Analemma

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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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Point Source

A point source is a source or reflection of light with a smaller angular size than the angular resolution of the observer. It is visible as a bright dot if bright enough against a dark background but not resolvable, or no detail is discernible.

Flat-Earthers claim the ISS should not be visible like a distant plane is not visible. In reality, aircraft lights can be seen from 60 km in a dark sky but are not resolvable. We can see them because they are point sources on a dark background.

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Lunar Surface: As Dark As Worn Asphalt

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The lunar surface is as dark as worn asphalt. It appears bright at night because everything else is darker. And in photos, its brightness is only a matter of the camera’s exposure settings.

In photos taken on the Moon, its surface looks dark unlike the Moon at night & flat-Earthers dismiss them as fake. In reality, it is just a matter of camera exposure. We can easily turn worn asphalt to look bright in photos by changing the exposure the same way the lunar surface can look bright or dark in photos.

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Satellites in Earth’s Photos

A satellite’s size is as small as a mobile phone to as large as a football field. The largest is 109 m, still far too small compared to Earth at 2742 km in diameter.

Satellites are not visible in Earth images. Flat-Earthers use the fact as “evidence” of deception. In reality, satellites are tiny compared to Earth. They are invisible in Earth images the same way ants are not visible in images of a football field.

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Fisheye Lenses and Lens Distortions

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A photographic lens may have a specific distortion characteristic and strength that may differ from another lens. However, despite the differences, a straight line will always appear straight if it crosses the center of the frame.

Flat-Earthers like to dismiss images taken by a fisheye lens. In reality, the attributes of such a lens are well known. We can use the knowledge to determine if a line in the image is straight, even if it was taken using a fisheye lens.

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Zoom, Digital Resolution, and the Visibility of a Distant Object

A camera with a zoom lens has a variable field of view but a fixed output resolution. As a result, its angular resolution depends on the zoom factor. Changing the zoom factor will change the ability of the camera to resolve a distant object.

Flat-Earthers show us zooming in reveals an unseen object & uses it to “disprove” Earth’s curve. In reality, the object was previously unseen due to the angular resolution limit at wide zoom. It is not far enough to be obscured by Earth’s curvature.

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Multiple Exposure Photos of Balloons and SpaceX StarLink Satellites

To monitor the ozone hole, NOAA launches a balloon every week on several locations on Earth. Scientists who launch the balloons like to create multiple exposure photos of the event. A single balloon appears multiple times in the resulting photos.

Flat-Earthers saw the “many balloons in a row” photos, & they incorrectly use them as the “explanation” of the appearance of the SpaceX Starlink satellites. In reality, the photos are just multiple exposure photos. There is only a single balloon, but taken multiple times and then merged into a single photo.

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Ultra Wide-Angle Lens

An ultra wide-angle lens produces images with an extremely wide angle of view. A lens with a focal length shorter than 24 mm (full-frame equivalent) is considered an ultra wide-angle lens. Ultra wide-angle lenses come in two varieties: rectilinear lens and curvilinear, or fisheye lens.

Because of their wide field of view, Earth’s curvature is easier to observe using an ultra-wide lens. Flat-Earthers incorrectly assumed it means a fisheye lens that distorts straight lines. In reality, there are rectilinear ultra wide-angle lenses that preserve straight lines. With these lenses, if the horizon looks curved, then it must be due to Earth’s curvature itself.

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Zooming-In on the Setting Sun

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Camera zoom works by enlarging the center portion of the image, or in other words, by making its field-of-view narrower. Zooming in on the setting sun will not reveal more of the sun and will only enlarge the size of the sun in the resulting image.

Flat-Earthers claim that zooming in on a setting sun will reveal the full sun and somehow lift it out of the water. In reality, they used incorrect exposure settings, making the sun still above the horizon appear already half-obscured by Earth’s curvature.

Zooming on the setting sun will never reveal the sun already obstructed by Earth’s curvature.

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Defishing Fisheye Images Excessively to Flatten the Curved Horizon

Defishing is a process for removing barrel distortions from fisheye images, producing rectilinear images that preserve straight lines. A different fisheye lens produces a different amount of distortion & needs a different defishing strength.

Flat-Earthers like to apply a stronger defishing parameter than necessary with the goal not to remove the distortions but to make the horizon flat. As a result, they not only remove barrel distortion from the image but also introduce pincushion distortion that straightens the curved horizon.

The horizon in the end image might appear flat. However, it is due to the distortion these flat-Earthers deliberately introduced to the image, not because the horizon is flat.

