Is the world really round?

Have you ever actually thought about the shape of the Earth? I mean really taken time to consider the shape of the big chunk of rock that we live on?

Not surprisingly, planning a circumnavigation of the globe makes you think a lot about the shape of the world. Common sense dictates that you just accept that the world is round, that its basically just a really big ball. When you actually think about it, its quite fantastic. Just a big ball with a forty thousand kilometre circumference- revolving once a day.

But how do you really know that it is round? How do you really know that the world being round isn’t just some story that they tell you in school to fill out the geography curriculum.  

The first guy to suggest that the world might be round was a guy called Eratosthenes who lived in Egypt in the 3rd century BC. He also worked out the circumference of the Earth to within 400km using the angle of the sun and a stick! We did our Dry Run cycle last September to pay homage to his big thinking.           

Magellan's ship Victoria

Ferdinand Magellan and his crew were the first people to prove him correct 18 hundred years later when they became the first people to circumnavigate the globe in 1523.

The photo was originally taken 'upside down' in that the North was at the bottom of the photo. This is because of the orientation in which the astronauts were traveling at the time.

Then, in 1972 the crew of the Apollo took the familiar yet still awe inspiring Blue Marble photo. Proving once and for all that the world is definitely round.

However, being curious types we still aren’t convinced so we’ve decided to go out and see for ourselves. If the world is just a really big ball then it should be possible to cycle west and eventually wind up back where you started. 


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