
other hand, if we assume the earth to be
rotating on its axis once in every 24 solar
hours, we could not then account for the
stars being on the meridian every 23 hours
56 minutes 4.09 seconds, as we have proven
them to be ; and so we arrive at the only
possible explanation, which is— that the earth
remains always at A and does not rotate at
a l l ; but the sun passes completely round it
once in 24 hours, while the stars pass round
it (from east to west) once in every sidereal
day ; thus they re-appear on the meridian
at every revolution, including the 183rd;
and so we find that the star “ Number 61 in
the Swan ” (Cygni) was observed twice from
the surface of an earth which has never
moved since the creation. Thus we know
that the stars are not fixed, as Copernicus
believed; and the edifice of modern
astronomy— which Sir Robert Ball described
as “ the most perfect of the sciences ” might
be more truly described as the most amazing
of all blunders.