A Glass of Water

The surface of the water in a glass of water is practically flat. Some flat-Earthers claim this is ‘evidence’ that the surface of the water is flat, and it will always be flat no matter how wide the container. They are wrong.

If the Earth is a sphere with the radius of 6371 km (3960 miles), then the surface of the water in a 10 cm (4 in) wide glass will have a bulge of 0.00000002 cm as the result of gravity, excluding other effects like the surface tension.

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The Directions of Up and Down

The directions of up and down are determined from the direction of the Earth’s gravitational acceleration. Up is in the opposite direction, and down is in the same direction as the Earth’s gravitational acceleration.

Flat-Earthers are often seen making fun of this fact. They show us ‘upside down’ pictures taken in the southern hemisphere. They are wrong. To anyone in the southern hemisphere, down is in the same direction as the Earth ‘s gravitational acceleration, the same as anyone in the northern hemisphere.

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How Satellites Can Orbit and Stay Up There

If Earth’s gravity pulls everything towards the Earth, then how can satellites stay up there and are not falling towards the Earth?

The answer is that satellites orbit the Earth. They have the correct velocity with respect to Earth’s position and gravitational pull.

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The Earth is Spherical and The Mississippi River Never Flows Uphill Anywhere

The Mississippi River never flows uphill, or in other words, ascend to a location farther from sea level anywhere in the Mississippi River basin.

Flat-Earthers often claim that if the Earth is spherical, then the Mississippi River will have to flow uphill to overcome the curvature of the Earth. They are wrong.

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Neptune and Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation

Unlike other planets that were found by empirical observation, Neptune was found by mathematical prediction involving Newton’s law of universal gravitation.

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The Hypothesized Graviton and Flat-Earthers’ Zeal to Disprove Gravity

Some flat-Earthers mentioned the fact that graviton —the mediating particle of gravitation— is ‘not yet observed’. They took this fact as ‘proof’ that gravity does not exist.

Often they would triumphantly show us screenshots of the table of fundamental particles they took from Wikipedia and other sources. In the ‘gravitation’ column, they would point out its mediating particle has not been observed yet. And they would conclude that scientists are aware gravity does not exist, and we all have been lied to.

Obviously, they are wrong on all accounts.

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Free Fall

Things fall down because of gravity. The mass of the Earth causes everything to fall down at 9.8 m/s² near the surface of the Earth. This constant is called ‘gravitational acceleration’ and usually denoted by ‘g’.

Most flat-Earthers deny the existence of gravity. According to them, things fall down because of density or buoyancy, not gravity. They are wrong.

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The Earth is Spherical and The Amazon Never Flows Uphill Anywhere

The Amazon never flows uphill, or in other words, ascend to a location farther from sea level anywhere in the Amazon basin.

Flat-Earthers often claim that if the Earth is spherical, then the Amazon will have to flow uphill to overcome the curvature of the Earth. They are wrong.

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Equipotential: a Property of the Surface of Water

Gravity causes water to seek the lowest potential, which can be simplified as the position as close as possible to the Earth’s center of gravity. As a result, the surface of the water will have equipotential surface and form an approximately spherical surface which has the same center as the Earth. Every location along the surface has the same potential.

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Hot Air Balloon and the Force of Gravity

A hot air balloon rises because it has buoyancy. Buoyancy is the upward force that is exerted on the trapped hot air because its density is lower than the surrounding air. If buoyancy is greater than the force of gravity — or the weight of the balloon—, then the balloon will rise.

The basic physics escape most flat-Earthers. To them, the fact that a hot-air balloon rises is an ‘evidence’ that gravity does not exist. They believe things go up or down because of density. They are wrong.

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Tide

The topic of tide come up frequently in the flat-Earth community. Let’s examine some of the ‘issues’ they brought up about tides in Q&A format.

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Surface of Water and Communicating Vessels

Gravity is not the result of a particular shape of an object. It is caused by mass. All objects with mass exert gravity to each other. The larger the mass of an object, the greater the force of gravity.

On Earth, water forms a spherical surface which has the same center as the Earth. It applies to every surface of fluid which is under influence by Earth’s gravity, unaffected by another force. In a 10 cm wide container, the amount of curvature is only 0.0000002 mm. It is the reason the surface appears flat in small containers.

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The False Analogy of a Spinning Tennis Ball

The mass of the Earth exerts the gravitational acceleration of about 9.82 m/s² to everything on Earth’s surface toward the center of the Earth. On the other hand, the rotational motion of the Earth generates the centrifugal acceleration of about 0.03 m/s² away from the Earth. The net acceleration is about 9.79 m/s² toward the center of the Earth. That is why everything on Earth’s surface stays on the surface, not flying away to space.

Flat-Earthers often make a false comparison using a wet & spinning ball. Water on the surface of a wet & spinning ball does not stick to the ball, but the Earth is also round, wet, and spins, yet everything stays on the surface. Then they make the erroneous conclusion that the Earth cannot be a spinning ball.

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Isaac Newton and The Law of Universal Gravitation

Isaac Newton formulated the law of universal gravitation which explained the motion of all celestial bodies in space known at his time. Also, he demonstrated that it is the same law that is causing everyday objects to fall to Earth.

Newton wrote that he had not been able to discover the reason for the phenomenon of gravity. Flat-Earthers use this as “proof” that he lied and he did not know anything about gravity, and that gravity was a mere fabrication. They are wrong. Gravity adequately explained the motion of all celestial bodies and the fact that everyday objects are falling to Earth. Newton simply did not know what is causing it.

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