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To paraphrase Sherlock Holmes in one of the stories for most people it does not matter whether the Earth circles the Sun, or both the Earth's Moon - and it would be perfectly possible to have a Halley's comet-centric system/calculations based on an asteroid's moon as the 'centre' of the Solar System.— Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

This is how you get apparently bizarre things like horseshoe orbits. There's a good pair of .gifs on Wikipedia demonstrating the principles. Scarlet A.pngsshole 16:10, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

Which Sherlock Holmes story was it (and the point is relevant even if a fiction-quote)?— Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

The one he is introduced in - A Study in Scarlet:
His ignorance was as remarkable as his knowledge. Of contemporary literature, philosophy and politics he appeared to know next to nothing. Upon my quoting Thomas Carlyle, he enquired in the naivest way who he might be and what he had done. My surprise reached a climax, however, when I found incidentally that he was ignorant of the Copernican Theory and of the composition of the Solar System. That any civilized human being in this nineteenth century should not be aware that the earth travelled round the sun appeared to be to me such an extraordinary fact that I could hardly realize it.

"You appear to be astonished," he said, smiling at my expression of surprise. "Now that I do know it I shall do my best to forget it."

"To forget it!"

"You see," he explained, "I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skilful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order; It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones."

"But the Solar System!" I protested.

"What the deuce is it to me?" he interrupted impatiently; "you say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work."
A Study in Scarlet, Arthur Conan Doyle, Chapter 2

The text is in the public domain, that's why I've copied the whole exchange.--ZooGuard (talk) 07:47, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

When I first heard this song, 'the Sun is a mass of incandescent gas ...' sounded eerily familiar to me. In time, I realized why. The lyrics to this song are taken directly from a book I loved when I was a child: Stars, by Herbert Zim. I'v changed the attribution on the quote accordingly; I'm not sure whether verbatim quotation really qualifies for the term adapted, but erring on the side of credit where it's due seems better than the alternative. --CogitoErgoRaraSum (talk) 23:49, 12 March 2011 (UTC)


Is that part really necessary? The unbusinesslikeman of business 18:31, 28 May 2011 (UTC)