Chapter 24: Dayton Miller - and the speed of Earth

Dayton Miller has to be one of the most tenacious experimental astronomers of the past century. His relentless quest to try and measure the translational speed of Earth was certainly second to none. As a Copernican, he believed that Earth revolved around the Sun at about 30km/s (or 90X the speed of sound, as of the heliocentric theory), yet his sophisticated interferometer instrument kept 'yielding', over and over again, an apparent velocity that he could only interpret as somewhere between 9 or 10Km/s. Here's what we may read on his Wikipedia page:

"Dayton Miller performed over 326,000 turns of interferometer with 16 readings each one, (more than 5,200,000 measurements). They showed what appeared to be a small amount of drift (about 9 km/s, 1/3 of the velocity of the Earth around the Sun)."

I cannot reasonably include in these pages the full story of Miller's tireless experiments - nor the ensuing, epic (and still ongoing) controversy concerning the very existence of the ether (involving none other than Albert Einstein), but I can warmly recommend to those interested this 2014 paper by James De Meo which does a fine job summarizing these matters. Below is the introductory paragraph of De Meo's essay:

"The author reviewed the experimental ether-drift experiments and publications of Michelson-Morley, Dayton Miller, Michelson-Pease-Pearson, and more recent others, from the late 1800s through the present. Many of these historical studies presented positive results in detecting a cosmic ether, and ether-drift through space. Among these experiments, the most widely cited Michelson-Morley experiment of 1887, which did show a slight positive result, was found to be the least significant or robust in terms of experimental procedures and actual data collected, as compared with the far more important 1920s' study by Miller on Mount Wilson near Los Angeles, California."

"Does a Cosmic Ether Exist? Evidence from Dayton Miller and Others" - by James De Meo (2014)

Oddly enough, Miller's far more important and exhaustive interferometer experiments are only rarely cited or debated in the modern literature; most people will only have heard of the famed Michelson-Morley (alleged) "null results" which, we are told, went to confirm Albert Einstein's hallowed theories. The true story behind the various interferometer experiments is, however, quite different. Suffice to say that Einstein was seriously worried about Miller’s findings - and he famously pronounced the following, 'dramatic' statement:

“If Dr. Miller’s results should be confirmed, then the special relativity theory, and with it the general theory in its present form, fails. Experiment is the supreme judge. Only the equivalence of inertia and weight remain, which would lead to an essentially different theory.”

As you may know, Einstein had basically decreed that the ether does not exist, that the speed of light is independent of the observer, and that - therefore - the orbital speed of Earth is undetectable and immeasurable. Miller's repeated and consistent non-null results (of 9 or 10 km/s) were thus perceived as a threat to Einstein's relativity theory which was already in full swing among the scientific community of the time. But let's get on and take a closer look at Dayton Miller's findings - as viewed through the TYCHOS 'lens'.

In the previous chapter, we saw that "the speed of our Solar System in relation to the stars" is currently estimated at 19.4km/s. We also computed that, under the TYCHOS model's 42633 Reduction Factor, these 19.4km/s (or 69480km/h) 'translate' into: 69480 / 42633 ≈ 1.6km/h - i.e. the proposed orbital speed of Earth in the TYCHOS.

At the end of chapter 14, I expounded and illustrated the "Mean Variation Coefficient" (MVC) of 0.8 km/h. Since the Earth travels through space at 1.6 km/h along an almost straight line (which only curves by a mere 1.42° per century), the MVC value will oscillate - perpendicularly to each quadrant of our firmament - between 0 (at the equinoxes) and +/- 1.6 (at the solstices). Therefore, in the TYCHOS, if one should 'monitor' our Earth's motion over a full day - or over a full year - an average MVC of (+/-) 0.8km/h is just what should be expected.

Dayton Miller was adamant that his interferometer data (and thence extrapolated orbital speed of the Earth) consistently indicated a speed of about 9 or 10km/s (i.e. about 1/3 of the assumed translational velocity of Earth - as of Copernican theory). In fact, several results attained by the Michelson-Morley experiments also yielded velocities around that same range : "They reported, based upon only 36 rotations, the observation of fringe shifts and inferred a light speed anisotropy of 8-10km/s"(Reg Cahill - Flinders University). Hence, we may reasonably average Miller's two lower and upper values (9 and 10) into a mean value of "9.5km/s"(or 34200km/h). Now, as we apply our TYCHOS reduction factor of 42633 (see chapter 23), here is what we obtain:

34200km/h / 42633 = 0.802 Km/h (i.e. near-precisely the MVC-value proposed by the TYCHOS model)

In other words, Dayton Miller may well have (unwittingly) detected Earth's true translational speed of 1.6km/h!

We shall now fast-forward in time to a most fascinating French paper authored in 2007 by Pierre Fuerxer, titled “Les expériences optiques et la relativité”. Fuerxer is a radar engineer and signal processing specialist who worked closely with the eminent physicist and economist Maurice Allais (1911-2010) - famed for having pointedly dismantled Einstein’s theory of relativity.

