Around 500 B.C., the Pythagoreans were among the first to imagine a geo–decentric world system.
Their Universe was focused on a central fire, and Earth was balanced by its ideal, perfect counterpart: Antichthon.
Although rendered superfluous by the insights of Copernicus and Kepler, it might exist thanks to the principle of Lagrange.
Yet, we do not know.
PART 1: EQUILIBRIUM
Pythagoras and his students were the first to take up mathematics around 500 B.C. They developed a cosmology which was the first to argue that the Earth was not the center of the universe. To keep the Earth’s movement in balance, they needed a Counter–Earth, and therefore proposed the existence of «Antichthon» (Greek for «Counter–Earth»).
Counter-Earth was not just a device invented to balance and explain the universe. It also became an imaginative receptacle for things that were impossible on Earth. In this sense, it was similar to Arcadia or Mount Olympus.
Antichthon was imagined as beautiful, fertile, and immeasurably large, as an ancient, eternal, and ethereal place, a place of endless opportunity, diversion, and vice, and as a cradle of the arts, sport, and sciences. This notion was carried over into medieval culture.
Antichthon was also present in Christian theology, though not in any verbalized, concrete form. God, which we do not know, was posited as counterweight, an omnipresent, omnipotent, and impartial companion. God is the ensign for the absent, the invisible, the «other».
And He dwells in heaven—on Antichthon.
COPERNICUS, KEPLER, AND LAGRANGE
By the Renaissance, both philosophers and scientists had abandoned Antichthon as there was no need for a Counter-Earth in the Copernican world model.
Galileo Galilei was condemned for arguing that the Earth itself was in motion, and Antichthon retained its theological role as an outdated, pre-Christian cipher for both heaven and hell.
In 1609, Johannes Kepler rendered the system dynamic by describing the rules governing the movement of the spheres. In 1772, Joseph-Louis Lagrange elaborated the theory by pinpointing five locations in the Sun–Earth system at which all gravitational forces cancel each other out. Lagrange point L3 is not visible from the Earth, but was assumed to be the exact location of Antichthon.
And so, in the 18th century, Antichthon’s orbit became calculable and its existence would have once again fitted in with the cosmology of the age. All that was lacking was the philosophical need.
Rolex Datejust models of Replica Watches are the true example of excellent craftsmanship that rules the million hearts all over the world. It takes more than a year and a half to put together all the 220 minutes inner pieces into the timepiece, which is done by expert hands to accomplish the task systematically. Indeed, more than four hundred operations and detailing works are conducted only on the central plate. The final rolex replica uk product is brought to market after some tests and inspections. The attention towards perfection has made the Rolex line of copy watches an epitome of class, elegance, and social standard. Rolex Datejust Ladies watches are exceptionally designed to suit every style. This can also be a perfect gift for the special one in your life.
A GLIMPSE BEHIND THE SUN
It took another 300 years until in 2006, NASA launched two probes which, traveling in opposite directions, veered away from the Earth, passing both in front of and behind its orbit around the Sun.
Intended for the stereographic study of the Sun, the two dichotomous probes are equipped with synchronized cameras. When they left Earth, they had a brief glimpse behind the Sun, at last affording us a chance to look out for Antichthon.
But nothing was found there, at least nothing larger than a few hundred kilometers across.
PART 2: EXPEDITION
ANTICHTHON EXISTS AGAIN
Today, Counter-Earth is real once again. A receptacle for our wishes and perceptions of the ideal, it is waiting to stimulate our imagination. But this time, we are not fantasizing. We are imagining Antichthon based on what we know about objects in the solar system.
Antichthon is the size of a small moon or asteroid, and therefore has little gravity and no atmosphere. It is made of rock and sand, and might even contain water. It might harbor a plant species believed to exist in the vacuum of space.
Most probably it is an uninhabited, barren place—not at all what the Greeks imagined it to be.
THE MARTIAN MOON PHOBOS
Phobos measures about 10 km across and is well documented. It is therefore an ideal proxy for Antichthon. We substituted Phobos for the Antichthon that has not been disproved, and imagined going on an expedition to Phobos in order to see what Antichthon might look like.
WE CHOOSE TO GO TO ANTICHTHON.
Under the Full Moon on Mount Etna, and on the southern flank of the Furka Pass we found landscapes and lighting conditions that might resemble Phobos and mimic Antichthon.
PART 3: EPILOGUE
LAST OR FIRST APPROACH
Around 2012, the STEREO probes will arrive behind the Sun. By then, their mission will have been accomplished, but they will remain operational, since their power source is the Sun.
We have asked NASA to point STEREO’s cameras so that the question of Antichthon can be resolved once and for all.
The answers are pending.