Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Eppur si galleggia

Water back w/floaties

"And yet it moves" (Italian: Eppur si muove) is a phrase said to have been uttered before the Inquisition by the Italian mathematician, physicist and philosopher Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) in 1633 after being forced to recant his belief that the earth moves around the sun. In this context, the implication of the phrase is: despite this recantation, the Church's proclamations to the contrary, or any other conviction or doctrine of men, the Earth does, in fact, move [around the sun, and not vice versa]. from wikipedia

The previous post describes what these are and who made them

Eppur si galleggia: and yet it floats. I'm not actually sure if the Soleri bridge can be easily used to demonstrate without a doubt that the earth revolves around the sun. It seems like it should, and also that the most obvious explanation for the solstice phenomenon at this location with this angle of pylons at exactly 1/2 year intervals is a planetary body tilting at 23.5 degrees and orbiting the sun in exactly one year, but there may be other interesting complex combinations of celestial bodies which would produce the same effect. A Tychonic system, for example.

You could come out here every night, document the stars using the pylons as reference points, and show in a straightforward way that the motion of the stars which returned to the same position after a year is best explained by a revolving earth. If you were really good, you'd be on track to explaining the orbits of the other planets, too.

But I guess what I'm looking for here is something so beautiful, compelling, and amazing, that when you see it, you just have to go, sonofagun, it goes around, doesn't it. An elegant, parsimonious proof.

Like measuring the speed of light with chocolate in a microwave oven.

I think about the things I have with me that might help. My smart phone has a GPS. Can a GPS be used to prove that the earth revolves around the sun? Maybe, but not in any obvious way I can think of, at least not without more coffee in me. It also has the Internet, but we all know the Internet lies. 

What else do I have with me. The camera I'm taking these photos with. It has a 20x optical zoom. With it, I could probably just make out the phases of Venus. Maybe the moons of Jupiter. Twenty power is what Galileo used, so if he could do it, maybe I could too.   

I stand there with my bicycle looking at colored triangles floating in the canal, and naturally I think of Galileo. Maybe it's just me. In spite of any other conviction or doctrine of men.


  1. But where are the people on such a day? Perhaps discovering yet another truth.

    1. Sleeping. This is a zone of tourists and festivals. You have to come down here around noon to see people waking up and squinting in the daylight.

  2. I saw clouds like those in your last photo on my way to work today (Wednesday) but I didn't have my camera with me. They reminded me of Georgia O'Keeffe.

    1. I believe I would have enjoyed having a coffee with Georgia O'Keeffe beneath such a sky.

  3. That last image is a real stunner in my opinion..


    1. That was the second shot of the series. But the first was quite similar.


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