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Observatory, 126, 236241, 2006 THE ARMAGH OBSERVATORY HUMAN ORRERY

Summary: Observatory, 126, 236241, 2006
Mark E. Bailey
Armagh Observatory, College Hill, Armagh, BT61 9DG
Summary of talk presented at RAS Ordinary Meeting, London
Friday 13 January 2006
These days everyone is taught the principles of the Earth's place in the Universe: that our planet
is one of nine traditional planets orbiting the Sun in the solar system; that its nearly circular
orbit lies in a plane (the `ecliptic') that reflects the path of the Sun in the sky; that the orbits
of the other planets lie very close to the same plane; and that the Earth takes a year of 365.25
days to revolve once about the Sun.
Contrast this with the results of casual observation: a planet that is very much at rest; stars
and the Sun that appear to circle the Earth every day; and five classical planets that either
stay close to the Sun in the sky (as with Mercury and Venus), or move slowly from west to east
against the fixed stars, repeating their positions at intervals of several years or more.
The difficulty facing modern educators -- one which resonates with one of the biggest
paradigm shifts in science -- may be described as the `geocentric illusion'. Indeed, if one
abandons the call to a higher authority or arguments by assertion, the points in question are
among the hardest to explain in a simple way. As a result, there are many people, perhaps some
among this audience, who really have no idea of the Earth's position and the positions of the


Source: Armagh Observatory


Collections: Physics