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View Full Version : Are you sure the Moon is a sphere?


RobdoR
19th-December-2013, 11:30 AM
I mean, I saw the moon once. It looked pretty flat to me. Sure "science" tells us that it's a ball yea big and such and such distance from earth, but that took a lot of smart dudes a long time to figure that all out. I guess sometimes I just realize that I'm pretty dumb. I get to stand on the shoulders of giants and look down at my ancestors with scorn knowing how much more enlightened I am than them. If I were them I would want to punch me in the face. Do you think we give our ancestors enough credit? That's all (sorry for the trollish title).

redbaron
19th-December-2013, 11:38 AM
All you have to do is observe the pattern of the terminator (where the light side meets the dark side) as it reflects the sun's light to see that it's a sphere.

If you want to test this yourself, go get a relatively large sphere and shine a light on it from the side. You'll notice that if you stand side on, you get a crescent shape lit up.

You can also see the actual curvature for yourself if you look through a telescope. You can get a powerful enough unit with quality fluorite lenses to see this yourself about $500 or so.

Blarraun
19th-December-2013, 11:48 AM
I wouldn't boost my pride so much. Your ancestors were functionally as enlightened as you are. They knew what they wanted to know and had many valid ideas that were lost across the ages.

The simplest evidence for a spherical Moon: 1. Solar eclipses are always circular. The only geometric object that can yield a circular eclipse in any orientation is a spheroid. 2. The terminator of the moon (the boundary between the day-side and night-side) as viewed from Earth is always arc-shaped. Only spheroids can show such an edge in any orientation.

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4050/4630919892_3a5f623463.jpg

RobdoR
19th-December-2013, 11:58 AM
All you have to do is observe the pattern of the terminator (where the light side meets the dark side) as it reflects the sun's light to see that it's a sphere.

Right, but I never would have figured that out if someone like you didn't come along and tell me it could be done. Another example I thought of is how our ancestors thought spirits caused illness. That line of thinking seems rational to me. Simple cause and effect. Something caused the illness. I didn't just happen for no reason. If I was a spirit and some puny human offended me, I could see my spirit self getting all pissy and sending a plague. Now I want to look at the moon, but it's gone. Where did it go?

Blarraun
19th-December-2013, 12:00 PM
Moon is reborn, it was eaten by the wolf now. It will reassemble with cosmic alchemy, we must pray for now.

RobdoR
19th-December-2013, 12:00 PM
Makes sense to me.

redbaron
19th-December-2013, 12:21 PM
I think I see what you're getting at. I think you might be overestimating the relative, "genius" of our forebears. A lot of progress in technology and understanding comes about as a product of opportunity and logistical luck as much as it does intelligence.

Most of what I know is learned simply out of pursuing my interests, and I would surmise that if you'd been interested in astronomy from a young age like I was you'd have figured out how we can tell the moon is a sphere as well.

I'd like to elaborate more on this, but I'm meant to be getting up in 5 hours and I should probably sleep. I'll reply tomorrow.

Minuend
19th-December-2013, 12:25 PM
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4050/4630919892_3a5f623463.jpg

That has indicators of roundness, but it's still a flat picture

Not convinced

Blarraun
19th-December-2013, 12:28 PM
True, it would be the same if I gave you an apple or a picture of an apple. If you look at the apple from distance it is simply 2D.

Take out your eyeball, but leave the nerve connection. Place it as far as you can to experience better 3D. Look at the moon then. Not this^ one of course.

RobdoR
19th-December-2013, 12:54 PM
Having eyes is fun because you see everything in 2D. But wait! Your brain consults with the spirit world, then uses your previous experience and that fact that each eye sees a different image and interprets it as 3D. Just like in a 3D movie, but you don't need the special glasses.

When I become a cyborg, separating my eyes really far apart is going to be right at the top of my to-do list (pffft, to-do list...what am I, An INTJ?)

Minuend
19th-December-2013, 12:58 PM
If I drew a picture of a round car, it wouldn't mean all cars are round

http://www.court-records.net/animation/y-edgeworth-tsk(c).gif

Pyropyro
19th-December-2013, 02:17 PM
No it's actually this:

http://gurrenlagann.wikia.com/wiki/File:Chogingadaigurren.gif


which turns into this:


http://gurrenlagann.wikia.com/wiki/File:Chogingagurrenlagann.gif

Jennywocky
19th-December-2013, 03:37 PM
I'm not sure why everyone is so caught up in explaining how to prove the moon is a sphere or some other permutation.

