The Saros Cycle and Saros Series

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The Saros is a period of 18 years, 11 days, and 8 hours between related eclipses. The eclipses with the same Saros cycle are classified into a Saros series which is numbered for identification.

Flat-Earthers claim the usage of the Babylonian term Saros “proves” that eclipses are predicted using ancient Babylonian technology. In reality, the Saros is now used to classify related eclipses. For example, the solar eclipse on August 21, 2017 is the 22nd member out of 77 in the Solar Saros 145.

The term Saros was first used in association with eclipse by Edmond Halley in 1691. The Babylonians never used the term Saros to describe eclipses. And the numbering system of the Saros series was created by G. van den Bergh in 1955.

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“What is Gravity”

In a StarTalk episode, Neil deGrasse Tyson was given the question “what is gravity?” He quipped “we have no idea” before elaborating more. Flat-Earthers quoted it out of context to discredit Neil and gravity, completely disregarding what Neil explained afterward.

In reality, Neil did provide a very comprehensive answer to the question “what is gravity” but flat-Earthers only gave an emphasis to the “we have no idea” part of his answer, and skipped the rest of his answer.

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“Stuff is Flat”: Incorrect Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Claim About the Observation of Earth’s Curvature

Neil deGrasse Tyson once incorrectly stated that it is still too close to the surface to see Earth’s curvature from the height of Felix Baumgartner’s jump. In reality, we should be able to see it using our eyes.

Flat-Earthers believe people take Neil’s remarks as gospel and use Neil’s incorrect statement to dismiss any observation of Earth’s curvature. However, we have no problem saying that Neil was wrong. It is OK to be wrong as long as we are willing to revise our views when faced with new facts, and we are certain Neil will.

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Mirosław Hermaszewski

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General Mirosław Hermaszewski is a former Polish cosmonaut. He gave an interview in late 2019 that flat-Earthers misrepresented and quoted his statements out of context as if he admitted in the interview that Earth is flat.

In the interview, he received some ridiculous questions, and he answered them with equally ridiculous answers in a joking tone, including the question at the end of the interview where he was asked if Earth is flat. The General was surprised by the question, but he decided to play along and answered “it is flat” for a hilarious ending.

Unfortunately, as with many other cases, flat-Earthers are not aware they are being ridiculed in the interview, and take the General’s statement as serious. That small part at the end of the interview is often seen in flat-Earth circles as a hoax that claims it as an endorsement of flat Earth by the General.

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Bill Nye and the “Closed System” Quote

In a Big Think Q&A, Bill Nye gave his opinion on why we cannot throw our trash into space. Flat-Earthers took Bill’s words out of context and used it to “disprove” space flight.

“Why we don’t throw trash into space? Because it’s too expensive. Lifting a ton of material into space takes an extraordinary amount of rocket fuel. And, by the way, when people want to send this much plutonium-238 which is not even the weapon’s plutonium, a baseball size, a grapefruit size, people freak out because the rockets sometimes blow up.”

“Now, one thing I really want your generation to embrace is that the Earth is a closed system. We cannot leave the Earth. There’s no place to go. There’s no place to throw your trash. And I wouldn’t be surprised if maybe not you but your kids develop ways to mine our landfills.”

Unscrupulous flat-Earthers took the specific part “Earth is a closed system. We cannot leave the Earth. There’s no place to go,” and presented it as if Bill was telling us we cannot go to space. From the complete video, it is clear that it is not what Bill meant.

Bill Nye is a space colonization skeptic. He does not believe space colonization is realistic. It does not mean Bill thinks we cannot go to space. In another Q&A, he said we need to have a presence on Mars for research purposes.

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Albert Michelson in “Michelson and the Speed of Light”

In 1881, Albert A. Michelson performed an experiment in an attempt to prove the existence of aether. Aether was a hypothesized material that fills the region of the universe. Scientists knew light is a form of wave, and because all other waves require a medium to propagate, they formulated the aether hypothesis, in which light can propagate. However, Michelson’s experiment produced a zero effect.

In 1960, Bernard Jaffe wrote Michelson’s biography in the book “Michelson & the Speed of Light.” Unscrupulous flat-Earthers quoted a lone paragraph from the book out of the intended context, and present it as if Michelson proved the Earth is stationary.

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Buzz Aldrin’s Interview & the Quote-Mining by Flat Earthers

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In September 2015, Buzz Aldrin gave an interview at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. Flat-Earthers misrepresented and quoted it out of context as if Buzz was admitting that the Apollo Moon landings never happened.

The original interview was 17 minutes long, and there were other occasions Buzz clearly said the Moon landings happened, without any possibility of misinterpretation.

