those on the Internet who have been espousing their idea that the axis
of the Earth has changed. The major problem with this idea is, why
haven't the astronomers noticed? Of course, "they're all in on
it". However, you can't control all the millions upon millions of
amateur stargazers in the world. There would be no way to hide
something as significant as the axis shifting from these folks. They'd
be all over it in a heartbeat.
The basic premis of all these claims is simple, that the axis of the Earth has changed from it's known 23.439° to some other value. Some claims are as large as 25 degrees or more, others claim it swishes around from day to day. The reason behind these axial tilts vary. Some claim it has to do with a "polar reversal", an obvious misunderstanding of the very real magnetic field flip that the Earth has experienced in the past. Others connect this shift with Planet X, also known as Nibiru. FYI, I have read Sitchen's books. Still others claim a connection to the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012. For our purposes the reason for this alleged tilt is irrelevant when it comes to proving such an axis shift as erroneous.
The truth is, the axis tilt is measured every day to very high precision, this by default any time someone uses a telescope to track the stars. The motorized mounts of the telescopes, whether they be relatively cheap manually operated scopes to the multi-million dollar behemoths at such places as Cerro Tololo and Mauna Kea, all require precise knowledge of the axial tilt of the Earth and the latitude of the telescope on the planet. If the axis changes by even a small fraction of a degree, these precise instruments would notice this change very quickly by their failure to properly track the objects they are pointed at. Even an amateur astronomer with a modest telescope could detect such a change.
In an endeavor to demonstrate how easy it is to notice this alleged change I have produced a video to show in a graphic fashion why such an axial tilt change cannot go unnoticed. Although this video is focused on a change to 49°, one claim I ran across in a usenet group, the concept of detecting this change is valid for any value different than the known calue of about 23.439°. The results I show from an axis shift would be the same, only differing in a matter of degree (pardon the pun).
The video is available in AVI format encoded with DivX. This should play fine in Windows Media Player on XP and above by default. If you need the codec it can be found at http://labs.divx.com/Codec. Or, check out the totally free VLC Media Player that plays just about everything without needing to install codecs.
640x360 16:9 DivX AVI - 22.2 megs
320x180 16:9 DivX AVI - 8 megs (low quality)
OR WATCH THE FLASH VERSION BELOW