What I took away from the OP is that he's simply stating our ancestors get a bum rap, and that based on what knowledge they did possess and what world views they held, they found the explanation that made the most sense to them even though it ended up being wrong; it's not like it was a stupid answer on their part, it made a lot of sense to them at the time, and that people still behave this way nowadays in lieu of having specific detailed knowledge of how something works. (They pull together the familiar and the sensible from the other areas of their lives and try to apply that understanding to the ambiguous item.)

Thurlor
19th-December-2013, 04:09 PM
How much of all of this is based on arrogance and conceit? Most of the mistakes made by our ancestors (and many people alive today) are based on our tendencies to anthropomorphise events and their causes. I'm sorry, but I hardly see such explanations as the only or best explanations and can't help but feel we (humanity) was indulging in a bit of ego-stroking (something like us must have caused this).

I do get where you are coming from though. I have believed for a long time that the main difference between modern humans and our earliest ancestors is the sum of our knowledge. In hind-sight so much that we know seems simple but it sure did take us a long time to figure it all out.

It would be impossible to actually figure out, but without guidance (teaching) how many of us would be able to figure out trigonometry, algebra, chemistry, etc. If we just consider mathematics, then the individual would need to discover (on their own) everything from 1+1=2 onwards.

Blarraun
19th-December-2013, 04:33 PM
Do you think we give our ancestors enough credit?Okay I now see OP case more clearly.

We give them enough credit as is beffiting dead people, dead people are only as valuable as the living want them to be, otherwise they don't exist.

I would then say that we tend to idealise and celebrate certain historical figures and we tend to commemorate their deeds or achievements, were they good or bad is personal but they generally had to be "big" and groundbreaking.

Simple cause and effect. Something caused the illness. I didn't just happen for no reason. If I was a spirit and some puny human offended me, I could see my spirit self getting all pissy and sending a plague. Now I want to look at the moon, but it's gone. Where did it go? I do not view their non-empirical explanations as inferior. They were theirs, appropriate with respect to their times and worked fine for them. I do not like the idea that scientific explanations are superior or more important, they are simply more useful and operational, that's a subjective quality for humans.

UfarkTheRipe
29th-December-2013, 09:44 PM
The moon is fake- a large, crudely painted balloon, held in place by helium and propelled by tiny sails and rudders (which is why it moves across the sky so slowly). (http://www.revisionism.nl/Moon/Moon2.htm)

crippli
29th-December-2013, 09:57 PM
I've taken numerous pictures of the moon. They are always the same...

http://farm2.staticflickr.com/1088/5100848628_cf2c39c742_z.jpg

Hawkeye
30th-December-2013, 08:24 PM
The Moon is not a sphere, rather it's more egg-shaped with the wider base facing the Earth.

Anyway, by simply looking at the Moon through a telescope or binoculars, you can see that it is not a flat object, but a round one.

Goku
30th-December-2013, 09:03 PM
We inhabit the moon, and orbit this large rock called the Earth. They've had u fooled all along.

Etheri
30th-December-2013, 09:44 PM
There are alot of atheists, christians, muslims, ... who would believe diffrently if they were raised diffrently and taught these things instead of their current beliefs.

Are they smarter because they believe whatever you believe in, or are they still conformists not capable of critical thought?

If I had two parrots, and to one I'd only say true statements, to the other only false statements. The parrots repeat whatever they hear, so one states facts and the other is always wrong. Is either parrot smarter than the other?

I don't see a diffrence with history. I don't think someone is smarter because they were taught diffrently; newton was a genius for discovering what he discovered, but you don't need to be too bright to study what he discovered before the age of 18 today.

Humans have the dignity to make up their mind. Listen to others carefully, but always think for yourself.

Blarraun
30th-December-2013, 10:25 PM
There are alot of atheists, christians, muslims, ... who would believe diffrently if they were raised diffrently and taught these things instead of their current beliefs.

Are they smarter because they believe whatever you believe in, or are they still conformists not capable of critical thought?

If I had two parrots, and to one I'd only say true statements, to the other only false statements. The parrots repeat whatever they hear, so one states facts and the other is always wrong. Is either parrot smarter than the other?

I don't see a diffrence with history. I don't think someone is smarter because they were taught diffrently; newton was a genius for discovering what he discovered, but you don't need to be too bright to study what he discovered before the age of 18 today.

