Kings Dethroned – Gerard Hickson

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A history of the evolution of astronomy from the time of the Roman Empire up to the present day; showing it to be an amazing series of blunders founded upon an error made in the second century B.C.

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In the year 1907 the author made a remarkable discovery which convinced him that the sun was very much nearer to the earth than was generally supposed. The fact he had discovered was demonstrated beyond all doubt, so that he was compelled to believe that— however improbable it might seem— astronomers had made a mistake when they estimated the distance of the sun to be ninety-three millions of miles.

He then proceeded to examine the means by which the sun’s distance had been computed, and found an astounding error in the “ Diurnal Method of Measurement by Parallax,” which had been invented by Dr. Hailey in the early part of the 18th century, and which was used by Sir David Gill in measuring the distance to the planet Mars in 1877 ; from which he deduced his solar parallax of 8.80″.

Seeing that Sir Norman Lockyer had said that the distance to and the dimensions of everything in the firmament except the moon depends upon Sir David Gill’s measurement to Mars, the author set himself the tremendous task of proving the error, tracing its consequences up to the present day, and also tracing it backwards to the source from which it sprang.

The result of that research is a most illuminating history of the evolution of astronomy from the time of the Roman Empire up to April 1922 ; which is now placed in the hands of the people in “ Kings Dethroned.”

The author has taken the unusual course of submitting these new and startling theories for the consideration of the general public because the responsible scientific societies in London, Washington and Paris, failed to deal with the detailed accounts of the work which he forwarded to them in the Spring of 1920. He believes
that every newly-discovered truth belongs to the whole of mankind, wherefore, if those whose business it is to consider his work fail in their duty he does not hesitate to bring it himself direct to the people, assured of their goodwill and fair judgment.

Astronomy has ever been regarded as a study only for the few, but now all its strange terms and theories have been explained in the most lucid manner in “Kings Dethroned,” so that everyone who reads will acquire a comprehensive knowledge of the science.

The author takes this opportunity of assuring the reader that none esteems more highly than he, himself, the illustrious pioneers who devoted their genius to the building of astronomy, for he feels that even while pointing out their errors he is but carrying on their work, striving, labouring even as they did, for the same good cause of progress in the interests of all. On the other hand, he thinks that astronomers living at the present time might have used to better purpose the greater advantages which this century provides, and done all that he himself has done by fearless reasoning, devoted labour; and earnest seeking after truth.