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The Sun Is as Big as the Peloponnesus

  • Dirk L. Couprie
Chapter
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 374)

Abstract

Plutarch, Hippolytus, and Diogenes Laertius report that Anaxagoras compared the size of the sun with the Peloponnesus (see Fig. 16.1). The aim of this chapter is to show that Anaxagoras was not crazy when he said this but that it was a fair estimate, from his point of view, which was that of a flat earth. More precisely, I show that with the instruments (gnomon, clepsydra, sighting tube) and with the geometrical knowledge (the properties of similar triangles, simple equations, Pythagoras’ theorem) available, he must have been able to use the procedures and perform the calculations needed to reach approximately his result.

Keywords

Solar Eclipse Angular Diameter Summer Solstice Similar Triangle Preceding Chapter 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dirk L. Couprie
    • 1
  1. 1.MaastrichtNetherlands

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