The Triangles of Aristarchus

  • The Triangles of Aristarchus

    Alan Hirshfeld
    The ancient Greek mathematician Aristarchus demonstrated for the first time how it was possible, using simple observations and elementary geometry, to measure distances to bodies in the solar system. Aristarchus' methods used a lunar elcipse to approximate the diameter of the Earth, and used the shadow cone of a lunar eclipse to form similar triangles and proportional measurements. The mathmatics can be easily understood by a high school geometry student.