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The Shape of the Earth

  • D. G. King-Hele

The aim of the Duke of Edinburgh's Lectures is ‘to extend the horizons of navigational interest’. I have been able to interpret this literally, for if you extend these horizons far enough, what do you arrive at but the subject of this lecture, the shape of the Earth? It is a subject which has been revolutionized in the past five years by analysis of the orbits of artificial satellites: the two years from 1958 to 1960 saw more progress than the previous 200 years, and since 1960 the pace of progress has shown no sign of slackening.

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1Todhunter, I.A History of the mathematical theories of attraction and the figure of the Earth. (Macmillan, London, 1873) I, vi.
2Cassini, J.De la Grandeur et de la Figure de la Terre. (Paris, 1720) p. 243.
3Todhunter, I.De la Grandeur et de la Figure de la Terre. 1, 243.
4Voltaire, , (1737). Discours de la Modération, lines 47–8.
5 References to the original papers are given by Jones, H. Spencer, “Dimensions and Rotation”, p. 6, in The Earth as a Planet (ed. Kuiper, G. P.) (Chicago, 1954).
6Jeffreys, H.The Earth (3rd ed., C.U.P. 1952), p. 184.
7King-Hele, D.Satellites and Scientific Research (2nd ed., Routledge, 1962) Chap. IV.
8King-Hele, D. G., Cook, G. E., and Rees, J. M. (1963). Geophys Journ. 8, 119.
9King-Hele, D. G. (1961). Geophys. Journ., 4, 3.
10Shelkey, M. J. (1962). U.S. Naval Weapons Lab. Rpt. 1807.
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12Michielsen, H.Advances in the Astronautical Sciences, Vol. 8 (Plenum Press, New York, 1963).
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14Smith, D. E.Planet. Space Sci., 8, 43 (1961) and II, 789 (1963).
15Newton, R. R., Hopfield, H. S. and Kline, R. C. (1961). Nature, 190, 617.
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18Izsak, I. G. (1963). Nature, 199, 137–9.
19Guier, W. H. (1963). Nature, 200, 124.
20Borrow, G.Lavengro (London, 1851) Chap. 30. For this quotation I am indebted to Cdr. T. Manders.
21O'Keefe, J. A. Paper presented at Conference on Artificial Satellites, Blacksburg, Virginia, August, 1963.
22Darwin, G. H.The Tides (Murray, London, 1898).
23Wise, D. U. (1963). Journ. Geophys. Res., 68, 1547.
24Darwin, E.The Botanic Garden (Johnson, London, 1791) I, ii, 77–9.
25Thaddeus, P. Paper presented at Symposium on Satellite Meteorology, London, September, 1963. Journ. Brit. Interplan Soc. (in the press).
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The Journal of Navigation
  • ISSN: 0373-4633
  • EISSN: 1469-7785
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-navigation
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