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Zetetic Astronomy, by 'Parallax' (pseud. Samuel Birley Rowbotham), [1881], at


On the shore near Waterloo, a few miles to the north of Liverpool, a good telescope was fixed, at an elevation of 6 feet above the water. It was directed to a large steamer, just leaving the River Mersey, and sailing out to Dublin. Gradually the mast-head of the receding vessel came nearer to the horizon, until, at length, after more than four hours had elapsed, it disappeared. The ordinary rate of sailing of the Dublin steamers was fully eight miles an hour; so that the vessel would be, at least, thirty-two miles distant when the mast-head came to the horizon. The 6 feet of elevation of the telescope would require three miles to be deducted for convexity, which would leave twenty-nine miles, the square of which, multiplied by 8 inches, gives 560 feet; deducting 80 feet for the height of the main-mast, and we find that, according to the doctrine of rotundity, the mast-head of the outward bound steamer should have been 480 feet below the horizon.

Many other experiments of this kind have been made upon sea-going steamers, and always with results entirely incompatible with the theory that the earth is a globe.

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