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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Proper motion is the apparent motion of stars, caused by the movement of the stars themselves, relative to the solar system. Stars will appear to shift over time, relative to other, more distant stars.
Flat-Earthers assume stars are only in motion around Polaris, or the north celestial pole. They are wrong. Stars have other apparent movements, one of which is proper motion.
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There is a legendary diagram of spherical Earth from flat-Earthers that was made using AutoCAD involving the Pythagorean theorem, flaunting the fact that it is was created “using AutoCAD 2016 with 15-digit precision”™. The diagram is not wrong, but it does not account for the height of the observer and atmospheric refraction. And therefore, it is unsuitable for determining the obstruction of a distant object due to Earth’s curvature.
The numbers in the diagram will give us a much higher number than it should be. If a distant object is visible, but according to the diagram it should not, then flat-Earthers will incorrectly conclude that the Earth is flat.
Continue reading “The Legendary AutoCAD Diagram Involving the Pythagorean Theorem from Flat-Earthers”
Leveling is the process of determining the elevation of a point relative to another point. The curvature of the Earth and atmospheric refraction affect the result of leveling. There are techniques and formulas to correct the effect of Earth’s curvature and atmospheric refraction.
Flat-Earthers assume that construction works like roads, bridges, railways, etc. are built without accounting for Earth’s curvature. They are wrong. The leveling in such works are done in such a way it minimizes the errors due to Earth’s curvature and atmospheric refraction.
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A seismometer is an instrument that responds to ground motions, such as caused by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and explosions.
Seismometers are sensitive but they cannot detect Earth’s motion. Flat-Earthers use this to ‘prove’ the Earth is stationary. They are wrong. A seismometer is mounted on Earth’s surface and is already moving at the same speed as the surface itself. It can only detect motion if there is a change in speed —or an acceleration— exerting a force to the seismometer.
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Measurement error (also called observational error) is the difference between a measured quantity and its true value. A measurement error is not a mistake. Variability is an inherent part of the results of measurements and the measurement process.
Flat-Earthers often point out at ranges of quantities, errors in measurement results, varying results in different attempts of measurement, as well as highlighting the adjectives ‘about’ and ‘approximately’; then present them as ‘proof’ that science does not know it for certain. They are wrong. Any measurement has an error, and it can never be eliminated.
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Measurement can be direct measurement, like measuring length using a measuring tape; or indirect measurement, which is measuring something by measuring another.
Flat-Earthers love to discredit results of measurement which they deem ‘impossible’ or not supporting their beliefs; for example the distance to the Sun, the distance to stars, Sun’s temperature, the orbital and rotational velocity of the Earth, etc. Their usual excuse is that such measurements were not done directly, but indirectly. In reality, most measurement instruments we use every day do their measurements indirectly.
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The apparent size of the Moon remains constant in a single day. This can only happen if the Moon is practically at the same distance all day.
In the flat-Earth model, the Moon is thought to be moving in a circle above the flat Earth. Such a notion should cause the Moon apparent size to vary in a day. However, in reality, the Moon appears in the same size all day, and it proves that the flat-Earth model does not represent reality and that the Moon is much farther.
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A frame of reference consists of an abstract coordinate system and the set of physical reference points that uniquely fix the coordinate system and standardize measurements. Speed or velocity is relative to a frame of reference. It is possible that two speeds/velocities are measured relative to a different frame of reference and thus cannot be directly compared.
Flat-Earthers would often compare two different speed measurements like an airplane moving at 900 km/h (560 mph) and Earth’s surface near the equator at 1674 km/h (1040 mph). They would conclude the airplane should not be able to catch up with Earth’s surface and would not be able to land if the Earth is rotating. They are wrong. The speeds are measured relative to the different frame of reference, and therefore, cannot be compared directly.
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The Sun emits sunrays to every direction. But as the Sun is very far, the sun rays that reach us are practically parallel. To an observer on Earth, the rays of light coming from the Sun form a maximum angle of about 0.53°. They are practically parallel, but not perfectly parallel.
Flat-Earthers often question the fact we say sun rays are parallel, but in any diagram of an eclipse, they are drawn at an angle. They merely confuse practicality with perfection. Sunrays are practically parallel, but they are not perfectly parallel.
