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Sunday, November 14, 2010


Geo-xcentricities part 2; the view from Mars.

Einstein rings, a spectacular prediction of relativity, taken from Hubble (Image credit Hubble/NASA)

You may remember a little while back I wrote about a conference of modern Geocentrism (Galileo was Wrong). Geocentrism is the belief that Earth is the centre of the Solar system, nay the entire Universe and everything revolves around it.

Todd Wood attended the conference, and you can read the about his growing sense of incredulity in his posts (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5).

It turns out that these folks are relativity deniers.

Image of the crescent Earth and Moon on October 3, 2007, taken by the HiRISE instrument of the NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Which is pretty strange, the usual tack is to argue for Geocentrism based of relativistic frame equivalence. Arguing against relativity is pretty hard, as it is one of the best confirmed theories of physics we have. From gravitational lensing (see images above) to frame dragging, relativity has passed increasingly stringent tests with flying colours.

These geocentricists apparently need relativity disconfirmed so the the Michelson-Morely experiment proves the Earth at rest.

Now there is a lot of problems with this (not the least because they need a non-moving ether to explain the M-M experiment, then a moving ether to explain Foucault's Pendulum) and other geocentrist positions. Some of the problems can be demonstrated with intensive mathematics, some with not so much maths (like the claim that GPS doesn't use relativistic corrections, which is untrue.)

Earth as seen from Mars taken by the Spirit rovers' panoramic camera in 2004.

However, in the spirit of my first post on this conference, where I tried to get people to do observations themselves that disproved first the Ptolemaic then the Tychonian systems, I want to get people to do something much simpler, related to observational astronomy.

Also in the spirit of Einstein, who tried to imagine what the word would look like if you were travelling on a photon, I want you to imagine your are standing on Mars.

The evening sky on Mars on April 29, 2005 as simulated by Stellarium (the location isn't at the same latitude and longitude as opportunity, so the view is slightly different from the rover).

What would you see from the surface of Mars that would be different in a Tychonian system (the system favoured by our modern geocentricists) versus a heliocentric system system?

As the Tychonican system is an inverted Copernican system, things like the phases of the Earth would be identical (see this JAVAscript model, advance the time to October 3, 2007 to match the image of crescent Earth and Moon above, and flip between the Tychonian and Heliocentric models to see what I mean).

Earth imaged by the panoramic camera of Opportunity an hour after Sunset on April 29, 2005 (Image Credit NASA/JPL).

There is a big difference that would be immediately apparent. Whether in the Tychonian or Heliocentric systems, from the point of view from Mars, Earth would appear to be a morning or evening star that appeared to revolve around the Sun.

However, the geocentricists are using a geostationary model, where the 24 hour day is produced by the Sun rotating about the Earth. So in a period of 24 hours, an observer on Mars (armed with an occultation disk) would see Earth rise from the sun, then fall back, then reappear on the other side of the sun and repeat the process again.

During the period that the Mars rovers took images of the Earth, at maximum elongation Earth was 42-47 degrees from the Sun as seen from Mars. For the Earth to move from maximum elongation to inferior or superior conjunction (at least, as it would appear from Mars, because in the Tychonian system Earth can't have conjunctions) takes 6 hours (in a 24 hour day there will be four 6 hour segments as the Earth goes out, comes back, goes out and comes back again from the solar disk).

So the Earth will appear to move 42 degrees (taking the lowest figure) in 6 hours, or 7 degrees per hour against the background stars (approximately, it's slightly more complicated than this, but rough figures are all we need). That's 14 Lunar diameters per hour! Earth is fairly hooting along compared to the background stars. In one minute Earth would move 1/4 of a Lunar diameter which is quite noticeable.

Now look at the image above. It is a composite of 3 x 15 second images taken with the panoramic camera, you can see the image of Earth is slightly elongated. However, remember that Mars rotates, and any 15 second exposure will cause slight star trailing due to its rotation. The trail we see of Earth is nothing like what we would expect if it was moving to a 24 hour rhythm, as it hares along the sky (roughly 1/5th of a Lunar diameter). Still, for confirmation we have to check Earth's movement against that of the background stars.

Fortunately, in the original image there is a background star just above Earth (it's best seen in the TIF file). It has the same degree of elongation that the Earth does. This falsifies the Tychonian system, thus the solar system is heliocentric.

So "Eppur si muove" because it um, doesn't move (with respect to the background stars as seen from Mars).

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The modified Tychonian (MT) system, as presented in Galileo Was Wrong and no doubt, presented in the GWW conference, is very different to the Tychonian system. The MT has the earth stationary and the sun orbit the earth once per solar day. The other planets orbit the sun as the centre of their motions with the same velocity relative to the sun and position relative to the sun, as they have in the helio model. In this way, the MT model doesn’t have any epicycles at all. Therefore all your objections concerning the earth as viewed from Mars are simply based upon a false understanding of what was presented in the book GWW and at the conference. If you doubt what I am saying, you are encouraged to purchase the electronic version of GWW and with this the model is presented, showing how the sun and planets move around the earth both daily and yearly. Once the modified Tychonian model is seen in action, the objections you have presented in this article vanish.

I'm willing to engage you on the matters of relativity or geocentrism if you so wish.

Just thought I'd let you know that one of the more active extremist Roman Catholic geocentrists, Rick DeLano, has attempted to debunk your debunking of Tychonian heliocentrism.


