3rd of Sivan, 5724
[May 14, 1964]

Dear Editor,

I was pleased to note that you were good enough to publish my letter regarding the question “Does the earth revolve around the sun or vice versa?” which your columnist has discussed in recent issues.

I would have been content to leave it there, were it not for the fact that in the meantime the question was dealt with again by your columnist, and I regret to say that I noted several inaccuracies in this new statement which came under “Editor’s Note” (in reply to another correspondent).

I read with great surprise the view sited in the said Editor’s Note to the effect that the fact that we can calculate beforehand the time of the eclipse of the moon and of the sun, as well as calculate the orbits of space flights, etc., support the theory that the earth is moving around the sun and not vice versa. This is a most amazing argument, especially and inasmuch as it is well known that the calculations relating to the eclipses of the moon and the sun were made thousands of years before Copernicus. Moreover, one of the tables used in the calculations was that of Ptolemy, whose theory was that the sun was revolving around the earth.

I also fail to understand another line of reasoning in your Editor’s Note, to the effect that when the astronauts orbited around the earth they experienced day and night every few hours, etc. This has no relevance whatever to the question of whether the sun is revolving around the earth or vice versa, but to the fact which is undisputed by anyone, namely that all of us traveling on earth can experience day and night at different intervals, regardless of whether the sun travels around the earth or vice versa. Of course, anyone circulating the earth at a great speed would experience day and night every few hours, but it has no bearing on our point of issue.

Similarly with the assertion of your editor that the fact that modern scientists can calculate the position of various planets, etc., has anything to do with the question under discussion. The position and movement of the planets were also well known before Copernicus. The only difference is that with the advancement of technology and the perfection of instruments, etc., it was possible to discover new planets, and to attain a greater accuracy with regard to the movement of the heavenly bodies, but this has no bearing on our issue.

To bring the space flights, etc., into this discussion is both confusing and misleading. As a matter of fact, if we are to deduce any proof from the attainment of success in regard to space flights, any proof that does have a bearing on our issue, “the shoe is on the other foot.” For these orbital calculations, and the speed which has been possible to attain recently in spaceflights, have been made possible on the basis of the theory of relativity—in other words, on the basis of the presently accepted scientific view (in accordance with this theory) that where two bodies in space are in motion relative to one another, it is impossible scientifically to ascertain which revolves around which, or which is stationary and the other in motion. Therefore, to say that there is, or can be, “scientific proof” that the earth revolves around the sun is quite an unscientific and uncritical statement.

For the sake of clarification of this issue, I trust that you will be good enough to publish this letter also, and many thanks in anticipation.

Sincerely yours,