Roman marker used to measure Earth found in Italy

Published on February 4th, 2013 | by Sevaan Franks

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Researchers in Italy have found the marble marker once used to measure the shape of the Earth in the 19th century.

Placed there by Father Angelo Secchi (1818-1878), a pioneer of astrophysics, the marker consisted of a small travertine slab with a metallic plate in the middle. The plate featured a hole at its center.

“The hole was the terminal point of the geodetic baseline which run in the ancient Appian Way near Rome, between the tomb of Cecilia Metella, a daughter of a Roman consul, and a tower near Frattocchie,” Tullio Aebischer, a cartographical consultant at the department of mathematics and physics of Roma Tre University, told Discovery News.

Geodesy is a science that deals with the size and shape of the Earth and the determination of exact positions on its surface. Essentially the figure of the Earth is abstracted from its topographical features — and a baseline is the fundamental requirement for computing the triangulation of a region.

[Full story]

Story: Rosella Lorenzi, Discovery News | Photo: Discovery News

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