How Aristotle understood that the Earth has a spherical shape


The ancient Greek scientist and philosopher Aristotle was one of the first to suggest that the Earth has a spherical shape. And he provided evidence to support his view.

In fact, Aristotle’s evidence for the Earth’s sphericity formed the basis of the scientific work of great scholars many centuries later. This outstanding sage, a student of Plato, lived over 2300 years ago, and he realized what humanity forgot for millennia.

The Vatican played a significant role in suppressing the teaching of the spherical Earth as heretical. However, such eminent minds as Nicolaus Copernicus and Giordano Bruno were well acquainted with Aristotle’s works, and they themselves spoke of relying on his evidence in their own works, which were so obvious that it was impossible to refute them for any thoughtful person.

Three of Aristotle’s proofs that the Earth has a spherical shape are:

● One of Aristotle’s proofs of the Earth’s sphericity was based on observing the North Star. As is known, it always appears above the North Pole, so for centuries it has served as a guide for sailors and travelers. Aristotle, however, noticed that the North Star is located higher in the sky the further north the observer goes.

● The second proof was based on observing the constellations at the equator. Just as the North Star moves higher in the sky as one moves north, so do the familiar constellations rise higher as one moves towards the equator. The scientist also noticed that stars visible in the south are not visible in the north, and vice versa.

● Aristotle’s third proof of the Earth’s sphericity is based on the shadow cast by the moon on Earth. During a full lunar eclipse, this shadow is always circular, so the ancient Greek scientist logically concluded that both the Moon and the Earth have a spherical shape.

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