Jupiter has four moons (Io, Europa, Ganymede, & Callisto) that we can easily observe using a binocular or telescope. They are the first objects found to orbit another, proving it is possible for a satellite to orbit planets other than Earth.
Flat-Earthers like to demand evidence of an object orbiting another. All they have to do is use a telescope to observe Jupiter. Its moons have short orbital periods (1.8 to 16.7 days), & thus, it is not hard to observe the orbiting motion.
Continue reading “Galilean Moons: First Objects Observed to Orbit Another Object”
An analemma is an image or diagram showing the change in the position of the Sun in the sky, seen from a fixed location on Earth, at the same time every day, over the course of a year.
The north-south component of an analemma results from the change in the Sun’s declination due to the tilt of Earth’s axis of rotation. The east-west component results from the non-uniform rate of change of the Sun’s right ascension, governed by the combined effects of Earth’s axial tilt and orbital eccentricity.
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In a very casual observation, Polaris appears stationary in the sky because it is very far & we do not live nearly long enough.
Flat-Earthers use that Polaris always appears in the exact location as “evidence” of a stationary Earth. In reality, it does not appear in motion the same way mountains do not appear to move if we move less than an inch.
Continue reading “Polaris Distance and How It Does Not Appear to Move”
In 1922, Albert Einstein gave the speech “How I Created the Theory of Relativity” at Kyoto University. Flat-Earthers took a sentence fragment from his speech and quoted him out of context. It became a hoax as if Einstein believed a stationary Earth.
By reading the entire paragraph to understand the context, it is clear that Einstein did not mean Earth is stationary. He understands that Earth is in motion around the Sun.
Continue reading “Quote Mined Einstein Statement”
Because Earth is a sphere moving around the Sun, we can easily see the Milky Way’s center only in certain months. In other months, the Milky Way will be too close to the Sun in the sky, where sunlight will overwhelm and obscure it from view.
Flat-Earthers claim that the Milky Way is visible every night “proves” a flat Earth. In reality, we are inside the Milky Way, and some parts will be visible. However, a specific part of it, like its brighter center, will not be visible every night.
In astronomy, we use a celestial coordinate system to specify the position of celestial objects, like satellites, planets, stars, etc. Each of the coordinate systems has an origin, which can be the observer (topocentric), Earth (geocentric), the Sun (heliocentric), the Moon (selenocentric), or any other location. We choose a specific coordinate origin according to convenience and suitability for the problem at hand.
Some coordinate systems are described as “geocentric,” and flat-Earthers use it as “proof” of geocentrism, or that Earth is stationary and the center of the universe. In reality, it is just the origin of the coordinate. “Geocentric” here means Earth is the origin of the coordinate system. As we live on Earth, a geocentric coordinate is useful for many purposes.
Continue reading “Geocentric Coordinate System Does not Imply Geocentrism”
Planets are in motion around the Sun. Sometimes the planets’ positions are aligned that they appear close to each other in the sky, and less frequently, involving more than two planets.
One such alignment of planets occurred in May 2011 where Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter are all appeared close together. Mercury and Venus are closer to the Sun than Earth, while Mars and Jupiter are farther. Flat-Earthers cannot understand how all of these planets can appear close to each other in the sky, and they use it to discredit science. In reality, this diagram can easily explain the general positions of the planets during the phenomenon.
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Earth’s axis of rotation is tilted. The tilt is relative to Earth’s orbital plane. Therefore, it only affects the apparent positions of objects in the solar system, but not that of the distant stars. Both of Earth’s celestial poles still point to the same location in the sky.
Flat-Earthers fail to understand why the stars are unaffected by Earth’s tilt, and they use it to discredit science. In reality, Earth’s axis of rotation is practically constant in the short term, only not perpendicular to Earth’s orbital plane. As a result, it only affects the apparent positions of the Sun, planets, moon, and other objects in the solar system.
Continue reading “Earth Axial Tilt”
Some people are confused that we can see a full moon all night. They expect if the full moon is the result of the opposition of the moon from the sun, then a full moon should be visible only at midnight.
Flat-Earthers with such a spatial cognition problem go a step further and use it to “disprove” spherical Earth. In reality, we can easily explain the phenomenon in the spherical Earth model.
Continue reading “Geometry of a Full Moon”
The plane of the Moon’s orbit around Earth does not coincide with the plane of Earth’s orbit around the Sun. The two orbital planes form an angle of 5.145°. This is the reason an eclipse does not occur every month.
