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What shape best describes

earth?
 Describe the evidence that supports
your answer.
 Oceans are flat
 Airplanes all fly level on earth
 Ancient Egyptians: The sky was a
tent canopy stretched between
mountains at the four corners of the
Earth.
 Inca: Called their land
Tehuantinsuyu: "The Four Corners of
the Earth"
HOW DID THEY PROVE THAT
THE EARTH IS ROUND?
Ships appear to sink gradually
below horizon
Polaris

Polaris
North Star
 This is the star that
lies in space
practically over the
geographic North
Pole of the earth.

 If you stood at the


North Pole, Polaris
would be almost
directly overhead.
Polaris – North Star
 Ifyou can spot Polaris in the sky, you
can always tell which way is north.
Because of this, Polaris was the most
important star for navigating at sea.
Why do observations of Polaris
help determine the Earth’s
shape?????
 The North Star appears lower and
lower in the sky as you travel toward
the equator because of earth’s
spherical shape, where the North
Star is just visible at the horizon. The
latitude of the equator is 0°.
Polaris Changes in Altitude –
Polaris is a fixed point above
the North Pole.

90º
Polaris – Fixed Point above the
North Pole

 Because of this, in the Northern Hemisphere,


the altitude (angle measured in degrees
above the horizon) of Polaris tells observer
his latitude position.
 If observer’s latitude changes in the Northern
Hemisphere, the altitude of Polaris will
exactly match observer’s latitude.

ALT OF POLARIS = LAT OF OBSERVER


Locating Polaris – our latitude
is 41°N , Polaris’ altitude will
be 41°
Lunar Eclipse
 Onlya sphere can cast a shadow that
appears round. During a lunar
eclipse, the earth casts its shadow on
the moon during the full moon phase.
Summary: How did they
prove the Earth to be
round?
 Ships appear to sink GRADUALLY below the
horizon as they travel away from observer

 Polaris (North Star) changes altitude (angle


measured in degrees above earth’s surface)
directly with your latitude

ALT OF POLARIS = LAT OF


OBSERVER
 Lunar Eclipses - Earth’s shadow on the moon

 Satellite Imagery – absolute proof


Is the Earth Perfectly
round?
 The Earth is NOT a perfect sphere
 It is flattened at the poles and bulges
at the equator
 Earth is slightly out of round or
OBLATE.
What proof is there that we are
slightly oblate?
 Gravity measurements. Gravity is the
force of attraction between any 2 objects.
Increase mass of objects =
increase gravity Decrease
distances = increase gravity

 If Earth were a perfect sphere, it would be


expected to exert an equal force on
objects at equal distances from the center
of earth.
Weight!!! – measure of
gravitational force
 We are further from the center of the
Earth at the equator – gravity is less
 This means we weigh LESS!!!
 We are closer at the poles…
 We weigh MORE!!!!
•At the Poles we are closer to the
center = stronger gravity = more
weight

Center of
Earth=
center of
gravity
The Oblate Sphere
 The difference is small
 We can not see it with the naked eye
 It still appears like a sphere
 Be careful on multiple choice
Why is the earth not perfectly
round?
 Earth’s rotation causes…

Bulging at equator
Flattening at the poles
How big is Earth?
 Having established the shape, what is the
size?

Question:

 How do you measure something really


big?

 Two centuries before the birth of Christ …


(-200) Eratosthenes devised a way to
determine the size of earth.
NOT CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS!!!!!
Eratosthenes
 Based his calculation on observations
of the sun on June 21, the Summer
Solstice in Alexandria and Syene – 2
cities in Egypt.

 Onthis date, the sun was straight


overhead at noon in Syene, but not
quite overhead at Alexandria
Syene
Alexandria
Obelisk in Alexandria, Egypt
 Theobelisk is called
“Cleopatra’s Needle”
and it was moved to
Central Park in 1881.
Erathosthenes
 Made assumptions that…
a. The earth is round
b. The sun’s rays are parallel

Using simple geometry he set up an


equation that determined the
circumference of the earth.
Erathosthenes’ Result
 240,000 stadia (about 39,250 km) is
quite close to modern
measurements.

 Calculatethe percent deviation


(Equations are located on what page
of ESRT?) if the actual circumference
is 40,070 kms.
 Eratosthenes' work was lost, except for a
description of his method in an obscure
source

 140 AD: Ptolemy got an answer smaller by


28% using a sound method with
questionable data.

 Both results known by King Ferdinand’s


experts. Columbus argued for the smaller
value for the distance from Spain to India
but he was turned down because they
thought the distance too far.

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