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The amount of obstruction of a distant object that is caused by Earth’s curvature depends on:
- The distance of the object.
- The height of the observer.
- The height of the object.
- The magnitude of atmospheric refraction.
Flat-Earthers like to use the visibility of a distant object to prove Earth’s curvature does not exist. Very often, they failed to account for observer’s height and atmospheric refraction, or make other mistakes, like unit conversions errors, distance calculation errors, etc. Once all are considered for, and mistakes are fixed, everything will be consistent with spherical Earth.
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During an equinox (March 20 and September 22-23), the Sun is directly above the equator. If we are on the equator, an upright stick will not have a shadow in the middle of the day.
On any other location, the angle between the stick and the direction of sunlight will be the same as the observer’s latitude.
This fact can only occur if the Earth is a sphere, and only if the Sun is very far relative to the size of the Earth.
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The Schiehallion experiment was an experiment to determine the mean density of the Earth. It involved measuring the tiny deflection of a pendulum due to gravitational attraction from the mountain of Schiehallion, Scotland. The measured deflection was 11.6″ or 0.003°.
Flat-Earthers claim that it is impossible to demonstrate gravity and that it is evidence gravity does not exist. They are wrong. The Schiehallion experiment was one of the first practical experiments of gravity done on Earth.
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In the 11th century, Al-Biruni successfully determined the radius of the Earth. He accomplished that by measuring the dip of the horizon from the top of a hill. From the measurements, he was able to calculate the radius of the Earth.
In the 21st century, we can easily repeat the same experiment with practically no effort. We just need a smartphone and an opportunity to observe the horizon from a high altitude, like during a flight.
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The distance to the Sun was first determined with a good accuracy from worldwide observations of the transit of Venus. A transit of Venus is a phenomenon where Venus passes in front of the Sun. By measuring the time Venus spends crossing in front of the Sun from two or more locations on the surface of the Earth, it is possible to calculate the distance to the Sun.
Flat-Earthers insist that it is impossible to determine the distance to the Sun in the globe model because sun rays are practically parallel. They are wrong. Using simple geometry, the distance to the Sun can be determined from the observations of the transit of Venus.
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The apparent size of the Sun is practically constant throughout the day. This can only happen if the Sun is practically at the same distance all day.
In the flat-Earth model, the Sun is close to the surface at the distance of about 5000 km (3500 miles). The Sun is supposed to be moving in a circle, and it completes the circling motion once in a day. This fact should cause the Sun’s apparent size to change during the day. But it does not happen. The Sun’s constant apparent size is evidence that the flat-Earth model is wrong, and that the Sun is very far away.
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Seismic waves are waves of energy that travel through the Earth’s layers and are a result of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, massive landslides and large human-made explosions. Some types of seismic waves travel through the interior of the Earth and are detected by seismic stations on the other side of the Earth. By analyzing the types of waves that are received by seismic stations, we can determine the interior of the Earth.
Flat-Earthers are often seen saying that it is impossible to determine the interior of the Earth as nobody has gone there. They are wrong. Using seismology, we can determine the interior of the Earth without going there physically.
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Sunlight can be broken into its constituent colors using a prism. The colors are the optical spectrum of the Sun. They are the same colors on rainbows. On careful observation, the spectrum is not perfectly continuous, but it has dark lines scattered over the entire spectrum. It turned out that from the lines, we can tell the composition of the Sun without physically getting there.
Some flat-Earthers think that it is impossible for us to determine the composition of the Sun, as it is impossible for anyone to visit the Sun without getting roasted in the process. They are wrong. The composition of the Sun can be determined from the spectral lines, or more specifically for the Sun: the Fraunhofer lines.
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Anyone who is in the northern hemisphere can observe the star Polaris, located very close to the north celestial pole. As a result, when observed casually, Polaris appears practically stationary in the same position.
Flat-Earthers claim that the fact Polaris appears stationary as ‘evidence’ that the Earth is stationary: if the Earth is in motion, then Polaris should appear in motion too. They are wrong. Polaris appears stationary because it is very far and its motion can’t be visually observed in the scale of a human life.
Continue reading “The Distance to Polaris”