As Maurice Allais decided to perform a statistical examination of Dayton Miller's data, he demonstrated that the sheer coherence and statistical consistency of Miller's vast body of observations was such that it couldn't be dismissed as being "spurious" or "systematically flawed" (as Miller's opponents had argued, eventually throwing his entire body of work into disrepute). In short, Miller's data had shown that there was a most regular DIURNAL dissymmetry between civil time and sidereal time - and that this dissymmetry also manifested itself over a six-month periodic sinusoidal curve (peaking at the March 21 and September 21 equinoxes).

Here is an extract from the Maurice Allais Foundation's website:

Source: Fondation Maurice Allais

Now, as I have highlighted in the above screenshot, Dayton Miller was seeing “diurnal variations in the speed of light of an amplitude of about 8 km/h”. This “8 km/h” variation in the diurnal speed of light immediately caught my attention. Could this value possibly be “off” by one decimal? Was that 'diurnal variation' perhaps 0.8km/h - instead of 8km/h? Well, as I reached the end of Fuerxer’s paper about Dayton Miller's experiments I found the below-cited, most fascinating statement. To appreciate its full significance, you must know that it is widely claimed that most of all interferometer experiments (e.g. those of Michelson and Morley) yielded "NULL" results. This is simply not true: in reality, many of the interferometer experiments yielded similar and comparable positive results. The only "problem" was that NONE of them confirmed the expected 30km/s speed of Earth - as of heliocentric theory... Quoting from Pierre Fuerxer's above-linked 2007 paper:

“Tous les interféromètres de Michelson dont le schéma optique est celui de l’interféromètre initial ont donné des résultats comparables.”

“All Michelson-type experiments using the optical scheme of his original interferometer have yielded comparable results.”

The results of most of the various Michelson-type experiments performed over the years have, as shown by Fuerxer, detected a "speed-of-light variation" of around 8x10-10, whereas other such rigorous experiments (e.g. Kennedy-Thorndike and Ernest Esclangon) yielded a marginally smaller value of 7x10-10. Put simply, Fuerxer's conclusions are that several such experiments had pretty much agreed with each other. This contradicts the widespread notion (in academic / relativistic circles) that the various interferometer experiments yielded conflicting, inconsistent or even "null” results - or/and were afflicted by systematic errors (caused by temperature variations or whatnot).

To clarify, in scientific annotation, 8x10-10 simply means 0.0000000008, while 7x10-10 means 0.0000000007. For the sake of the following calculus, I will use the mean, averaged value of these two figures (representing the purported "speed-of-light variations" detected by these various experiments): 0.0000000008 + 0.0000000007 / 2 = 00000000075

Speed of light ("c"): 299792.5km/s

299792.5km/s x 0.00000000075 = 0.000224844km/s

Converting km/s to km/h, we have 0.000224844 x 3600 = 0.809439 km/h. (i.e. what was interpreted as the average diurnal variation of "c" observed in several distinct / unrelated interferometer experiments). Once more, this is very close to my 0.8 km/h MVC (“Mean Variation Coefficient”)!

Another accidental coincidence, perhaps? You be the judge. In any case, it would certainly appear that a number of diverse yet congruent - and thus significant - interferometer experiments (subsequent to the 'triumph' of Einstein's theories) have been ignored or 'overlooked' by the world's scientific community. We may thus outline as follows the current state of affairs concerning the various attempts at measuring the Earth's translational speed:

  • NONE of the various interferometer experiments produced "null" results. Hence, Einstein's GR was experimentally falsified.

  • NONE of the results obtained, however, indicated anywhere near the supposed hypersonic speed ("30km/s") of Earth around the Sun .

  • The results obtained by various interferometer experiments (with regards to the detections of what were interpreted as diurnal variations of the speed of light) would seem to support the TYCHOS model's proposed translational speed of 1.6km/h.

If Earth only moves at 1.6 km/h, covering only 7018 km every six months and 14036 km annually, this would go to explain why it has been so difficult to measure its orbital speed - and to detect any stellar parallaxes. As it is, almost all astronomy debates and controversies over the last few centuries have been centered around minuscule variations or 'inequalities'. It is time to start asking ourselves whether these infinitesimal celestial motions are due, quite simply, to the snail-paced motion of the Earth. I suggest we should all get up to speed (pun intended) about the tranquil motion of our planet; after all, this blissful slowness may well be an essential prerequisite to the very existence of life on Earth.

ADDENDUM dedicated to all skeptics

To round off this chapter, I'd like to address some basic issues concerning our world's motions. This 'meditative' section is dedicated to Copernicans, Geocentrists, Concave Earthers and Flat Earthers alike - all of which will naturally have objections with regards to the TYCHOS model's proposed motions of the Earth. Every person walking on this Earth is of course - and by all means - entitled to hold on to their preferred world views, but if rationality is your cup of tea, you may hopefully consider and appreciate what follows with an open and objective mind.

Firstly, we need to make a firm distinction between the translational and the rotational motions of the Earth. Countless diverse experiments have been successfully conducted, consistently proving the rotational motion of our planet around its axis; this solid determination, however, stands in stark contrast with the many attempts to measure the Earth's supposed, hypersonic translational speed around the Sun.

