Samuel Rowbotham Documents the Problems of “Spherical Southern Hemisphere Model” Navigation

“Surprise at the frequency and the sadness of such losses will naturally subside when it is seen that the degrees of longitude beyond the equatorial region gradually increase with the southern latitude [On the Flat Earth Model. – DS]. A false hypothesis, a merely supposed sphericity of the earth and of gradually diminishing lines of longitude on each side of the equator is the true cause of the greater number of these sad catastrophes which have so often startled and appalled the public mind. To this fallacious doctrine of rotundity may be traced not only the source of these terrible losses and .sufferings, but also of the fact that mariners are unable to see the true cause of the disasters, and are therefore unable to benefit by experience, and to guard against them in future voyages. They have been led to attribute all the fearful dangers of southern waters to imaginary causes, the chief of which is the prevalence of direct and counter currents. One of the most common peculiarities in these regions is the almost constant confusion in the “reckoning;” as will be seen by the following quotations:–

“We found ourselves every day from 12 to 16 miles by observation in advance of our reckoning.” 3

p. 260

“By our observations at noon we found ourselves 58 miles to the eastward of our reckoning in two days. ” 1

“February 11th, 1822, at noon, in latitude 65.53. S. our chronometers gave 44 miles more westing than the log in three days. On 22nd of April (1822), in latitude 54.16. S. our longitude by chronometers was 46.49, and by D.R. (dead reckoning) 47° 11´: On 2nd May (1822), at noon, in latitude 53.46. S., our longitude by chronometers was 59° 27´, and by D.R. 61° 6´. October 14th, in latitude 58.6, longitude by chronometers 62° 46´, by account 65° 24´. In latitude 59.7. S., longitude by chronometers was 63° 28´, by account 66° 42´. In latitude 61.49. S., longitude by chronometers was 61° 53´, by account 66° 38´.” 2

The commander of the United States exploring expedition, Lieutenant Wilkes, in his narrative, says that in less than 18 hours he was 20 miles to the east of his reckoning in latitude 54° 20´ S. He gives other instances of the same phenomenon, and, in common with almost all other navigators and writers on the subject, attributes the differences between actual observation and theory to currents, the velocity of which, at latitude 57° 15´ S., amounted to 20 miles a day. 3 The commanders of these various expeditions were, of course, with their education and belief in the earth’s rotundity, unable to conceive of any other cause for the differences between log and chronometer results than the existence of currents. But one simple fact is entirely fatal to such an explanation, viz., that when the route taken is east or west the same results are experienced. The water of the southern region cannot be running

p. 261

in two opposite directions at the same time; and hence, although various local and variable currents have been noticed, they cannot be shown to be the cause of the discrepancies so generally observed in high southern latitudes between time and log results. The conclusion is one of necessity–is forced upon us by the sum of the evidence collected that the degrees of longitude in any given southern latitude are larger than the degrees in any latitude nearer to the northern centre; thus proving the already more than sufficiently demonstrated fact that the earth is a plane, having a northern centre, in relation to which degrees of latitude are concentric, and from which degrees of longitude are diverging lines, continually increasing in their distance from each other as they are prolonged towards the great glacial southern circumference…

259:3 “South Sea Voyages.” By Sir J. C. Ross, p. 96, vol. i.

260:1 “South Sea Voyages,” by Sir J. C. Ross, p. 27.

260:2 “Voyages towards the South Pole,” by Captain James Weddell.

260:3 “Condensed Navigation,” p. 130. Whittaker and Co., London.”

Zetetic Astronomy, by ‘Parallax’ (pseud. Samuel Birley Rowbotham), [1881]

The references can be found here: link




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