Humans have the dignity to make up their mind. Listen to others carefully, but always think for yourself.
It wouldn't matter what you read here as it would be worth the same, be it false or true? Sometimes you let others present something to you, of course this is not the ultimate truth or ultimate falsity.

If what we say here wouldn't matter then it would have no reason. If you always thought for yourself you wouldn't learn from others because you would be forced to discover or confirm information in some way. Confirming the validity is important, knowing when to confirm and when you can leap is as important for abstract studying.

I agree discovering calculus and mathematical analysis in the time you study, is incomparable, greatly increased difficulty and prerequisites.

Etheri
30th-December-2013, 11:35 PM
It wouldn't matter what you read here as it would be worth the same, be it false or true? Sometimes you let others present something to you, of course this is not the ultimate truth or ultimate falsity.

If what we say here wouldn't matter then it would have no reason. If you always thought for yourself you wouldn't learn from others because you would be forced to discover or confirm information in some way. Confirming the validity is important, knowing when to confirm and when you can leap is as important for abstract studying.

I agree discovering calculus and mathematical analysis in the time you study, is incomparable, greatly increased difficulty and prerequisites.

That isn't what I said. As my last sentence states, it's fine to listen to others and consider what they have to say. They're a great source of inspiration. However, you have to confirm everything (or atleast everything you care about) for yourself.

Just because you have to confirm what other people are saying, doesn't mean you have to rediscover everything. You merely confirm the truth (beyond reasonable doubt?) in their statements. Confirming something is a lot easier than discovering it yourself, which is what I meant through comparisson with Newton.

It is only when you disagree with all existing theories, that you have to start making up theories of your own, which is the real hard work.

Even if you don't take anything anyone says for granted, doesn't mean you shouldn't listen and disregard what they say. It means you should try to verify and form your own opinion on the matter, rather than simply agreeing with what the person said thoughtlessly.

Blarraun
30th-December-2013, 11:51 PM
That isn't what I said. As my last sentence states, it's fine to listen to others and consider what they have to say. They're a great source of inspiration. However, you have to confirm everything (or atleast everything you care about) for yourself.

Just because you have to confirm what other people are saying, doesn't mean you have to rediscover everything. You merely confirm the truth (beyond reasonable doubt?) in their statements. Confirming something is a lot easier than discovering it yourself, which is what I meant through comparisson with Newton.

It is only when you disagree with all existing theories, that you have to start making up theories of your own, which is the real hard work.

Even if you don't take anything anyone says for granted, doesn't mean you shouldn't listen and disregard what they say. It means you should try to verify and form your own opinion on the matter, rather than simply agreeing with what the person said thoughtlessly.
I missed the last bit. I agree, however isn't it obvious and pretty much off topic here? If we are asked about something then it is rather clear that our information will be in one way or another evaluated. This stuff is good as a general addition to every post here, maybe it could fit into signature.

Etheri
31st-December-2013, 12:34 AM
I missed the last bit. I agree, however isn't it obvious and pretty much off topic here? If we are asked about something then it is rather clear that our information will be in one way or another evaluated. This stuff is good as a general addition to every post here, maybe it could fit into signature.

No, I think it belongs here in particular. I think that the OP was specifically asking whether or not we're smarter than our ancestors. I think that we're no diffrent from our ancestors intellectually, we only have more established theories and knowledge to learn from. Mindlessly repeating these theories doesn't make us smarter than previous generations; as they did exactly the same, only what they repeated was diffrent.

It is only once we think for ourselves that we can have a valuable opinion and learn more, which also hasn't changed during history. Some 'inventors' found their inventions through sheer luck, others through rigorous search or curiosity. Regardless, they all were willing to re-evaluate the established beliefs in face of 'new' evidence / theories.

That is what sets appart people that progress knowledge from people that are conservative intellectually. Those who conform to what they are told without questioning only know so much as they're told. Those who are open for improvement are capable of change, good and bad.

I think the majority of people conform on most subjects, it's simply easier and not everyone cares for these things, which is fair in its own right. In this way, our ancesters weren't 'smarter' or 'dumber', for believing stuff that wasn't true. And not all 'atheists' are smarter than 'religious extremists', because if they were raised diffrently they'd believe diffrent things.

I only feel like i'm saying the same thing from my original post all this time. I guess I should learn to put my thoughts into words better. I also think that posting theories about why the moon is or isn't a sphere is actually off-topic in its own right, where as the intelligence of our ancestors is OP's real focus.