It is absolutely crucial to distinguish between the following, wholly different experimental enterprises performed over the centuries:

1: The experiments performed to try and measure Earth's translational motion, i.e. Earth's supposed speed of 30 km/s - or 107226 km/h (or 90X the speed of sound!) as it purportedly hurtles around the Sun - as implied by the heliocentric theory (ALL such experiments having utterly failed to detect or confirm this expected, hypersonic velocity). There simply isn't ANY scientific, experimental - or much less empirical evidence - in support of the Earth's purported revolution around the Sun. Period.

2: The experiments performed to measure Earth's diurnal, 24-hour rotation, most of all having successfully confirmed the same. The body of evidence in support of Earth's daily rotation around its polar axis - at the sluggish rate of 0.000694 rpm - is truly overwhelming, and ranks among the most robust experimental determinations ever attained by the human mind (Flat Earthers notwithstanding...). After all, we can empirically observe that all of the visible planets and moons in our skies rotate around their axes - and this fact is truly beyond dispute.

As mentioned earlier in this book, it was Tycho Brahe's trusty assistant Longomontanus who, in his voluminous treatise Astronomia Danica, eventually allowed for the diurnal rotation of Earth. His master had, for some reason, held on to the idea that Earth was completely motionless, yet (and as few people may know) some text books suggest that he had in fact, by the end of his life, accepted that Earth's polar axis (and not the entire firmament) revolved once every 24 hours. Geocentrists, on the other hand, still hold on today to the notion that all the stars revolve in unison around the Earth each day, something that I personally find quite unlikely - to say the least...

On the science discussion forum, we may find this good question submitted by one of its members (back in 2013):

"Why can a Sagnac Interferometer see the rotation of the earth, but a Michelson Interferometer can't see orbital speed? Could someone with knowledge of Relativity explain why a Sagnac Interferometer can plainly see the rotation of the earth (or at least a rotating reference frame of 1 day), yet the Michelson Interferometer can not detect the earth's translational motion around the sun. There seems to be a paradox here and I can't see a mathematical or theoretical way out of it. If there is no Aether....then how can the Sagnac Interferometer see the earth's rotation and at the same time the Michelson Interferometer can't see translational motion?" Waverly Marsh -

You may be curious to go to that forum discussion and read the many tentative answers that Mr Marsh has received over the years. As far as I can tell, none of these answers provide any sort of intelligible or compelling explanation as to why it has proved impossible to this day to determine that the Earth revolves around the Sun (at Mach 90!) - whereas its diurnal axial rotation can be experimentally detected in countless ways.

I can now hear someone ask: "If the Earth spins once daily around its axis, why don't we get flung out in space by the resulting centrifugal force?" In fact, I well remember asking myself this very same question as a child. I much later realized that the centrifugal force that I could feel in a children's merry-go-round was due to the small diameter of the same - in relation to its rotational speed. To dispel this childish and commonplace notion (of the "massive centrifugal force" that our Earth's rotation would exert on us) here's a simple experiment that you may perform in the comfort of your own home:

Grab an orange in your kitchen. Sit down on a chair, and start spinning the orange around its axis very, veeeery slowly... In fact, you will have to patiently sit there for as many as 24 hours to complete one single rotation of your orange! Now, imagine if a mosquito had landed on your orange whilst you were spinning it: do you think it would have been violently flung out in your kitchen - due to the centrifugal force exerted by the rotating orange?

In plain physical terms, what has to be considered is that Earth revolves around its axis at the extremely sluggish rate of 0.000694 rpm!

That's just simple maths: 1/1440 (i.e. 1 rotation every 1440 min / or 24h) = 0.000694 rpm

To put this into perspective, if you take a ride on a children's merry-go-round with a diameter of 12.756 meters (i.e. ONE MILLION times smaller than the Earth's diameter of 12 756 000 meters), that merry-go-round would have to spin ONE MILLION times slower than the Earth - in order to match the centrifugal force exerted upon our bodies by the Earth's rotation. Since the Earth's rotational speed (at the equator) is about 1674 km/h, your merry-go-round would have to move at 1674 km/h / 1 000 000 = 0.001674 km/h - or 1.674 meters per hour! That's roughly 30 times slower than your average snail's top speed! I hope that this will put to rest, once and for all, the notion that the centrifugal force of the Earth's rotation should cause people to be flung out in space...

For a better understanding of how Earth's rotation around its axis can be detected and measured experimentally, this explicative 2011 article by Doug Marett is a great place to start: "Detecting Earth's Rotation Through Space Using a Large Area Sagnac Interferometer" - by Doug Marett (2011)

We shall now proceed and see how the TYCHOS model can readily demystify the most unspoken (and/or poorly excused) aberration of heliocentric astronomy. Namely, the "mystery" of the regularly observed NEGATIVE stellar parallaxes. Under the Copernican model, NEGATIVE stellar parallaxes could not possibly exist. In the TYCHOS, on the other hand, their existence and regular occurrence are to be fully expected.