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# The Earth Revolves Around the Sun

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 Started: 12/27/2007 Category: Science Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period Viewed: 3,967 times Debate No: 1081
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8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by WiseOne 5 years ago
There are of course other ways to prove that the earth moves around the sun by simple observation.

If one agrees that the other planets in our solar system all revolve around either the sun or the earth, we can emmidiately disprove that they move around the earth due to epi-cycles. (When a planet looks like it is moving backwards in its orbit due to earth's point of view). It is possible to calculate (by observation alone) where the centre of the other planets orbit lies. Following, if one agrees that all planets behave similarly, the earth must revolve around the sun.

Also,

From observation alone, one can triangulate the position of earth relative to the sun (or vise versa) by simply using the 'unmoving' stars as a point of reference. (it is for this reason that at different times of the year we can see different stars), as the sun blocks our point of view. If it were the other way around, we would be able to see all the star at all times. (From different vantage points on earth).
Posted by lazarus_long 5 years ago
BeemOr - you're right, of course, in that in commonly-used terms, the Earth orbits the Sun. I was simply trying to point out that, strictly speaking, this is not the correct way to describe any two-body situation. Whether or not the Sun orbits the Earth or the Earth orbits the Sun would actually be completely impossible to determine through observation IF those were the only two bodies we could see. We could, of course, show from the laws of physics what was going on, but IF those were the only two bodies involved it would make no practical difference whatsoever which one we chose to used as the "fixed" reference.

Obviously, the Earth-Sun system is not an isolated two-body system; we have other objects which can readily be used as reference, and can easily see that for any practical purposes we should say that the Earth orbits the Sun.

However, just to better understand the situation, consider what would happen if you did have only a two body system, but one in which the two bodies in question were of exactly the same mass. How would you describe the motion of the two, if the situation was one in which the bodies were clearly in stable "orbits"?
Posted by Mangani 5 years ago
I think there is a fundamental lack of understanding of elementary science in the case of "con". "Pro" has not "proven" his point- as it is impossible to do so without profound knowledge of several branches of science, but his arguments in favor of recognizing those laws and understanding the elementary aspects behind those laws "make" his point by a landslide.
Posted by beem0r 5 years ago
For simplification, you're probably only considering these 2 bodies - the earth and the sun. I will too, but:

Since the center of mass is much closer to the sun, the sun is making a much smaller orbit. Thus, the sun does not orbit around the earth in any way, whereas the earth's orbit goes all the way around the sun. I wouldn't say in any way that the sun orbits the earth. It's like drawing two concentric circles on a page and not knowing which goes around the other, or saying that they both do.

Also, I did say that a 3rd person observation from space would easily prove heliocentricity. I didn't know that we actually HAD photos from that far out, thanks for the info.
Posted by lazarus_long 5 years ago
Ummmm....well, actually, they ARE orbiting each other. In any two-body orbital situation, the two bodies involved actually both "orbit" their common center of mass. We normally say that the "Earth orbits the Sun" because, as is the case with most such situations, one of the bodies involved is very much more massive than the other, such that the "common center of mass" is very close to the center of mass of the more massive object and in any case is definitely within it. A better example is the Earth-Moon system, in which, while the Earth IS far more massive than the moon, it is not so much more massive that the Earth's center of mass and the center of mass of the Earth-Moon system cannot be readily distinguished. The Earth DOES "orbit" this common center of mass, which results in a noticeable "wobble" in the position of the center of mass of the Earth with respect to, say, its orbital path about the sun.

But the "Pro" side clearly wins this one, no matter what.

I am, though, a little surprised that you didn't bring up one of the most telling, and most recent, pieces of evidence supporting the notion that the Earth revolves around the Sun. It's very simple - we've seen it! Don't forget that several spacecraft has been sent out to and beyond the limits of the Solar System, and at least one (Voyager 2) was directed to look back to the home world and photograph it on several separate occasions. We have direct photographic evidence that our Earth revolves around the Sun!
Posted by spencetheguy 5 years ago
it is called newtons universal gravitaional law, einsteins theory of relativity and satalites, and we have observed similar solar systems around other stars.
Posted by beem0r 5 years ago
They are both moving, but they are not both orbiting one another. The sun is largely only moving in the direction the solar system as a whole is moving. While it does have acceleration due to gravity, it ends up evening out in the long term. The earth however, is constantly being affected by local acceleration--acceleration massive enough to make it move with respect to the entire solar system.
Posted by longjonsilver 5 years ago
Not to relevant to the debate, but I thought I would make one correction.

Both the earth and the sun are moving. Their movements are not mutually exclusive.
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