Thursday 10 March 2016

129 “Indeed, to believe that ‘six thousand million million million tons’ is ‘rolling, surging, flying, darting on through space for ever’ with a velocity compared with which a shot from a cannon is a ‘very slow coach,’ with such unerring accuracy that a telescope fixed on granite pillars in an observatory will not enable a lynx-eyed astronomer to detect a variation in its onward motion of the thousandth part of a hair's-breadth is to conceive a miracle compared with which all the miracles on record put together would sink into utter insignificance. Since we can, (in middle north latitudes), see the North Star, on looking out of a window that faces it - and out of the very same corner of the very same pane of glass in the very same window - all the year round, it is proof enough for any man in his senses that we have made no motion at all and that the Earth is not a globe.”

Quite remarkable. How does Carpenter (and Dubay) believe that the Pole Star throws any doubt on the rotating spherical earth? He doesn’t say. As so often, he makes an empty assertion with no reason given, so it’s not possible to start to pick apart the confusion of his mind.

The pole star, Polaris  happens to be almost lined up with the current direction of the Northern axis of rotation. Thus it appears not to move (by an amount that we can see without careful study), unlike other stars that are off-axis. So what? That’s exactly what we would expect in the scientific understanding.

Polaris’s position is changing very slowly, because of it’s huge distance from Earth (433.8 light years)  However, it’s apparent position is moving as our sun moves through the vast distance of the galaxy.

In 3000 BCE, the faint star Thuban in the constellation Draco was the North Star. At magnitude 3.67 (fourth magnitude) it is only one-fifth as bright as Polaris, and today it is invisible in light-polluted urban skies.

During the 1st millennium BCE, β Ursae Minoris was the bright star closest to the celestial pole, but it was never close enough to be taken as marking the pole, and the Greek navigator Pytheas in ca. 320 BCE described the celestial pole as devoid of stars.

Gamma Cephei (also known as Alrai, situated 45 light-years away) will become closer to the northern celestial pole than Polaris around 3000 CE. Iota Cephei will become the pole star some time around 5200 CE. First-magnitude Deneb will be within 5° of the North Pole in 10,000 CE.

There is more on Polaris in other claims such as Point  98, and Point 150

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