Yes, we are – but it is not that serious! And it is not why I have been quiet on this blog recently. I have to admit I have become a bit distracted. I have become distracted by what I think will initially amuse you but may then intrigue you.
Where Is All This From
I do not have a particularly fixed view of what to write about on this blog. Between Daniel and myself, we have covered an awful lot of ground over the past few years. We have gone from watch-making to some of the more esoteric concepts of time and then into materials engineering. It was one of the more esoteric concepts of time that has given me pause recently.
In 2020, I wrote a blog post about time, how we measure time, and where it has developed. This threw up a few aspects of how the planets move, such as understanding how the Sun and Earth move relative to each other. It was Copernicus who, in 1543, released his theory that we are on a spinning globe orbiting the sun. In my blog post discussing this aspect of time, I even referred to this as “The Great Leap Forward.“
The Planets Directed Time
A little later, I looked at how time can be used to calculate our location on the earth. Or, to be more specific, our point of longitude. I thought it was all great until recently when a spanner was thrown into the works. I was asked a straightforward question and stopped in my tracks. What was that question?
How would you show that the earth is a sphere?
I found the question intriguing and immediately fell back to the work of Copernicus. I quoted some of the facts about how the sidereal day works and how the Gregorian calendar is linked to the movement of the earth around the sun and, well, for this to all work, we need to be a sphere spinning in space. I felt very good about myself until this gentleman mentioned the Prague Astronomical Clock or The Orloj clock.
The problem is that this clock was built in 1410, a long time before Copernicus, and from what I can see, it can also explain Sidereal days and solar days. Furthermore, this explanation does not need us to be on a ball flying through space. At this point, I had nothing more. I was stumped.
It Must Be Obvious, No?
I had to mull this over for a while, and I felt that there was something really obvious that I could point to that would confirm that we are on a sphere and that the world is round. I have been on that for a few weeks now and have nothing I can point at to make the case.
First, I looked at the shape of the earth. It turns out that it is not a sphere but an oblate spheroid. If we are to believe the work of Neil deGrasse Tyson, and I have no reason to doubt it, it is more like a pear-shaped object!
Next, I thought I would try my brother. He is usually pretty straightforward. I was recently out for a beer with him and a school buddy, and there was a tangent subject. I happened to pose the question to them. My school buddy just laughed at me and accused me of being a flat earther, but my brother did have an interesting response., which I thought was great proof. But now I am not so sure. That is what our argument is about, all in good jest. More on that in a later post.
What If I Am Wrong?
After three weeks of noodling on this, I am no closer to an answer. I do not have anything obvious that I can point at that would immediately indicate that the Earth is a sphere. So, I am throwing it to a broader audience: how would you answer this question? How would you demonstrate that we live on a sphere?
If one of you can point to evident and reproducible evidence that we are living on a sphere, I will subject you to my thinking over the last three weeks and see if you can find flaws. This could be very embarrassing for me – but learning was never a painless process.
This will take you through my discussion with my brother and where I think his argument falls. I welcome you all along on this ride. It could be rocky, but it will test our Maverik Mentality. At the very least, I will work out how the Prague Astrological clock works, and who knows, at the end of it, I may deserve to be called a flat earther!