Refraction is the change in the direction of light due to the change in the medium’s refractive index traveled by the light. It is convenient to use water in a demonstration of refraction. But water alone is not the cause of refraction.
Flat-Earthers falsely claim that just because our atmosphere has water vapor in it, it will produce the same effect as any demonstration of refraction involving water. In reality, it requires far more reasoning than just that water is involved.
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A selenelion is a rare lunar eclipse where the Sun and the Moon are both visible at the same time. An even rarer form of selenelion occurs if it is a partial lunar eclipse, and the upper part of the Moon is eclipsed. Some call this an “impossible eclipse.”
Flat-Earthers claim that such an eclipse should not be possible to occur because the Earth’s shadow is in the wrong position. In reality, it is possible to happen because the observer is looking slightly downward due to the dip of the horizon and atmospheric refraction.
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A selenelion occurs during a lunar eclipse when the sun and moon are observed above the horizon. Atmospheric refraction bends light rays and lifts the image of the sun, and the moon typically up to 0.6°, so both can appear above the horizon.
Flat-Earthers assert that a selenelion should not be possible if Earth is a sphere due to the fact during a lunar eclipse, the sun and moon are 180° apart. In reality, a selenelion is possible because Earth’s atmosphere refracts light.
Continue reading “Selenelion: The Phenomenon Where Both the Sun and Moon Are Visible During a Total Lunar Eclipse”
Chicago’s skyline is visible on clear weather across Lake Michigan from Michigan as long as the observer is on high ground, or if atmospheric refraction is strong enough. This observation is consistent with the expectations if Earth is a sphere.
Flat-Earthers claim that the visibility of Chicago from Michigan is not possible if Earth is a sphere. In reality, they failed to account for the height of the observer or atmospheric refraction and ignored the fact that only the upper parts of the buildings are visible.
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An inferior mirage is a phenomenon in which atmospheric refraction bends light rays to produce a mirrored image below a real object. It occurs when a hot surface heats the layer of air above it, placing it below a colder & denser layer of air.
Flat-Earthers like to use inferior mirages to “explain” how a distant object can appear partly obstructed if the Earth is flat. In reality, an inferior mirage cannot produce an appearance similar to an object partially obscured by Earth’s curvature.
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Flat-Earthers use the phenomenon of refraction as a catch-all “explanation” every time they observe something not appearing in the expected position if the Earth is flat. They use the term “refraction” as mere technobabble without any underlying explanation.
The following are how we can distinguish real-world, scientific refraction from the technobabble used by flat-Earthers:
Continue reading “Refraction: Only a Baseless Technobabble in Flat Earth Community”
Dizzib’s Earth Curve Calculator is one of the most popular Earth’s curvature calculator on the Internet. However, it does not account for atmospheric refraction and, therefore, unsuitable for determining the visibility of a distant object.
Many flat-Earthers used Dizzib’s calculator to analyze the observation of the visibility of a distant object and led them to an erroneous conclusion. If we can spot the calculator being used in their images, we can easily rule out their conclusion.
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The distance to the horizon depends on the height of the observer and atmospheric refraction. The variability in atmospheric refraction can make the horizon appear in front of a distant object sometimes, and behind it in other times.
Some flat-Earthers raised a case —dubbed the “black swan” case— in which the horizon appears to be behind a distant object which is farther than the distance to the horizon according to calculation, and they use the fact to “disprove” Earth’s curvature. In reality, they did not account for atmospheric refraction, and that the amount of refraction varies.
Continue reading “Distance to the Horizon & the Black Swan Observation”
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”
The appearance of sunset depends on atmospheric conditions. Thermal inversion can irregularly refract light coming from the sun and distort the image of the Sun seen from an observer.
Some flat-Earthers observed a specific appearance of sunset and presented the fact as if it “proves” a receding sun in the flat-Earth model. They are wrong. The appearances of the sunsets are the results of atmospheric refraction.
Continue reading “The Appearance of Sunset and Atmospheric Refraction”
Flat-Earthers like to perform the experiment involving lasers to ‘disprove’ Earth’s curvature. If they observe a laser beam from the other side of a lake or an ocean, they would wrongly conclude Earth’s curve does not exist. It was merely a misunderstanding of how lasers work.
Continue reading “Flat-Earthers’ Laser Tests are Misleading”
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 sun dog is an atmospheric optical phenomenon that consists of a bright spot separated by 22° from the Sun to one or both sides of the Sun. It is caused by the refraction of sunlight by ice crystals in the atmosphere.
Flat-Earthers claim that a sun dog is caused by the reflection of sunlight by the mythical dome enclosing the flat Earth, that there are multiple suns, or other equally implausible reasons. They are wrong. A sun dog is simply an optical phenomenon that occurs in cold locations where ice crystals can accumulate in the atmosphere.
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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.
Continue reading “Variability of Atmospheric Refraction”
Due to Earth’s curvature, ships traveling over an ocean disappear from the bottom up. This fact is one of the first evidence to confirm the Earth is a sphere, and one of the first facts of which flat-Earthers had to invent various “explanations” for.
Some of the popular “explanations” are: refraction, perspective, zooming reveal distant ships and visibility limitations. None can explain away the fact.
Continue reading “Ships Disappearing Over the Horizon and the Various “Explanations” Invented by Flat-Earthers”
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.
Continue reading “Earth’s Curvature Calculation”
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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We often see flat-Earthers create a ‘miniaturized physical model’ of a real object and present them as ‘proof’ in support of flat-Earth and against spherical Earth. Their M.O. is to observe if the model remotely resembles the actual object in a particular way. If it does, then it is enough for them to conclude the model describe how the real object works.
Conversely, if a real object cannot be miniaturized and still have the same behavior as the original object, they would conclude that the behavior of the original object doesn’t exist.
They would wrongly call creating such models “doing an experiment”.
Continue reading “The so-called “Experiment” Done by Flat-Earthers”
A crow’s nest is a structure in the upper part of the ship, especially old-fashioned ones. It is used as a lookout point and positioned high above to increase visibility over the curvature of the Earth.
On the deck of a ship 4 m (13 ft) above the surface of the ocean, an observer can spot a 20 m (66 ft) high ship from at most ±25 km (16 mi). On the other hand, from a 35 m (115 ft) high crow’s nest, an observer will be able to spot the same ship from ±40 km (25 mi) away.
Continue reading “Crow’s Nest on Ships”
Atmospheric refraction causes a distant object to appear higher than its actual position. As a result, the object can be physically behind Earth’s curvature but is still visible because the light coming from it is refracted by the atmosphere.
There are many curvature calculators and simulation tools that don’t account for refraction. They would give us the correct results indicating the object’s physical positions but fail to show us the correct apparent position of the object when visually observed.
Flat-Earthers are often too happy with the calculator showing them the results they want to see and fail to see the reason for the discrepancy.
Continue reading “Curvature Calculators and Atmospheric Refraction”