Planets vs Stars

Planets are not stars. On casual observation, both planets and stars appear as bright dots in the night sky. But with careful observation, we know planets are different from the stars.

Flat-Earthers insist that planets are just stars. In reality, we can easily observe many of the planets’ attributes that set them apart from the stars —using minimal efforts and equipment.

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Ursa Minor

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Ursa Minor is a constellation in the Northern Sky. It is traditionally important for navigation because of one of its member stars, Polaris, being the north star. Ursa Minor is always visible north of the 18°N and hidden south of 18°S. Polaris is located very close to the North Celestial Pole, and only visible north of the Equator. The visibility of Ursa Minor and Polaris is only consistent if Earth is a sphere.

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South Star

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The pole star Polaris is used to locate the position of the north celestial pole because it is a bright star that is conveniently located very close to it. However, there is no corresponding bright South Star near the south celestial pole. To locate the south celestial pole, we need to observe stars around it.

There is no South Star as useful as Polaris in the north. Flat-Earthers use it to “disprove” the existence of the south celestial pole, which cannot possibly exist if Earth were flat. In reality, the south celestial pole can be easily shown and located. There is simply no bright star near it.

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Cavendish Experiment

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The Cavendish experiment was the first experiment to measure the force of gravity between masses in the laboratory and the first to yield accurate values for the gravitational constant.

Flat-Earthers are in a constant effort to discredit the Cavendish experiment. They would invent various “explanations” to “explain” the result of the experiments. However, the experiment was not only done once by Henry Cavendish in 1797-1798, and has been replicated numerous times by multiple independent parties for centuries, all yielding consistent results.

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Direction of the Qibla Proves Earth is a Sphere

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Muslims perform their prayers by facing the Qibla —or the direction to the Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The direction of the Qibla is traditionally determined from the direction to the Sun when the Sun is directly overhead the Kaaba. If the Sun is visible during that time, it will indicate the direction of the Qibla.

If the results of the observation are drawn on the so-called ‘flat-Earth map,’ the Qibla will not consistently point to the Kaaba. Only the calculation using the spherical Earth model will give us consistent results that conform to centuries of observation, from various locations on Earth. The reason is that the Earth is a sphere.

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Sunlight Creates Umbral Shadow Smaller than the Object Casting the Shadow

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The sun is a huge light source. It is larger than anything on Earth. As a result, the umbral part of a shadow formed by sunlight will always be smaller than the object casting the shadow.

Flat-Earthers assert that a shadow cannot be smaller than the object casting the shadow. They would use that to “disprove” the scientific explanation about the occurrence of a solar eclipse. In reality, it is not difficult to demonstrate that the umbral part of a shadow can be smaller than the object casting the shadow, especially if the light source is the sun.

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Observing Geostationary Satellites

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Geostationary satellites orbit the Earth with the same rate as Earth’s rotation, 35786 km (22236 miles) above the equator. They are too far and too dim for the naked eye. However, we can observe them using a mounted telescope and a camera.

We can observe many of them by:

  • using an equatorial mount,
  • aiming the telescope at a star that lies in the orbit’s path, and
  • use a camera with a long exposure setting.

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Earth’s Shadow and the Belt of Venus

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Earth’s shadow is the shadow that Earth casts into its atmosphere, toward the opposite point from the sun. Above Earth’s shadow is the Belt of Venus, a pink band from the scattering of sunlight through the atmosphere.

Earth’s shadow lies at the antisolar point —the point opposite the sun. It rises when the sun sets and sets when the sun rises. The phenomenon shows us that the sun really goes below the horizon and disproves the flat Earth model.

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Star’s Annual Motion

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On each day, we can observe stars to drift about 1° in their motion around the celestial pole. In a month, they will appear to have moved about 30° when observed at the same time in the night. In a year, they will be back to their original positions as the same day in the previous year. The observation is the basis of the solar calendar system we are using today.

Some flat-Earthers claimed that the stars appear the same every night, and they would erroneously conclude that the Earth is stationary. In reality, stars are shifting about 1° every day.

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Electromagnetism

The electromagnetic force is a type of physical interaction that occurs between electrically charged particles. Electromagnetism is different from gravity. Both phenomena are real but have different characteristics.