See his comments timestamped:

Wed Dec 29, 02:23:00 PM EST

Wed Dec 29, 02:27:00 PM EST

In short, he claims that you have not taken into account that in Tychonian geocentrism, Mars is orbiting the sun while the sun is orbiting the earth.

Now, I know that this DeLano guy has no understanding of physics and is only posing as a scientist (unfortunately HE doesn't seem to know it), but I also know that I am not a scientist and I do not pretend to an expertise I do not have. With my handicap, however, it doesn't appear to me that you failed to account for Mars orbit around the sun in Tychonianism. How do you reply to the pseudoscientist DeLano?

The silence on Ian's part here is very easy to explain.

Ian has, simply enough, completely misrepresented the geocentric system he linked to on his own post.

See here for conclusive, step-by-step proof, with visual aids:

Looking over the "Galileo Was Wrong" attempted debunking of Musgrave's debunking of Tychonian geocentrism, it appears to me that Musgrave has not misrepresented the geocentric system he had linked to. Rather, DeLano and Sungenis have misrepresented Musgrave's debunking.

As for his "silence" here, if it's really true that he knows he made a mistake, we must ask ourselves why he approved the comments of his geocentric kook critics without retracting this blog post or at least updating it with a correction and mea culpa? If he really had made the obvious mistakes DeLano and Sungenis claim he did, but didn't have the integrity to admit it, why approve the comments from the geocentrists John M. Anonymous and Rick DeLano? Perhaps he is of the opinion that their comments are manifest nonsense and not worth the bother to rebut? (Though to someone like myself, it isn't obvious that their comments are mistaken. It would be better to have him explain in his own words for non-specialists such as myself, John M. Anonymous and Rick DeLano.)
Jordanes hasn't proposed any real evidence for any of his statements. It seems to me that he thinks it's ok to make a case against geocentrists, without presenting any hard evidence at all.

If he has some hard evidence, we will then proceed to evaluate that evidence. However, until the hard evidence is presented, we have no real objections to answer.

Currently geocentrists such as Robert Sungenis have answered Mr Musgrave's objections and Mr Musgrave has currently not answered the counters to his objections on geocentrism. If and when he decides to do so, we will then evaluate the arguments presented in due process.

This comment has been removed by the author.
Geocentrism (especially Tychonian geocentrism) = the tail wagging the dog
Please, be a bit more polite.

Geocentrists, such as myself are curious to know if you intend to respond to Roberts response to your article.

You are more than welcome to address any problems you see with the modified tychonian version of the geocentric model.

You are also welcome to come on board with geocentrism as well if you see fit.

Mr. Musgrave, you can delete my "geocentrist nutburger" comment. (I've had previous run-ins with John Martin Anonymous, however, so even if impolite, "nutburger" is accurate, I believe.)

I am scratching my head about the claims that DeLano and Sungenis have made against your post. They say you've failed to account for the fact that in Tychonian geocentrism, Mars rotates on its axis while it orbits the sun, which in turn orbits the earth. But, inexpert as I am in this matters, it sure looks to me like you've taken those things into account (really, you could hardly have been addressing Tychonian geocentrism if you hadn't taken them into account). John Martin Anonymous also engages in handwaving about "modified" Tychonian geocentrism, but doesn't explain how the Sungenis brand of Tychonianism differs from the kind of Tychonianism you address.
I'll let the comment stand. I understand the frustration of dealing with people who consistently misrepresent arguments. See the comment thread on the copy of this article over at the Panda's Thumb where all these issues are hashed out in detail.

I mean, to them every explanation is magical aether or magical properties of high altitude winds.

And why can't these folks use paragraphs?

Anyway, after dealing with these arguments over at the Panda's Thumb, I have no desire to repeat the exercise of dealing with exactly the same misrepresentations written in excruciating stream of conciousness style. And if anyone has been reading the blog, I've been kind of busy, so I drop in on the thread very, very rarely.

But feel free to keep commenting.
Bah! Why didn't the Panda's Thumb link work? Here it is again.
Thanks very much for the link to the Panda's Thumb thread, Ian. You have to wade through a few pages of irrelevant or tangential (if expected) back-and-forth and snark about Young Earth Creationism and whatnot, but I see that the good stuff starts with your reply (timestamped December 1, 2010 7:06 AM) to AMDG's clueless comment on Page 5.

I've previously observed that all the scientific (or pseudoscientific, rather) arguments of geocentrists are really not the core or the foundation of their beliefs. They aren't geocentrists because of scientific evidence or arguments, but because of their religious beliefs. If they didn't think the Bible (and, in the case of Catholic geocentrists, the Church's Magisterium) taught geocentrism, they wouldn't bother with the natural sciences aspect and try to come up with explanations that can fit what we observe with their interpretation of the Bible and what they think Catholic teaching is or was. Not being a credentialed scientist, I focus on explaining to Catholic geocentrists that, no, the Catholic Church does not propose geocentrism as an article of faith (though she came dangerously close to doing that) nor maintain that we must still abide by the erroneous judgment against Galileo. But geocentrism isn't merely "religiously optional," but simply wrong, counterfactual, contrary to what we now know -- and I'm grateful for the many specialists and experts who can explain that, and are willing to undertake the tedious and often frustrating task of refuting geocentrist pseudoscience.

Earth revolves around the moon- sun revolves around the earth- everything else, revolves around the sun!

GEEEEEZE do you guys even WATCH Digimon?!
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