Due to its almost +90° declination, Polaris practically cannot be seen from the south of the equator, and the fact is consistent only with the spherical Earth model. There is a prevalent myth in the flat-Earth community that claims Polaris is sometimes visible from the south of the Equator. The origin of the myth was an erroneous interpretation of a news article by flat-Earther Samuel Rowbotham, 1½ centuries ago.
Due to Earth’s axial precession, the positions of Earth’s celestial poles shift gradually in a cycle of approximately 26000 years. These days, Polaris is very close to the north celestial pole. However, 19 centuries ago, Kochab is much closer to the celestial pole than Polaris.
Flat-Earthers claim that the stars are always in the same position proves the Earth is stationary. An ancient star chart like Almagest from the 2nd century shows them wrong. The stars today were not in the same place as stars 19 centuries ago.
The Big Dipper is a bright asterism in the northern celestial sphere. It is always visible north of 41°N and hidden south of 41°S. Flat-Earthers noticed that the Big Dipper is visible all year and use the fact to ‘prove’ a flat Earth. In reality, the visibility of Big Dipper depends on the latitude of the observer.
The angle (or altitude) to Polaris approximately corresponds to the latitude of the observer. This fact is observed on every location on Earth where Polaris is visible.
By tracing the path to Polaris from multiple locations on the flat Earth model, the lines will not point to a consistent position of Polaris. The reason is that the Earth is a sphere and the flat Earth model does not represent reality.
Due to Earth’s axial precession, the positions of Earth’s celestial poles shift gradually in a cycle of approximately 26000 years. These days, Polaris is very close to the north celestial pole. However, 2000 years ago, Kochab is much closer to the celestial pole than Polaris. In the next 2000 years, Errai will replace Polaris as our pole star.
Flat-Earthers claim that the stars are always in the same position proves the Earth is stationary. They are wrong. By observing old star charts from a few centuries ago, the shift of celestial poles can be determined. It proves stars are not always in the same position as today, and that the Earth is rotating.
We can determine if a star is visible from a specific location using the declination of the star and the latitude of the observer, subject to other conditions like observer’s topology, the magnitude of the star, weather conditions, etc. It is possible to do this because Earth is a rotating sphere.
If the Earth is flat, every star would have been visible all night from every location. We don’t see the same stars every night because some of them are below the horizon and obscured by the Earth.
A circumpolar star is a star, as viewed from a given latitude on Earth, that never sets below the horizon due to its apparent proximity to one of the celestial poles. Circumpolar stars stay up there in the sky, even during the day.
Flat-Earthers claim the Earth is stationary because the same stars are always visible in the sky. They are wrong. Only circumpolar stars are always in the sky. There are others that are not circumpolar. Some are only visible during certain times in a year.
Astrolabe is an astronomical instrument for measuring the altitude of the sun or stars, and to determine the solution of various problems in astronomy, time, and navigation. Astrolabe was used from classical antiquity, about 2nd century BC, until the age of discovery where it was superseded by the more accurate sextant, star charts, and time-keeping devices.
Flat-Earthers claim that astrolabes can only work because the Earth is flat. They are wrong. Astrolabes were designed using the spherical Earth model. To use an astrolabe, a good understanding of the spherical Earth model is required.
Polaris is a bright star that is close to the north celestial pole. Currently, Polaris is only 0.74° apart from the north celestial pole and the only star visible to the naked eye that is close to the celestial pole. This is why Polaris is popular as a navigational aid in the northern hemisphere.
Some flat-Earthers think that Polaris is stationary and that it is a ‘special star’ because other stars are in motion around it. They would take that as ‘evidence’ that the Earth is motionless. They are wrong. Polaris is merely a regular star, just like the others.
Diurnal motion is the apparent daily motion of stars around the two celestial poles due to Earth’s rotation. The stars move in a peculiar way that can only be explained in the spherical Earth model.
All the differences of diurnal motion that occur in the different latitudes on can never be explained in a flat Earth.
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.
Long before GPS, navigators used a device called ‘sextant’ to determine the angle of a celestial body. From that data, the latitude of their current location can be determined.
This can only happen if the Earth is spherical.
Flat-Earthers often claim that the fact Polaris not appearing to move is ‘evidence’ that the Earth is flat and stationary. If the Earth is a rotating sphere, then Polaris —as they say— should appear to be in motion.
In reality, Polaris is indeed moving across the sky. Though it is not something we can observe in a single night, or even in our entire lifetime.
To most flat-earthers, the Earth is stationary. Stars are light sources attached to the firmament (for some mysterious reason), and they rotate around Polaris (again, for some mysterious reason).
However, they are missing the fact that Polaris is never visible from the southern hemisphere. And furthermore, the southern stars also rotate around the south celestial pole.