An easy example: How do you know how far away the sun is?

Terry Tao has a really cool presentation on that topic: The Cosmic Distance Ladder.

Parallax effects are a surprisingly good reason to reject heliocentrism. Wrong, of course, but it does seem to fail the sniff test -- and about all the Greeks had to work with were sniff tests of varying sophistication.

Although now I kind of wonder how Aristarchus' critics explained his observations.

1gwern8yThat was long, but very good. People underestimate the ancient Greeks - it's awesome to see the whole set of calculations laid out. (This reminds me guiltily of a post I keep meaning to write doing something similar for Atomism.)

Welcome to Less Wrong! (2010-2011)

by orthonormal 1 min read12th Aug 2010805 comments

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