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Bokeh

In photography, bokeh is the way a lens renders out-of-focus points of light. The shape of bokeh depends on the shape of the lens’s aperture more than the out-of-focus objects themselves.

Flat-Earthers fail to take properly-focused photos of stars and planets because of their lack of photography skills and because their cameras are not suitable for the purpose. They are just getting bokeh, which tells us more about their equipment (and lack of knowledge) than the actual intended objects.

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First Image of Earth From Space Taken By a V-2 Rocket

The first image of Earth from space was taken by the V-2 No. 13 rocket in 1946 using the DeFry 35mm movie film camera and a 50mm lens attached to the rocket. The camera had a relatively narrow field of view. As a result, Earth’s curvature is only very slightly visible.

Flat-Earthers claim the flat appearance in the photo “proves” a flat Earth. In reality, 1. by careful examination, we can see the curve, 2. the camera has a narrow field of view, reducing the visible curvature, 3. the photo shown by flat-Earthers is usually a cropped version, further reducing the visible curve, and 4. the photo matches the expected curvature according to simulation.

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Magnitude of Visible Earth’s Curvature in a Photograph

The magnitude of the curvature that appears in a photograph of Earth’s curvature depends on several factors:

  1. The observer’s altitude.
  2. The camera’s field of view or focal length.
  3. The distortion characteristics of the camera lens.

Flat-Earthers like to dismiss a photo of Earth’s curvature by comparing it to another photo showing a different amount of curvature. In reality, to compare the visible curvature, we need to ensure all the images were taken from the same altitude, same field of view, and account for the lens’ distortion.

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Image Noise and The “Transparent Moon” Misinformation

Image noise is a random variation of brightness or color information produced by a photo film or digital sensor. Image noise is an undesirable by-product of photography and does not come from the actual objects in the picture.

Image noise can be in the salt-and-pepper type, forming bright dots in the dark parts of the image. When appearing in the dark part of the Moon, flat-Earthers incorrectly claim they are stars, “proving” that the Moon is transparent. In reality, these are just image noise, not part of the actual objects.

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Perspective Compression: Determining If a Curvature Exists

By utilizing perspective compression, it will be easier for us to observe the curvature of an object if the object is curved.

Flat-Earthers like to deliberately choose a vantage point where it is difficult to see Earth’s curvature, and they use it to “prove” the curvature does not exist. In reality, they only make it more difficult to see the curvature. It does not mean the curve is not there.

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Observing Earth’s Curvature From a Flight

At the cruising altitude of a jet airliner, Earth’s curvature is too slight for us to notice casually. But with planning and careful observation, it is not impossible to see the curvature. Continue reading “Observing Earth’s Curvature From a Flight”

Modus Operandi of Flat-Earthers to Obtain “Images of Flat Earth” to Deceive Us

If Earth is a sphere, how is it possible for flat-Earthers to show us “images of flat Earth” taken from high-altitude balloons? These are the modus operandi of unscrupulous flat-Earthers to obtain such images in an attempt to deceive us.

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Camera Exposure Settings in the Apollo Missions

Cameras used by Apollo astronauts were equipped with ASA 160 film (equivalent ISO 160 in digital cameras). And they were instructed to use the following camera exposure values: shutter speed 1/250s, aperture f/5.6 (in shadow), and f/11 (sunlit). We can try the same values to everyday scenes and see how they end up in the results.

Stars are not visible in the photos from the Apollo missions, and flat-Earthers use the fact to dismiss them as fake. In reality, by using the same exposure settings as the astronauts used, we cannot get the stars to appear either. Therefore, there is no reason to expect stars to appear in photographs taken by Apollo astronauts.

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Why Fisheye Lenses Are Used

Cameras with a fisheye lens are used in the ISS, high-altitude balloons, rocket bodies, and other purposes. The reason is that fisheye lenses have several advantages over rectilinear lenses.

Flat-Earthers claim there is an evil intention behind the usage of fisheye lenses. In reality, the use of fisheye lenses is not unreasonable. If it is desired to have a rectilinear image output, then it is not hard to defish fisheye images to rectilinear ones..

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Shadows in Photographs Taken on the Moon

Flat-Earthers and other conspiracy theorists incorrectly claim that the shadows in photos taken on the Moon in the Apollo missions are inconsistent. In reality, it is just due to their confirmation biases, and we can easily explain how the shadows were formed.

The perspective effect can cause parallel shadows to appear angled to each other and converge to a distant point. Conspiracy theorists incorrectly claim that non-parallel shadows can only be caused by a nearby light source.

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