Welcome to the NavList Message Boards.


A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding

Compose Your Message

Add Images & Files
    Re: Sun goes round Earth, or something like that...
    From: Brad Morris
    Date: 2014 Feb 16, 17:17 -0500


    Aw heck, isn't the pair (sun / earth) rotating around their common barycenter, similar to the earth / moon barycenter?

    Granted, the sun is orders of magnitude greater in mass than the earth.  Perhaps then the earth / sun barycenter is nearly coincident with the center of mass of the sun.  But still not precisely!


    On Feb 16, 2014 5:12 PM, "Frank Reed" <FrankReed@historicalatlas.com> wrote:

    There have been a couple of messages talking about a recent survey suggesting that 25% of Americans do not know that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Shocking! Or maybe not. Undoubtedly, a lot of this has to do with testing dynamics. Some people just get anxious when they're asked anything remotely academic. Some think it's fun to game the results (in other words, they intentionally answer wrong). Some are dyslexic. And yes, for many, it's just one of those things that they are aware of, and could probably get right if asked with a little gentle coaching, but they might well answer wrong on the first pass. There's a whole lot going on here beyond a simple measure of intelligence or knowledge.

    The link that Gary posted earlier from the Telegraph, a UK newspaper, reminded me of a famous fictional British character who freely admitted that he did not know that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Indeed, it came up again in a very enjoyable recent BBC adaptation of the character starring Benedict Cumberbatch. This literary character was not exactly created as a dullard or even an 'idiot savant'. Can you name him?? His excuse was that the information is utterly useless to him. And he's right. Grade school astronomy has almost no practical value whatsoever, except (perhaps!) to celestial navigators and a few other narrow sects. This particular litmus test does not measure scientific knowledge or reason as much as scientific "literacy" or exposure. It's something that everyone has certainly learned at some point in their lives. But such information fades to childhood trivia if nothing reinforces it over a person's lifetime. For many people the names of the eight (or nine) planets have no more value than the names of the eight (or nine) reindeer pulling Santa's sleigh. Both are cultural trivia from childhood...

    Finally, a little physics: we all understand that motion is relative, right? If I run past you at 10 mph, then it's the same as if you run past me at 10 mph (in a specific, profound sense) despite the fact that common sense readily tells us who's running and who's not. We learn to set aside common sense and accept this principle of relativity of motion. Ok, then... what about the Earth's motion at 30 km/sec around the Sun? Can't we say that it's just the same as the Sun revolving around the Earth since all motion is relative?? The answer is 'no' because the premise is wrong. It's not true that ALL motion is relative. Nonetheless, it certainly complicates matters!


    NavList message boards and member settings: www.fer3.com/NavList
    Members may optionally receive posts by email.
    To cancel email delivery, send a message to NoMail[at]fer3.com

    View and reply to this message: http://fer3.com/arc/m2.aspx?i=126931

    Browse Files

    Drop Files


    What is NavList?

    Join NavList

    (please, no nicknames or handles)
    Do you want to receive all group messages by email?
    Yes No

    You can also join by posting. Your first on-topic post automatically makes you a member.

    Posting Code

    Enter the email address associated with your NavList messages. Your posting code will be emailed to you immediately.

    Email Settings

    Posting Code:

    Custom Index

    Start date: (yyyymm dd)
    End date: (yyyymm dd)

    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site