Variability of Atmospheric Refraction

In most situations, atmospheric refraction bends light downwards and causes objects to appear higher than they actually are. The strength of atmospheric refraction is not constant. It depends on weather condition and varies on the different seasons, different days, and even different times of the day.

Because of the variability of atmospheric refraction, a distant object that is usually obstructed by Earth’s curvature can sometimes be visible. Some flat-Earthers would cherry-pick moments when the object is visible. They would show such specific moments to everyone and use them to “disprove” Earth’s curvature; happily ignoring the cases where Earth’s curvature partly or entirely obstructs the object.

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The Dark Sky on the Lunar Daytime

On Earth, daylight sky is glowing in bright blue due to Rayleigh scattering. Sunlight is scattered in every direction by the oxygen and nitrogen molecules in Earth’s atmosphere.

Such the phenomenon does not happen on the Moon, causing the dark sky of the Moon. Flat-Earthers claim that the dark sky of the Moon captured by photos and videos taken from the Moon are “proof” there is misconduct. They are wrong. Just because Earth’s sky is bright blue, it does not mean it will be like that on the Moon and other planets.

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Infrared Vision

When we are unable to see a distant object, then it is due to one of these reasons:

  • Our eyes lack the sufficient angular resolution to recognize the object.
  • Atmospheric condition limits visibility.
  • The object is far enough and obscured by Earth’s curvature.

Some flat-Earthers like to show that a previously unseen distant object can be brought into view using infrared vision. They would take that as ‘evidence’ of the non-existence of Earth’s curvature. They are wrong. Infrared vision can reveal hidden objects caused by visibility limitations, but not ones obscured by Earth’s curvature.

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Sunglint is a phenomenon that occurs when sunlight reflects off the surface of a water body —like the ocean— at the same angle as an observer is viewing the surface. In the affected area, relatively smooth ocean water becomes a silvery mirror.

In the flat-Earth model, the Sun is assumed to be a ‘local light source.’ They like to use a spotlight or a flashlight as an analogy. They present the sunglint phenomenon as ‘evidence’ of the fact that sunlight is local. They are wrong.

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The Moon in Daytime and the ‘Transparent Moon’ Misconception

Earth’s atmosphere scatters sunlight in every direction. Bluish colors are scattered stronger than reddish tones. As a result, the sky is glowing in bright blue during the day. The phenomenon is called the Rayleigh scattering.

Sometimes the Moon is visible during the day. The bright part of the Moon is bright because it is lit by the sunlight. On the other hand, its dark part does not receive sunlight, and thus barely emit any light. Because of these reasons, the dark part of the Moon is dominated by the blue color of the sky.

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Fraunhofer Lines

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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Shadow on Clouds

Before sunrise or after sunset, the Sun is below the horizon and not directly visible. But the sky and clouds above are illuminated because they are high above, and sunlight can reach them.

If there’s a mountain between the Sun and the clouds, it can cast a shadow on the clouds. The flat-Earth model assumes the Sun is always high above, and thus, this phenomenon cannot possibly occur in a flat-Earth.

The fact that a mountain can cast its shadow on clouds far above it is evidence that the Earth is spherical.

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Sun Glare Makes the Sun Appear Larger

The Sun has the angular size of approximately 0.53° seen from Earth, and it is practically constant throughout a single day. But sunlight is very intense and result in a glare that surrounds the Sun. Because of the intensity, we are unable to distinguish the Sun from its glare.

During a sunset, the intensity of sunlight is lower due to the fact that sunlight has to traverse Earth’s atmosphere at an angle. Because of the reduced intensity, the amount of glare will also be reduced, and the Sun can look as if it is shrinking.

Flat-Earthers often use this phenomenon as ‘evidence’ of a receding Sun during a sunset. They are wrong.

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Atmospheric Refraction

Light waves are not always moving in a straight line. When it passes through a medium of a different refractive index, the waves will deviate. The phenomenon is called refraction and described according to Snell’s Law.

Earth’s atmosphere has variation in air density that depends on the altitude. As the refractive index changes with the density of the medium, light waves passing through Earth’s atmosphere also experience refraction.

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Earthshine Proves the Moon Obscures the Sun During a Total Solar Eclipse

During a total solar eclipse, the Moon is right between the Earth and the Sun. Thus, the near side of the Moon does not receive any sunlight. But while it is dark, it still gets some light reflected by the surface of the Earth. This phenomenon is called Earthshine.

Some flat-Earthers argue that a solar eclipse is not caused by the blocking of the Sun by the Moon, but by another, mysterious celestial body. The reason is that eclipses are incompatible with their beliefs about the motion of the Sun and the Moon.

Earthshine proves that they are wrong.

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Selenelion: The Phenomenon Where The Sun and Moon Are Visible During a Total Lunar Eclipse

“The Sun and the Moon have been observed to appear in the sky at the same time during a total lunar eclipse. This cannot happen if the Earth is round because the Sun, Earth and Moon are supposed to be in a straight line during a total lunar eclipse. So, the globe Earth model is wrong!”

Some flat-Earthers observed the Sun and Moon appear at the same time during a total lunar eclipse. Predictably enough, they pick the most far-fetched explanation, and conclude the Earth is not round. But in reality, this phenomenon is well documented and clearly explained.

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