Saturday, 3 December 2011

Counter-Earth

The Earth’s Moon. Taken from Rue de Rivoli, Paris.
15:26, 02nd December 2011. By DT.

Concerning its [the earth’s] position there is some divergence of opinion. Most of those who hold that the whole universe is finite say that it lies at the centre, but this is contradicted by the Italian school called Pythagoreans. These affirm that the centre is occupied by fire, and that the earth is one of the stars, and creates night and day as it travels in a circle about the centre. In addition they invent another earth, lying opposite our own, which they call by the name of “counter-earth”

(Aristotle on Philolaus)


And the Pythagoreans called the moon the counter-earth, in so far as it is also an “earth in the aither,” and since it blocks the light of the sun, which is a peculiar characteristic of the earth, and since it marks the end of the heavens just as the earth marks the end of the region under the moon.

(Aristotle on Philolaus)


Philolaus [says] that there is fire in the middle around the center which he calls the hearth of the whole and house of Zeus... And again another fire at the uppermost place, surrounding [the whole]. [He says] that the middle is first by nature, and around this ten divine bodies dance: heaven, planets, after them the sun, under it the moon, under it the earth, under it the counter-earth, after all of which the fire which has the position of a hearth about the center.

(Fragments of Philolaus)



From the outset, at any rate, they considered ten the perfect number, but seeing that, in what appears to the eye, the moving spheres are nine in number - seven spheres of the planets, an eighth that of the fixed stars, ninth the earth (for they thought, in fact, that the earth too moves in a circle around the stationary hearth, which, according to them, is fire) - they themselves added in their theory a counter-earth as well, which they assumed to move opposite the earth, and for this reason to be invisible to those on earth.

(Aristotle on Philolaus)


Philolaus the Pythagorean [says] that fire is in the middle (for this is the hearth of all), and that the counter-earth is second, the inhabited earth is third and lies opposite to and moves around with the counter-earth. Accordingly, those on the counter-earth cannot be seen by those on this earth.

(Fragments of Philolaus)



“After the counter-earth this earth itself also moves around the middle, and after the earth the moon,” for this is what he himself reports in the treatise on Pythagoreanism. But the earth, since it is one of the stars moving around the middle, makes day and night according to its position relative to the sun. But the counter-earth, moving about the middle and following on this earth, is not seen by us because the body of the earth is always in our way.

(Aristotle on Philolaus)



Philolaus [says] that destruction [of the world] is twofold, on the one hand when fire rushes in from the heaven, and on the other from lunar water when it is poured out by the revolution of the air. And the exhalations of these are nourishment for the cosmos.

(Fragments of Philolaus)
Screen-shots from "Another Earth" (2011) and "Melancholia" (2011)