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The shape of the Earth: ancient hypotheses and modern scientific research

Many questions are concealed in the Galaxy, but the form of the Earth does not cause any doubt. Our planet has the shape of an ellipsoid, that is, an ordinary ball, but only slightly flattened in the region of the poles: the South and North. This idea of the planet Earth was formed over the centuries in a complex confrontation of religion and science. Today, every elementary school student will be able to answer absolutely correctly on this issue.

History of the formation of modern information about the Earth

About what form of the Earth corresponds to reality, argued very much throughout the history of the development of natural science knowledge. Homer assumed that our planet has the form of a circle, and Anaximander proved that it looks like a cylinder. Probably everyone remembers bright images from the 5th class satin, where the shape of the Earth looks like a disc and rests on a tortoise that rests on three elephants, etc. Once there were even assumptions that our planet in the form of a boat swims along the boundless The ocean or towers over it in the form of the highest mountain!

Different versions of the movement of the Earth

Not only the question of the shape of our native planet, but also the version of the Earth's motion underwent many changes in the history of civilization. At the end of the 19th century, it was believed that the Earth was completely immobile at all. Then official science began to hold the opinion that the Sun is moving around our planet, and not vice versa. In a society of different times, such a theme as the shape and movement of the earth, worried the minds of not only scientists. Otherwise, it is impossible to explain the brutal execution of D. Bruno, whose opinion on the motion of the Earth differed at that time from the generally accepted judgment. Unfortunately, official science did not always rely on advanced discoveries, but preferred reliable paths traced by religious beliefs. The first encyclopaedist who expressed a truly correct hypothesis about the motion of our planet around the Sun, and not vice versa, was the Pole N. Copernicus.

Modern discoveries

Bessel, the German scientist who first calculated the radius of the Earth's compression at the poles, approached the truth most of all. These figures were obtained in the 19th century and remained unchanged for hundreds of years. Only in the 20th century F.N. Krasovsky - a Soviet scientist, published new information that was much more accurate than the figures obtained earlier by his predecessor. Since then, the ellipsoid with the exact dimensions of the planet is named after it. The shape of the Earth really has the form of a ball, flattened in the region of the poles, and the difference in radii - equatorial and pole - is 21 km. This figure has remained constant since 1936.


But to be even more precise, according to the latest scientific data, the form of the Earth is a geoid. This is the most accurate figure, which is closest to the true model of the Earth. The geoid, like our planet, has hollows and elevations. Also, according to A.A. Ivanov, a Russian scientist, the hemisphere of the Earth have no symmetry, and the equator is an ellipse, not a circle. That's how science develops, and who knows what else we learn about our native planet in 100 years? In the meantime, in every school room there is a globe familiar to all, through which we study the secrets of the Earth.

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