Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Animation of the 1736-7 expedition to measure a degree of the meridian. The French Academy of Sciences sent mathematician Pierre Maupertuis to Finland, to measure a degree of the meridian at the Arctic Circle. Another expedition was sent to Peru to take measurements along the meridian at the equator. The purpose was to settle the conflict between the theories of Newton and Descartes. Newton thought the Earth was shaped like an orange, because the centrifugal force leads to the Earth swelling out at the equator and flattening at the poles. Descartes thought the Earth, spinning on its own axis, was shaped like a lemon. The measurements taken verified Newton's theory.

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Measuring a degree of the meridian, 1736

K004/4330 Rights Managed

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Duration: 00:00:10

Frame size: 1920x1080

Frame rate: 25

Audio: No

Format: QuickTime, Photo JPEG 100%, progressive scan, square pixels

File size: 367.9M

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Capture format: Digital Rostrum

Codec: TIFF

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