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The Triangles of Aristarchus

Alan Hirshfeld 

April 2004, Volume 97, Issue 4, Page 228

Abstract:
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.

Keywords:
Article
Conceptual Development
Grades 9-12
Teacher
Modeling
Similarity / Congruence