Flat-Earthers refuse to accept gravity, and some of them use electromagnetism in place of gravity to explain the various phenomena that are explained by gravity. In reality, electromagnetism has different characteristic from gravity, and cannot explain the various phenomena that are explained by gravity.

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Toronto

The skyline of Toronto, Canada, is visible from across Lake Ontario, including from the cities of Hamilton and Niagara-on-the-Lake, as well as the Fort Niagara National Park. However, only its upper part is clearly visible, consistent with the spherical Earth model.

The upper parts of the skyline are affected less by atmospheric refraction, and more clearly visible. And the nearer to the horizon, the higher is the effect of atmospheric refraction. There are a few brighter colored buildings that appear above where they should be. These are the phenomenon of looming if they look upright, or superior mirage if they are upside down.

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Magnifying Images Vertically to Reveal Earth’s Curvature

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The horizon appears flat because the curvature is too small when observed from near the Earth’s surface. However, in some cases, we can exaggerate the curve by taking photographs of the horizon and then magnifying the results vertically.

Magnifying in such a way will also magnify the distortions introduced by the camera lens. We will need to control these distortions using proper photography techniques, or by placing a known straight object as a control object in the frame, close to the horizon. If successful, then the remaining curvature in the photograph can only come from the curvature of the Earth.

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Orion

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Orion is a prominent constellation located on the celestial equator, and therefore, visible throughout the world. The angle Orion makes during rising and setting corresponds to the observer’s latitude, and so does its altitude during culmination. All the observations are only consistent if Earth is a sphere.

Flat-Earthers claim the visibility of Orion from the entire world disproves spherical Earth. This only comes from their difficulty in understanding the geometry involved. By understanding Earth’s rotation and where Orion is located, it is not hard to conclude that the visibility of Orion is consistent with the spherical Earth model.

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Offshore Wind Farms and the Curvature of the Earth

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Offshore wind farms consist of a series of large turbines having a similar shape and size. In some cases, they are spread over a very large area of water. They are suitable landmarks where we can easily observe the effect of the curvature of the Earth.

If the turbines are far enough, the bottom parts will not be visible and the blades can look as if they are submerged. The phenomenon is only possible if Earth is a sphere.

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Crux

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The Southern Cross or Crux can be observed from the south of 26°N, and it is always visible south of 26°S. On a flat Earth, it should be visible from the outer parts on Earth at the same time, but not from the central areas, disproving the flat model. The visibility of Crux is only consistent with the spherical Earth model.

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Stars in the Southern Sky: Evidence That the Earth is a Rotating Sphere

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If we look south in any location in the southern hemisphere, we will see the same set of stars. The stars are seen rotating around the south celestial pole, in the Octans constellation, near the star Sigma Octantis.

This phenomenon can never be explained in the flat-Earth model. Looking at the so-called ‘flat-Earth map’, we should see another set of stars on a different location in the southern hemisphere. The reason is that the flat-Earth model is a false representation of the Earth.

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Big Dipper

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The Big Dipper is a bright asterism in the northern celestial sphere. It is always visible north of 41°N and hidden south of 41°S. Flat-Earthers noticed that the Big Dipper is visible all year and use the fact to ‘prove’ a flat Earth. In reality, the visibility of Big Dipper depends on the latitude of the observer.

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Proportions

The Sun is 1,391,016 km (864337 mi) in diameter and 146,600,000 km (93,000,000 mi) from us. These facts are consistent with everyday observations.

Flat-Earthers have a different idea about the distance and the size of the Sun. However, on careful examinations, the numbers are inconsistent with everyday observations.

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Line of Sight: Determining if an Object is Straight or Flat

Light travels in a practically straight line over a short distance. We often use this property of light to determine if an object is flat or straight from visual observation.

Some flat-Earthers start with the wrong assumption that a specific object is flat, then attempt to redefine how our vision works from that. They are wrong. From visual observation, we can determine if an object is flat, not the other way around.

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Polaris Altitude from Multiple Locations on Earth

The angle (or altitude) to Polaris approximately corresponds to the latitude of the observer. This fact is observed on every location on Earth where Polaris is visible.

By tracing the path to Polaris from multiple locations on the flat Earth model, the lines will not point to a consistent position of Polaris. The reason is that the Earth is a sphere and the flat Earth model does not represent reality.

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