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Auguste Piccard, Another Scientist Falsely Claimed by Flat-Earthers

Auguste Piccard was a Swiss-Belgian physicist, inventor, and explorer, known for his record-breaking balloon flights to the stratosphere, as well as the invention for bathyscaphe to allow for deep ocean exploration.

Unfortunately for him, flat-Earthers are claiming him as their own these days. It started from a Popular Science article from 1931, saying:

Through portholes, the observers saw the earth through copper-colored then bluish, haze. It seemed a flat disk with upturned edge.

But, no. In reality, Auguste Piccard was not even close to being a flat-Earther.

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Quote Mining: How They Misrepresent Facts and Attempt to Incite Us

A favorite modus operandi of flat-Earth perpetrators is quote mining, or quoting out of context. They would read statements from scientists and watch their videos, then look for words they can use out of the intended context and spread them.

To some people, these scientists would appear contradicting each other and that there is never a consensus in science. They would even go as far as portraying the scientists as having some evil intentions to deceive us. In reality, the information no longer resembles what the scientists had in mind.

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Neil deGrasse Tyson and His ‘Pear-Shaped’ Analogy

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In a talk show, Neil deGrasse Tyson explained the figure of the Earth. He told the audience that the Earth is practically round, but it is a little farther from the center near the equator compared to the poles. And that in the southern parts, it is a bit farther from the center than in its northern regions. To illustrate the fact, Neil used the analogy ‘pear-shaped.’

Flat-Earthers really love to ridicule the ‘pear-shaped’ analogy. But they are mistaken. If they watch the entire unaltered video, they will find Neil explained the fact very clearly.

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Orion EFT-1, Apollo and the Van Allen Radiation Belts

On December 3, 2014, NASA published a video describing the Orion EFT-1 mission, narrated by a NASA scientist, Kelly Smith. The mission was the first unmanned flight of the Orion spacecraft.

Some unscrupulous flat-Earthers decided to turn the video into ‘evidence’ that NASA never went to the moon. They cut down the video to the ‘important’ parts and added in prejudicial narration and subtitles. There are countless of such videos on YouTube, and at some point, it was nearly impossible to search for anything educational about the Van Allen radiation belts on YouTube.

They are wrong. There are, in fact, two Van Allen radiation belts. Apollo traversed the outer belt that has lower radiation level in a hurry, while Orion was deliberately sent into the far more dangerous inner belt. They are named ‘belts’ precisely because they are like the real belts. It is possible to bypass the most dangerous parts of the belt, just like Apollo did.

Orion EFT-1 is not ‘evidence’ that the Apollo mission didn’t happen.

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Quote-Mined Einstein Statement

Flat-Earthers quoted Einstein’s statement out of context to give the appearance that he gave credence to the notion that Earth is stationary. In reality, Einstein never said the Earth is stationary.

The quote came from his Kyoto address “How I created the theory of relativity,” December 14, 1922.

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Misquotes of Nikola Tesla

Many flat-Earthers will tell you that Nikola Tesla is actually a flat-Earther. The supposed ‘evidence’ is a piece of quote that is claimed to be from Tesla himself; but in fact, it is not. It is actually a really terrible misquote, and an attempt to take the quote out of context.

The source of this problem is apparently a Facebook post that quotes Tesla, as well as a Facebook user named ‘Darrell Fox’.

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‘The Principle’: A Documentary Without Principle

‘The Principle’ is a pseudoscientific documentary that promotes geocentrism, that the Earth is stationary and the center of the universe. Despite the fact that the film has almost nothing to do with flat-Earth, some flat-Earthers decide to use this film to bolster their beliefs. Because after all, in the flat-Earth model, the Earth is stationary and the center of the universe, right?

This actually gets more complicated than that. We are dealing with two forms of pseudoscience, that sometimes even goes against each other.

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Isaac Newton and The Law of Universal Gravitation

Isaac Newton formulated the law of universal gravitation which explained the motion of all celestial bodies in space known at his time. Also, he demonstrated that it is the same law that is causing everyday objects to fall to Earth.

Newton wrote that he had not been able to discover the reason for the phenomenon of gravity. Flat-Earthers use this as “proof” that he lied and he did not know anything about gravity, and that gravity was a mere fabrication. They are wrong. Gravity adequately explained the motion of all celestial bodies and the fact that everyday objects are falling to Earth. Newton simply did not know what is causing it.

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Admiral Byrd: “An Area As Big As The United States on the Other Side of the South Pole”

According most flat earthers, there’s no such thing as the continent of Antarctica. In their imagination, Antarctica is not a continent, but  a long ice wall enclosing the Earth. Without having anything to prove that assumption, they look anywhere for any quote they can mine and stumbled into this quote by Admiral Byrd:

“Strangely enough, there is left in the world today, an area as big as the United States, that’s never been seen by a human being. And that’s beyond the pole, on the other side of the south pole from Little America.”

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