GEODESY Geodesy is the study of the size and geodese

GEODESY Geodesy is the study of the size and geodese

4 Pages · 2004 · 238 KB · English

635 GEODESY this one problem, called geodesy. This is from the Latin word geodese meaning “in relation to Earth.” Geodesy measuring techniques are some of the most

GEODESY Geodesy is the study of the size and geodese free download


635 GEODESY this one problem, called geodesy. This is from the Latin word geodesemeaning ?in relation to Earth.? Geodesy measuring techniques are some of the most advanced in physics, some having errors less than 1 inch (2.5 cm) over 1,000 miles (1,600 km). Earth?s shapeThe mathematical shape of Earth is called the geoid. Scientists currently know the geoid to an accuracy of about 3 feet 3 inches (1 m) worldwide, although in many places it is known more accurately. One can think of the geoid as the extension of mean sea level to land. Suppose all land was changed into liquid and fell into a smooth surface, then this shape would be the geoid. In practice, there are hills and valleys ris- ing and falling, making the topography of Earth?s sur- face. Even though these features seem large to humans, they are small on a planetary scale. For example, an apple expanded to Earth?s size would have a skin as thick as the solid crust, with moun- tains and gorges being only tiny features. When measuring the geoid, scientists convert the results into a mathematical surface. The simplest shape, which dates back to ancient Greece, is a per- fectly round ball, or sphere. Since scientists know the world is not quite spherical, they instead use a sur- face called an ellipsoid, which is a distorted sphere. (An American football also approximates to an ellip- soid, but is stretched instead of flattened like the geoid). While an ellipsoid approximates the geoid reasonably well, up to about 300 feet (91 m) accu- racy over a continent, it is still not completely exact, and more complicated surfaces are used in geodesy. How Earth is measuredScientists have measured the size and shape of Earth for thousands of years. The Greek mathematician Eratosthenes (c.276?c.196 B.C.E) used the angles cast by shadows at different points on Earth?s sur- face to calculate a circumference of about 25,000 miles (40,234 km), remarkably close to the actual length of 24,901 miles (40,074 km) at Earth?s equa- tor.

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