Hi everyone i am reading the Scifi classic Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon. The Second chapter starts with the following paragraph:

"WHILE I was thus contemplating my native planet, I continued to soar through space. The Earth was visibly shrinking into the distance, and as I raced eastwards, it seemed to be rotating beneath me. All its features swung westwards, till presently sunset and the Mid–Atlantic appeared upon its eastern limb, and then the night. Within a few minutes, as it seemed to me, the planet had become an immense half-moon. Soon it was a misty, dwindling crescent, beside the sharp and minute crescent of its satellite."

The author says that he heads eastwards while the Earths features swing Westword and the Atlantic appears from east ! Now considering the Earth rotates anti-clockwise relatively to Polaris, how is that possible? Shouldnt the Atlantic appear from West? How can the Earth swing Westwards if it rotates anti-clockwise? Please shed some light.. Thanks


I don't think he's saying Earth rotates to the West. He's on a trajectory eastwards that just makes it look as if Earth is rotating the other way. He's moving much faster than Earth's rotation speed. The lack of outside references makes it difficult to judge your trajectory in space.

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    $\begingroup$ I concur and would add that if the planet was apparently shrinking into the distance as it appeared to rotate westward, the narrative would be consistent with a conventional prograde launch. $\endgroup$ – Anthony X Apr 26 '15 at 23:07

His words "seemed to be rotating beneath me" indicates the apparent rotation of Earth, so he has "launched" from England at night time, moving east, and the ground appears to be moving in a westerly direction behind him.

His mention of the mid-atlantic, then the night, indicates he's already made a full rotation around the Earth in this time, ascending in a spiral path. (I don't interpret this as an orbit, as this is a work of fantasy.)


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