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MacLaurin shows that, as the angular momentum increases, the Earth will get ever more flat. The shape is an ellipsoid with two equal axes, rotating around the short axis. The ellipsoid becomes a disc with an ever increasing radius. The rotation speed first increases, but the speed reaches a maximum and will then decrease. As the radius of the disc continues to grow and tends toward infinity, the rotation speed will tend toward zero: L can be expressed as L=ω.I, where I is the moment of inertia. For a constant mass, the moment of inertia of any object will get larger and larger as the object takes on a shape where a radial dimension becomes larger and larger. Therefore the rotation speed ω must go to zero for a finite L and an ever increasing radius.
The theoretical shape of the Earth has been studied by mathematicians over the past 4 centuries (although the interest has waned the last 40 years or so). The list of people who have contributed to this topic sounds like an all-time hall of fame of mathematicians: Newton (1689), Huygens (1690), Cassini (1701), Maupertuis (1732), Clairaut (1733), Euler (1740), MacLaurin (1742), D'Alembert (1756), Lagrange (1759), Laplace (1772), Legendre (1784), Monge (1787), Poisson (1811), Gauss (1813), Cauchy (1815), Jacobi (1834), Dirichlet (1857), Dedekind (1860), Riemann (1860), Poincaré (1885), Darwin (1906, the son of Charles Darwin), Jeans (1917), Cartan (1924), Chandrasekhar (1960), and others.
It was Isaac Newton who first claimed that the Earth is not spherical, but "oval". Newton imagined two wells going down to the center of the Earth: one drilled from the North Pole, and one drilled from the equator, both filled with water. The water in the equatorial well is subject to the centrifugal force, and the water in the Polar well is not. For the two columns of water to be in equilibrium, it follows that the equatorial well must be longer..
The Pear Shape of the earth
The first satellites measured the shape of the earth's sea level.
They discovered a small pear shape.
This is the third harmonic term. P3(q) = (5sin3q - 3 sin q)/2
r = J0 (1 + J1/J0 P1(q) + J2/J0 P2(q) + J3/J0 P3(q))
J3 is 1000 times smaller than the equatorial bulge, with a height of about 10 m. The pear shape pokes up at the north pole and dimples in the south.
Originally posted by BlasteR
I think the hardest part for people is that the complete concept contradicts everything we were ever taught. Not everybody really knows about physics, astronomy, or science in general and they just take the scientists' word for it. That's the real problem is people just assume that truth is engraned in what they have been taught and never questioned.
Science is never exact because sometimes new discoveries are made which challenge the status quo. As our scientific understanding of the universe progresses some theories or concepts which, in the past, were considered factual are eventually proven false. This means that science is simply what we think we know at any given time.
That being said, Some really good points have been brought up in the thread which counter flat-earth theory. Some people just attack it (without understanding astophysics/astronomy/or physics in general) just because it contradicts the status quo. But others have really remained objective in bringing up points which are extremely valid and applicable..
you gotta be kidding me?
Originally posted by logician magician
Originally posted by Toy_soldier
reply to post by _Del_
What would be on the other side?
Is the moon and the sun and all the other planets in our solar sytem flat too?
I thought that all the heavenly bodies and other natural things like atoms, etc. were spheres because that is the easiest shape for matter to form into.
The sun and the moon is are just different sides of the same light disc, and we can see the moon during the day (the back of the sun) precisely because the world is a disc. If it was not a disc, it would not be possible.
Atomic particles aren't actualyl spheres. There are some point particles that take up no space at all, like a photon, and the rest are wave functions of energy that only collapse when measured.
Originally posted by Legendary Smoker
you gotta be kidding me?
sometimes early in the morning if it isn't too bright outside, you can see the sun and moon. so they must seperate in half too huh?
what about all the pictures of all planets, including earth? all fake? maybe we're all just on one big continent like pangea, and the pictures you used to make flat earth aren't even earth?
Originally posted by thedigirati
Light travels at 186 million miles per second, the amount of gravity needed to bend light enough to create this illusion would be so great, we ( life ) would not exist. ( even taking into account the 23% of refraction of atmosphere ) Light would have to be able to bend 180 degrees; In other words, back upon it's self. ( lightsabre technology ) Otherwise there is no other way to take a 2 dimensional world and make it look 3 dimensional.
Another point of contention, perspective, how convenient that ALL the moons and stars are oriented with the "flat" side to the earth. not one out of alignment in the (Carl Sagon) "Billions and billions of galaxies" . ( some of these have no atmosphere )
Also measurements have been made with lasers from both the north,south and equatorial regions of earth bounced off the moon, different latitudes have different measurements consistent with a sphere.
Straight lines don't work on spheres
eI think the hardest part for people is that the complete concept contradicts everything we were ever taught.