History of Astronomy From The Roman Empire To The Present, part 12
IT is for me, now, to show how the distance to the sun’ is really to be ascertained, and this may indicate the way to a new astronomy, and a saner conception of the universe.
The Copernican astronomy has been so hedged about with specious theories that it would seem to be impossible to obtain any kind of triangulation to the heavenly bodies that cannot be negatived by Perpendicularity, Geocentric Parallax or similar theories, nevertheless it can be done and that by two simultaneous observations taken from a base-line which is on solid earth; thus: Let two observers be placed on the same meridian; A in the northern hemisphere at about Mansfield, Nova Scotia, for example, 60 N, 74 W., and B in the southern hemisphere at Tierra del Fuego, Cape Horn, 55 S. 74 W., as shown in diagram 23.
As the two observers are on the same meridian they use the same north and south, while all lines which cross that meridian at right angles indicate east and west, and are parallel to each other; so that A’s east is parallel to B’s, and to the equator, as in diagram 24.
The chord that is a straight line connecting the two points of observation A, B, will give them a base-line 6,900 miles in length, which runs in a direction due north and south as in diagram 25. The two observers will find their easts by the compass, when it will be seen that they form two right angles to the base-line. The two easts, with the base-line, make a sort of frame, or three sides of a square; and it is within this frame between the two dotted lines running east, that the triangulation will be made to the sun.
Now let our observers take their places at about 8 o’clock local time (1 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time) on a morning within a week or so of Christmas. The sun will at that time be in the zenith, and almost exactly overhead, at the island of St. Helena, off the coast of South Africa.
The observer at A in Nova Scotia will see the sun, blood red, just rising above the horizon to his east-south-east, while the observer at Tierra del Fuego will see the sun at the same time, about eight degrees to the northward of his east (east by north); and so the two lines of sight from A and B converge so as to meet at the sun, which is between the two easts, a little to the southward of A and to the northward of B.
A true triangulation is thus obtained, and the two angles may be referred either to the parallel easts, or to the base-line which connects them. No ” allowances” of any kind whatever are to be made, and none of the fantastic theories of astronomy are in any way concerned. It is a plain, ordinary, common-sense triangulation, such as any surveyor would make if we were buying a piece of land ; and that is good enough for us. The angles at the base-line will equal about 148 degrees, while the angle at the sun, or apex of the triangle, will be 32 degrees (approximate). When these are multiplied into the base-line by ordinary trigonometry, the sun will prove to be about 13,000 miles in a bee-line from A and 10,000 miles from B.
The stars and the planets are to be measured in a in similar manner, when it will be found that no star is at any time further than twenty thousand miles away.
As it is my intention to deal more fully with such measurements in another book sequel to this devoted to the reconstruction, or rather, to the creation of a new Astronomy I have been content here to say only sufficient to establish my case, and to show that Hipparchus was mistaken when he thought the heavenly bodies were infinitely distant. And that, truly, is my case, for at last I have shown that the “infinitely distant” hypothesis which has been the guiding star of astronomers for two thousand years, was indeed, an error.