Flat-Earthers claim an eclipse should occur every month, but it does not, and they use it to discredit the science. In reality, they are unaware of the inclinations of the orbits.
Continue reading “Orbital Inclination: The Reason an Eclipse Does Not Occur Every Month”
Earth is tilted relative to its orbital plane. The Northern Hemisphere experiences more sunlight in the months around June. The same is true of the Southern Hemisphere around December. This causes an annual temperature cycle and the seasons.
Flat-Earthers claim the Equator is the hottest place on Earth and use it to disprove Earth’s tilt. In reality, the Equator is not necessarily the hottest place on Earth. Earth’s temperature caused by the axial tilt has an annual cycle and cannot be shown in a single image. Additionally, the Earth is rotating, and therefore the Sun affects the same latitude similarly.
Continue reading “Temperature and Earth’s Axial Tilt”
Planets appear to move near the ecliptic —the line that marks the annual path of the Sun against background stars. From these motions, it is obvious that Venus and Mercury are in motion around the Sun. And the motion of the other planets can only be explained if Earth is in motion around the Sun.
Flat-Earthers claim that Earth is stationary. In reality, from observing the planets’ motion, the most plausible explanation is that all planets, including Earth, are in motion around the Sun.
Stellar parallax is the apparent shift of closer stars against more distant stars due to the orbiting motion of Earth. Negative parallax, or stars going the wrong way— occurs due to measurement errors placing the nearer star as the farther one and vice versa.
Stellar parallax directly proves Earths’ motion around the sun, and flat-Earthers use negative parallaxes to dismiss it. In reality, negative parallaxes are just statistical uncertainties.
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Airy’s Failure was an experiment performed in 1871 in which Sir George Biddell Airy failed to confirm the aether theory by measuring stellar aberration. The phenomenon of stellar aberration, in itself, was the first direct evidence of Earth’s motion around the sun.
Flat-Earthers claim that the “failure” in “Airy’s Failure” is the failure of proving the motion of Earth. In reality, the experiment aimed to confirm the aether theory. The “failure” was in proving the aether theory. The experiment relied on the already accepted knowledge that Earth is in orbit around the sun.
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The Solar System is in motion around the Milky Way galaxy, while the planets in the Solar System are in orbiting motion around the sun. As a result, from an observer outside the Solar System, planets will appear to move in a helical motion. Someone created an animation of this helical motion; it went viral and had a lot of media attention.
Flat-Earthers noticed the animation and use it to reinforce their arguments. They claim if the animation is correct, then stars should appear moving & star trails should be impossible. In reality, the animation does not show us the vast distances to the stars.
Continue reading “Helical Motion of Planets”
Apparent motion is the appearance that celestial objects move due to the motion of Earth. If all the objects that appear in the sky are moving similarly, then it is far more likely that the movement is only apparent and caused by the motion of the observer.
Flat-Earthers claim that the motion of celestial objects “proves” that Earth is stationary, and the celestial objects are moving. By the same “reasoning,” we can conclude that the train we are in is stationary, it is just all the objects outside, as luck would have it, are moving in a very similar fashion.
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Stellar aberration is the apparent shift of stars about their actual positions, depending on the direction Earth is moving in its orbit around the sun. It occurs because the speed of light is finite; it takes time for light to reach the observer.
Stellar aberration was discovered in 1727 by James Bradley. It was the first direct proof of heliocentrism, that Earth is in orbit around the sun.
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Stellar parallax is the apparent shift of the position of a nearby star against the background of distant stars. It is the result of Earth’s orbital motion around the Sun. It is tiny and difficult to observe. Successful measurement of stellar parallax was done only after the 19th century.
Some flat-Earthers claim that stellar parallax has never been successfully observed, and they use it as ‘evidence’ Earth is stationary. In reality, stellar parallax has been successfully measured in 1838 and is now used as the basis for measuring stellar distances.
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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.
Continue reading “Star’s Annual Motion”
Some people are confused that the crescent moon can be visible at night, even though during the time, the Moon is closer to the Sun than Earth, and the part of the Earth is facing away from the Sun.
Many flat-Earthers have the same visualization difficulties, but they take it a step further and use it as ‘evidence’ as a ‘failure’ of science to explain the fact. In reality, the phenomenon can be readily explained in the spherical Earth model.
Continue reading “Geometry of a Crescent Moon”